GHC20: You are Not Your Fears

“Inhale fear, exhale courage.” Deep breath. Who doesn’t want this ability?! This aptly named #vGHC session was completely perspective-changing and blog-worthy.

Inhale Courage, Exhale Fear

Doing the right thing. Speaking out against injustice and inequity. Showcasing our value at work. Managing careers as we lead our families through a global pandemic. Today’s call for courage is felt in every aspect of our lives. Learn the origins of fear, the fear myth that holds us back at work, and strategies to break free of its grip to do the things we long to do “if only we had the courage.”Speaker: Melanie Erickson, Senior Principal, Sales Performance, Workday, Inc.

Ms. Erickson tells the story about how at one sales workshop for her day job, she shared a secret, one that she’s never publicly disclosed. In addition to being a corporate trainer, Ms. Erickson was a Reiki Master. She put out a sign-out sheet for Saturday and Sunday for workshop participants to get a Reiki session to help them relax before their exam on Monday.

Let’s pause for a second. Holy shit! That was a badass thing to do. People are not always very accepting of spiritual, new-age-y topics. However, Ms. Erickson put aside any fear of judgment and took this bold action because she felt that she was out of alignment and needed to bring together her corporate career with her love for Reiki. She longed to show up authentically and fuse her work and home lives. I totally get why one would want greater synergy between these worlds.

We always have a choice and we can look at our fears in a more objective (and self-compassionate) way. We don’t have to default to believing that feeling afraid is a sign of our deficiency or a manifestation of our flaws. In this session, Melanie tackles the idea of fear.

If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time afraid. Afraid of not being good enough; afraid of being judged; afraid of being too afraid. With all of this, I haven’t even touched on my physical world fears like escalators and bridges. What scares you?

Fear Fallacies

  • Fear Myth: I know I’m reading when I’m no longer afraid. In truth, the more fear you feel the more you want what you are fearing. Courage is action despite the fear.
  • Blame the lizard part of your brain that wants to keep you alive.
  • Or anxiety. Some of us are genetically predisposed to be anxious. Also, life can be tough and we ALL end up with attachment injuries and collect traumas along the way.

Strategies for tapping into your courage

  1. Positive Expectancy. Expect good shit to happen. Self-fulfilling nature of achieving based on expectations.
  2. Bias for action.

But, here’s the game-changer: “your why is bigger than your fears

Purpose, or tapping into your “why” can propel you forward and make bold actions seems less scary and more like imperatives for action. What’s your purpose, and how can you use it to live more boldly?

If you are interested in reading more blog posts and notes from this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration, please follow my fellow Anita Bees on Medium. Also, stay tuned for more #GHC20 content.