There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it. ~Alfred Hitchcock
When I anticipate something, I am immediately struck by strong feelings. It could be strong positive thoughts when I am anticipating something wonderful, or it could remind me of a time when my anticipation about an event filled me with dread. Either way, the very act of spending time thinking about things in advance and trying to guess how it will all turn out is a universal experience.
Thinking about this from a workplace perspective, I wonder if our employees are spending more time anticipating success and greatness or if they are anticipating doom and gloom. My guess is it’s the latter.
As leaders, we are influential in setting the tone and providing the environment that encourages tighter focus on anticipating successful outcomes so that the anticipatory fear does not drive our team to failure. By virtue of reaching a leadership level, staff place a level of trust in us that we have faced some of these challenges and come out victorious, thus the expectation of our being able to teach and coach them.
3 Techniques to Reduce Fears and Promote Success at Work
- Recognize the bad habits- This is key because without this step, you cannot begin to help yourself improve your work situation. Notice how you feel when you are heading to work. Do you feel anxious? Would you rather not go? Are you filled with dread when you walk into the company? These are all strong warning indicators that you need to rethink what you’re doing and your approach. You may have more subtle clues like reaction to one person or fear of certain types of projects. Make note so that you can move toward successful resolution.
- Take charge of organizing and learning- Sometimes anticipating bad outcomes comes when we are overwhelmed. That is made worse when our workspace or work schedule is out of control. Make a conscious choice to add time into your schedule where people cannot book your time. Use only that time to answer email, calls and to work on projects. You can also make sure your workspace is set up so that you can do your best. Get organized. It ultimately helps you prioritize your workload. Next, seek out courses, free webinars, presentations or books on areas you are weak in skill. This will empower you so that you take more control over your future success.
- Take care of YOU- This is the most important. When you notice your fear associated with anticipating how something will turn out negatively, do something to take your mind off of the situation. Get up and moving. Take a walk, go to a private place (even your car) for 10 minutes of meditation, eat something healthy. Any of these things can help divert negative thoughts and help you visualize how you can have a successful result instead.
We all have fears and that can be good. It can keep us on our toes and also help us realize when we do push through them to success. Don’t let anticipation of bad outcomes paralyze you.
Oh, yes… the anticipation is what is always driving me up the walls. It’s like a trip to the dentist when you have a toothache. What is the dentist going to do to me? Will it hurt? And never thinking about how great it’s going to be after, when the tooth is all fixed.
But we need to come up with more of this stuff, we need to prepare people to become better, we need to make sure we can count our HR personnel to do their jobs, and not freeze up when asked to do something on their own.