To build a great company, we’ve got to be great leaders. To be great leaders, we’ve got to overcome our fears. There are three fears that are generally agreed upon as the great barriers to success. They are a fear of failure, a fear of rejection, and a fear of success. I know, the third one sounds crazy, and we’ll talk about it in a future article. Today I want to focus on the fear of rejection.
As humans, we want desperately to be accepted. We long to fit in and be a part of something. We desire it so strongly that many people are willing to betray themselves to gain it, telling outright lies and pretending to be who they aren’t just so they will be a part of the group. If people were to ever judge them negatively, it would shatter their self esteem. You’re probably not that extreme, but if you were honest with yourself you would admit to holding back your opinions for fear of offending the people you want to be associated with.
We’re especially sensitive to embarrassing moments. As an example, imagine that dream of giving a presentation in front of your high school English class. In your underwear. Palms sweating? What about that moment when you were about to ask that cutie in math class to the dance? Didn’t really want to do it in front of your friends, did you? That’s because you loathe the idea of being rejected by large groups of people, even more so than the idea of being rejected by that cutie. In most cases, you would go to great lengths to avoid that rejection.
That’s got to change if you want to succeed. Not only must you conquer this fear, but you must be proud of your embarrassments. Imagine this: you’re in a crowded room. You are surrounded by your peers in the industry. You’re also in close proximity to a few people who may have influence over the course of your career. The worst thing imaginable happens; your stomach begins to grumble. You’re about to break wind. What do you do?
Patrick Lencioni shares a story about how he thinks people should react to embarrassment at the 2011 Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit. I think it’s awesome advice. Have a watch and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Have an awesome Wednesday!