Client Question: “I am afraid to say what I really think about certain things at work for fear of being judged. How do I move past this?”
When you were young, you didn’t even hesitate to say or do things. Over time your parents, teachers and caregivers tried to prevent you from being hurt by warning you not to do or say certain things. Although there are still some people that ignored those warnings and continued to be fearless as they grew up, there are many others that live in the fear of failure. Fear is there to play the role of all those people who were there when you were growing up trying to protect you. It is trying to keep you safe and so you walk on eggshells trying not to do or say the wrong things. At some point, that is going to hold you back. Standing out from other people in your team and being able to say what you think is necessary as a leader. It is how people know what you stand for and what you believe in as a leader.
Oprah Winfrey was given the Cecil B. DeMille award last night on the Golden Globes for her outstanding contributions. One of the pieces of advice that she mentioned during her speech was “To Speak Your Truth.” It is the most empowering moment you can have to actually say what you think. What is the worst thing that could happen if you say what is on your mind? Do you really think you will be judged or is that the “story” you are telling yourself? You are not being authentic to who you are and what you feel if you don’t say what is on your mind. It causes you to have an inner conflict and drains your energy. Don’t let your fear rule your life. It will hold you back from being the leader that you are already. It allows you to play small when you could be playing so much bigger.
Start out small and give your opinion in a group setting. It will build your confidence to do it the next time. The more you do it, the easier it will become. If someone doesn’t like what you have to say, then that is their opinion and it shouldn’t change how you feel or what you think. Leaders need to have the courage to speak up and be willing to be vulnerable in these situations. It sets the example for your team and lets people see you for who you are. A leader that is willing to speak their truth no matter what others may think about it.