Productivity and GTD

Fear is sabotaging your productivity

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
"The brave man is not he who doesn't fear, but he who conquers that fear" ~ Nelson Mandela

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We all know what fear is, since we live with it every day. We are afraid of changing jobs, public speaking, starting or ending a relationship, confronting people, being rejected… Fear can make you abandon your business or the love of your life.

It is shown that when companies use the fear factor in the workplace (fear of not achieving goals, fear of conflict, fear of not being good enough, fear of not seeming productive), employees work harder but worse. The anxiety this climate generates affects people’s memory and ability to concentrate.

Types of fear

Fear of failure occurs especially when you do something you had not done before, something new, unique. Sometimes it is hidden by an extreme perfectionism that paralyzes work and prevents completion of projects.

To conquer it, you must understand that this fear is merely a misunderstanding of the learning process. When you try to create a new future, there are no molds, you have to experience. Consequently, failure is a part of the process that should not stop you. Simply, you must analyze what went wrong and make it work.

Fear of success is, if anything, even more common. It prevents you to catch the good opportunities. It makes you believe that you won’t be able to deal with such a challenging situation.

To conquer it, you must improve your self-esteem and the best way to do that is to act. Try to do the best you can and you will be satisfied although ultimately you would not get the best outcome. This way your self-esteem will be enhanced for future challenges.

Sleeping with the enemy

To make matters worse, when you try to make changes in your life, it turns out that the most important people for you—those which are supposed to stand by you—, are often not entirely agree. They are accustomed to interact with you in a certain way and breaking that pattern of behavior bothers them. So you need to add the fear of worsening your relationships to the natural fear of the new.

If this is common and usually ends in passivity on what you have aimed, you should start questioning your environment. Are people around you willing to help you grow? Or are they negative thinkers who make things difficult?

If you stand firm in your intentions to overcome your inner challenges and give good example of this—in a not aggressive way—, people who love you will find the strength to go with you.

Moreover, it is natural that, little by little, negative people go away from you, and you, almost unconsciously, move towards more motivating people that are willing to support and inspire you. Connect with people who have already gone through something similar. They will help you see the path and fear of the unknown will be minimized.

Conquer your fear

In general, we are afraid of things that are beyond our control. So we must find ways to develop more confidence in our ability to handle any situation.

Acting is the best way to gain that confidence. Visualize the result, define the next actions and take the first step. Incorporate into your life the trial-and-error mechanism as a natural way of getting things done. Act, measure your progress and correct what does not work. Adapt. Repeat. Who says you can’t go wrong?

It is possible there are some fears at the moment preventing you from doing many things, forcing you to accept work you should not do and, ultimately, undermining your productivity.

A little fear can keep you motivated, but uncontrolled fear will kill your productivity, so feel your fear and do it anyway.

Related article: An enemy of action: Fear

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