Here’s why. When you have a passion or burden for something, there are fears that come with it. You can only be a fearless leader if you are leading in an area that you don’t have a passion for or don’t really care that much about. So rest assured the fears are normal. The real question is, what do you do with the fears you have? I have a two-step plan that I think will help.
The best way to harness the fear and use it for good is to focus on the long and short of it. The long of it is the long-term goal: why you are pursuing the plan or the path. What is the prize at the end of the race? You need this motivation to keep you enthusiastic and optimistic, so you don’t become immobilized by fear. But you also need the short-term actions. What do you need to do this week to advance toward the goal? Determine what that is and get it done.
What you shouldn’t do is obsess over all the steps in between the short-term actions you need to take this week and the long-term prize you are running toward. Those steps are likely to change along the way, so don’t waste your time planning for things that will surely change.
I am helping a client right now who just realized that they have more than 200 small accounts taking most of the time they want their salespeople to spend developing new customers. The initial realization was a fear that this was going to get in the way of their success this year. As a small group of us worked on this together, we started by focusing on how awesome it would be if they could find a plan for these 200 small accounts—a plan that would both grow the aggregate spending of these accounts and at the same time, free up their sales team to develop new, large customers. Once we locked onto that, we developed the first few steps to move in this direction. What we didn’t do is focus on what could go wrong or the path detailing every step along the way.
Great leaders have fears. Don’t be afraid when you sense fear coming on! Focus on the long and short of it.