You’ve been working at a company for awhile now. You do what you’re supposed to do: show up on time, get your work done, get along with everyone, and avoid causing problems – until now. Impressed with all of your hard work, your boss has asked you to give a presentation – A total nightmare for you since you are terrified of public speaking. Obviously, you want to get out of it, and start thinking things like, What if they don’t like my presentation? What if I forget what to say?
Public speaking is just one of the many workplace fears employees have. According to an article titled, “Do You Suffer From Workplace Anxiety?” by Jenna Goudreau, interacting with authority figures, taking on new challenges, being noticeably nervous, and being a perfectionist are some of the most common anxiety issues in the workplace.
Tanveer Naseer, founder of leadership and coaching firm, Tanveer Naseer Leadership, states that of the most common fears he’s seen, a sense of self-doubt in their overall performance and ability to lead others has become more common in the workplace.
How To Overcome Workplace Fears
Below are some steps you can take to overcome workplace fears:
1. Identify Negativity
In order to address fear, you need to recognize that a key driver for this fear is derived from your own perceptions, according to Naseer. Although it might be easier said than done, our perceptions about the things that scare us could definitely be changed.
“The first thing I advise my clients to do when faced with such fears is to identify and label these negative thoughts when they happen,” he said. “In some cases, it’s easy for us to catch ourselves in negative self-talk where we put ourselves down.”
For example, say you are nervous about giving a presentation in front of your work colleagues and you feel an overwhelming sense of nervousness. Naseer advises to identify your inner voice that narrates the situation. If you perceive your nervousness as a testament to your incapability to successfully deliver a presentation, this is where the problem lies. You need to identify it when it happens in order to take the next step towards overcoming such negativity.
2. Reframe The Situation
After you’ve identified your negative thoughts, you can take steps towards changing your perception of the situation.
In the case of our presentation dilemma, Naseer says you need to reframe your perception in order to recognize that your nervousness is natural, and that it’s not reflective of your ability to be successful in giving this presentation.
“We also have to remind ourselves through this reframing process that there’s a reason why we were asked to give this talk – perhaps it’s because of our familiarity with the work,” he said. “Or perhaps because you’ve shown an aptitude for conveying ideas and information in a manner that resonates with others.”
Naseer went on to say that by reframing the situation, in this case, the nerves are eased because the focus has shifted from our fears to what we can contribute to those that will be listening to the presentation.
3. Let Go
For the situations we don’t seem to have any control over, it’s important to learn to let go.
“For many people, this can be the biggest hurdle to overcome,” said Naseer, “until they realize that this is really nothing more than an anchor that’s weighing them down and consequently making them feel like they’re incapable of making any changes to the situation.”
The last thing a company or organization needs is an employee who will bring uncertainty to the team because they’re focused on things that they’re not able to control, instead of the things in their lives they cannot control.
“If we develop this understanding about the impact our internal perceptions have,” he said, “and the ways… of how to reframe them, we’ll have a much easier time addressing these fears instead of letting them get the best of us.”
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