It is my honor to have not only an amazing family in life, but also, amazing friends and colleagues. This blog is written by one of them: Steve Junion. Enjoy!
The process of Consumer-Centered Innovation often generates fear in both executives and their front-line employees. One our greatest passions here at Nason Group is to help people overcome their fears and succeed at higher levels than they may have believed possible!
As I waited with my family to take a ride on a huge water slide, I notice a young man we will call Jimmy. He was approximately 11 years old and was clearly agonizing like a stock broker during the recession. The anticipation of getting on the water slide, with a five story, seven second drop, had bent him over in physical pain. As I continued to observe him, he came close to hyperventilating and was in tears.
Me: ‘Hey kid, what’s your name?’
Me: ‘You got this buddy – you can do it’.
Jimmy: ‘No! No, I don’t think I can do this!’
Me: ‘Alright Jimmy, first thing you got to do is breathe. We don’t need you passing out! Pausing for a moment, I continued, ‘You got it buddy. I know you are scared AND you got a lot of people up here cheering you on”.
Everyone turned to look at me. They had originally been only observing Jimmy’s meltdown and now I was dragging them onto ‘Team Jimmy’. I continued to encourage Jimmy, and at the same time initiated intermittent group cheers. Jimmy eventually negotiated with the lifeguard to allow him time inside the ‘pod’ before the door was shut. After sitting in the pod for a moment, the door shut and we all became very quiet. 3-2-1. Whoosh!
In under seven seconds Jimmy was at the bottom. Two minutes later, he was back up and ready to do it again – collecting high fives from ‘Team Jimmy’. Jimmy was beaming with pride after facing his fears. This single event altered how Jimmy views himself – and strengthened his personal courage to face and overcome challenges throughout his life.
What I Learned and What You Can Learn…
Many of us have stress inducers in our workplace and personal life. This stress holds us back and prevents us from experiencing higher levels of happiness and success. Here are four things Jimmy taught me that I believe can help all of us:
- We all need someone to have our back. More people are willing to support you than you may realize. Seek them out!
- The first person to step out of their comfort zone is going to feel like Jimmy. As a leader, it’s up to you to build a support team.
- Facing your fears at work can cause stress – however, most stress is self-induced.
- To overcome fear and reduce stress, shift your mindset to Yes!. Focus on your breathing and be willing to take a risk – it is not as scary as the story you tell yourself.
What You and I Can Do…
First, identify the stress inducers in your work and/or personal life. Next, like Jimmy at the height of his panic, pause for a moment and consciously slow your breathing. This will help to take you out of the “flight or fight” mentality. Next, bravely step into that ‘place of fear’ whether it be a conversation or taking action. When you come out the other side, and you will, you’ll realize that your five-story drop wasn’t as terrifying as you originally thought it would be – and you’ll be ready to take on the next challenge!