How many times a day do you check your email?
How often do you swing by the boss’s office, chat with their admin, or check to see if s/he is online?
How often do you reach out to a peer who got to sit in on the big meeting you weren’t invited to participate in?
Now pause for a second . . .
You know it doesn’t seem so bad to do those things when we don’t look at them cumulatively.
However, when you read those questions all together, like a bouquet of flowers perfectly arranged for your visual enjoyment, you are like, “Ugh. Am I really that bad? Am I really that worried?”
But now ask this: are you alone when it comes to feeling worried, scared, or paranoid?
I remember taking every single one of the above actions on a regular basis, including checking my email at least every 10 minutes, during my tenure in the corporate world.
Because honestly, I never felt 100% secure.
Maybe it was the “we can replace you at any time” undertone that always had me a bit afraid.
We used to call it a “healthy fear” back then.
Healthy Fear Defined
I laugh at the sheer stupidity of that term now.
When is a fear of your boss, the security of your job, or the fear that you won’t be valued considered “healthy?”
It’s like saying “Smoking ½ pack of cigarettes a day is safe.”
You can see the problem with the cigarette statement, yet we don’t always equate that same level of insanity with the “healthy fear” comment.
And I will admit, I drank the kool-aid, used the term, and even worked hard to convenience myself that the term was justifiable.
And I want to empower you to do the same.
It’s not “healthy” to be afraid in your career.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you perform better, it doesn’t give you a competitive edge, nor does it make you stand out from the crowd.
Those statements are simply stories we tell ourselves to justify why we put up with the fear.
Do you honestly want to live in fear?
Don’t we already have enough around us to potentially be afraid of the world in constant turmoil?
We don’t need fear when it comes to our careers.
So here’s the reality of the situation.
Are you ready for it?
If you are truly valued by the organization and you are truly valuable to the organization, there is no room for fear.
Healthy Fear Is Resolved by Focusing on Value
Remember, the 1 Rule?
It’s all about value.
So then if you know it’s all about value, how do you stop living in that “healthy fear” mode?
- Intentionally add value daily
Deliver on the mission and adhere to the core values by taking specific, measurable, actions that consistently add value to the organization.
Don’t take actions that add value to you and you alone. Perform actions that consistently add value to the company. You will be rewarded for it.
- Believe that value is enough.
I say it over and over again because it’s true.
We have a “healthy fear” sometimes because of the stories we tell ourselves, not because of something the company has done.
Read that again.
Sometimes we are adding tons of value, everyone is seeing it, they are appreciating it, and yet we are still afraid because we do not allow ourselves to recognize that we truly are safe.
So step back, assess your actions, confirm that you are adding value (if you’re not, start!), and then believe it’s enough.
“Healthy fear” only holds you back and sucks up your time (checking emails, checking on the boss, checking in, etc.), which is time you could be spending actually adding value to the company.