Taking on the biggest fear of all
by Brian Germain
When we consider all of the fears that we experience in life, one stands above the rest in terms of its ongoing nature. It is the fear of letting your hair down and being the real you more of the time. Certainly, we are all being our truest, happiest selves when we are in our element. We are safe there, because we have specific skills and talents that match those circumstances and we know and trust the people present. We are up to the task, and the vibe is right, and so we let the groovy us show up to the party. I am stoutly in favor of increasing these moments for every single human being. I think most people would agree that if more of us were truly happy, there is nothing the human race cannot attain or solve.
Being the real me, you say, I am always the real me, right? Actually, I never once doubted that each of us has an awareness of their inner grooviness. Life is less about understanding, and more about implementation. We know where we are going, but are unable to act out our intentions with perfect execution due to various self-imposed limitations. Fortunately, each partially successful attempt at reaching for our ideals teaches us with greater clarity who we want to be, and this draws us toward expansion into our preferences. We are gradually, and sometimes rapidly, becoming us.
The problem with the real you is, you are controversial, you always will be. Who you are and what you prefer to act like may interfere with state of normalcy for someone else. For instance, you may be happiest when you are silly. You might like to laugh. Eventually, we are going to laugh too loudly and piss some grouch off, so we stop laughing in business settings altogether. We stop having our particular kind of fun, and our do not shine our light on the world.
Perhaps you like to stretch at random times throughout your day, but you are uncomfortable about what others will think of you if you get up and start doing yoga in a meeting. It is likely that it will change your professional image in a number of ways. You might be labeled a weirdo. That can't be good for business. Unfortunately, this leads to us feeling cranky ourselves and worse, it causes us to get old. We are doing it to ourselves.
Imagine what would happen if people were taking better care of themselves at work? What if there was a stretching break in every long meeting. What kinds of solutions would rise to the surface? What would the work environment feel like? What if it was permissible to dance in your office, when the mood was right and folks needed a break? What would your work environment show in terms of the intangible benefits of people having a good time? If we worry about what the cranky ones will think and say by the watercooler, we never get to know the possibilities of a truly happy work team. In our fear, we lose these options.
We all know that there are companies out there who are doing things like these. They are addressing the human element of the system by creating better vibes around the office, which inevitably causes better cooperation and collaboration. Trust and affection are more likely to occur in an environment of healthy, happy individuals, as is overall success.
Fearlessness in the workplace is about much more than feeling free to be yourself. If you are too afraid to share an important idea at work, everyone suffers, including you. If your concern for what others think leads you to hold back part your true genius, and your idea was the one that was going to expand the possibilities, things will not get better unless someone more fearless than you steps up to the plate. If it is your competition who dares to think and act bravely, your company may be one of those providing evidence that we are in fact in a recession.
Fear gives us plenty of reasons to be afraid, but at what cost? Brave people will always be the ones who look beyond worry, and focus on making great things happen. It has always been this way, but now more than ever, we must all take a stand and allow our true nature to shine. It is time to turn on the green light, and take the risk of being our happiest, most authentic selves. Nothing feels better, and nothing else will transform the world as quickly. It is time to stop looking over our shoulders, and simply allow the person we are when we are most joyful and candid show up when it is most consequential. Beyond fear is the freedom to be you.
"If you are afraid to be yourself, you can't sell anybody anything, because you are nobody."
--Brian Stuart Germain