Technology Leadership featured

How embracing fear can HELP your career to develop

Article by Dash Tabor, CEO of TUBR

Technology LeadershipWE’VE all felt those moments of dread having to deal with tough or difficult situations in the workplace.

But I never anticipated the totally debilitating, mind-consuming stress driven by imposter syndrome and anxiety that I would feel through the early stages of building my business. The feelings of being overwhelmed often brought on physical sensations of the walls literally closing in on me. My mind would freeze and my productivity would drop.

But I never gave up. I never even considered quitting was an option. I refused to be paralysed by feelings I believed I should be in control of.

And now, you know what, I am so happy I went through it.

It’s been a journey that has now led me to a place of acceptance and enabled me to talk about my feeling without fear and without worrying that I’ll show weakness.

As a result I am now in a much healthier headspace.

So my advice to anybody in terms of career development is to embrace the fear. You need to start by acknowledging it. Vocalise it if you need to. Literally take five minutes away, in a quiet space, to say out loud what you are worried about. Consider recording it on your phone. It can be a great reminder in later years as to how you’ve overcome challenges. Don’t be afraid to lean on others either – and not just people working in business. Often the very best advice can come from a room-mate, friend, partner, relative.

When you are all-consumed by an issue a fresh perspective can be worth its weight in gold.

On many occasions when I’ve faced a problem a friend has helped me step back and realise I am approaching it completely wrong.

Once you’ve acknowledged the fear, take space to deal with it. That might mean ten minutes outside in the park. Or an hour in the gym. Or a day away from the office. Often when you give yourself space solutions will come – sometimes when you least expect.

Finally, forget the idea of never making mistakes.

You always will – and you always must. If you’re not you are not going about things the right way and you are probably not taking enough risks. Be willing to acknowledge mistakes The first step to achieving growth is admitting when you’ve done wrong. Don’t try to cover it up, deny it, or push it aside. Doing so will only make things worse, increase your stress, and in some cases, damage your reputation.

If you need to say sorry to someone, say it. Think of the biggest mistake you’ve ever made. Does anyone remember it? Did you learn something from it? Honesty and ownership are acts of courage.  Next reframe and analyse the mistake.

Changing your perspective is the second step to the learning process. Putting in a dedicated effort to step back from the situation will help you see the bigger picture and increase your resilience. Ask yourself the hard questions. Self reflection is difficult but crucial to the learning journey. Similar to ownership, you can’t take steps to change things if you don’t know what you did. Take the time to consider what led up to the mistake, including errors you made along the way.

Then take what you’ve learned from your mistake and adjust accordingly.  That may mean improving your communication skills or putting in place strategies so you don’t neglect important details.  Practice makes perfect. The more you train your mind and body to think and react in a certain way, the quicker the improvement.

Finally, remember, life in the comfort zone is fine for some. But for those who really want to succeed and achieve their ambitions you have to step out of it, embrace the fear and move forward.

Dash TaborAbout the author

Dash Tabor is co-founder and CEO of TUBR, a tech start-up which has developed machine learning technology that needs only a fraction of that data usually required to make real-time predictions across rapidly changing environments.