11 Fears That Are Holding You Back (Part 1 of 2)*
One way to counteract fear’s adverse impact on your life and career is to recognize the type of fear that might be defining you and driving your actions – or lack thereof. In fact, there are many “types” of fears that will prevent you from achieving in both your personal and professional life. Recognizing the specific fears that are be holding you back is the critical first step toward breaking free of the emotional paralysis and living a more carefree, uninhibited life. As the saying goes, “No guts, no glory.”
Below are some common fears that hold people back from that which they desire both personally and professionally:
1. Fear of Success – This is actually a fear of achieving your dreams and standing out. Fear of the attention you will receive should you actually realize success. Yes, people might look at you, and talk about you, which can make you feel self-conscious. Sometimes, it’s the fear of taking the steps necessary to work toward your goal, or knowing what to do first when all seems daunting at the onset. We all have things we want to achieve in life but, by giving into this particular fear, you lose faith in yourself and your abilities, and also faith in those who truly have your best interest at heart and want to see you succeed. And, remember that even baby steps are forward momentum.
2. Fear of Leading – With leadership comes responsibility, and many are afraid of being responsible for an outcome that impacts not only themselves, but also the people they are guiding. Many with this fear worry and wonder, “What if I lead them the wrong way?” This is where you need to trust your intuition to guide you and have faith that you will make the right decisions – the same faith others have instilled in you so they may follow. Letting go of the outcome and its various possible impacts brings freedom and, with it, releases you from fearing the unknown. It allows you to trust your leadership skills and be an example for others.
3. Fear of Speaking – Many people fear public speaking more than any other activity. Speaking requires a palpable level of confidence and ability. In our lives and careers, we are sometimes required to present thoughts and ideas to others. Whether it is ideas at a school PTA meeting, a speech at a wedding or funeral, a briefing during a staff meeting or a full-scale conference keynote, it’s all public speaking. Being a confident speaker requires training, not talent. Master this skill and you will command the attention and respect that you deserve and the successes will ensue.
4. Fear of Encroachment – Many women and men today are working in fields that were once traditionally a gender-specific field, such as the military, manufacturing, construction, automotive, nursing, fashion and beauty, culinary arts, etc. Working in an environment with a gender-based stereotype has its own challenges and requires a high level of confidence in your abilities and a strong voice to be heard, and even supported, among others who may not regard you as a peer. If your desires are unconventional or non-traditional - or simply go against what is expected of you by family members or friends – dig deep and stay true to who you are and what you want out of life. You don’t have to be loud and aggressive; just be unwavering in your vision and persevere.
5. Fear of Power – Power is your proverbial fuel source – where your inner strength emanates from, your passions burn bright. It’s the juice that allows you to keep going in the face of adversity. Without power, you simply cannot move forward amid life’s seemingly endless road blocks. For all of its importance, power is simply a mindset – a genuine, heartfelt belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. Period. If you aren’t tapping into your authentic power, take some time to dig deep and cultivate it. It’s there and fully available for you to use, and it’s ready to make your dreams come true. Start small, achieve, and savor it. Then confidently aim a little higher, achieve and revel in it. Before long, you’ll be powerful enough to shoot for the stars.
*Numbers 6-11 will be revealed tomorrow morning on www.businesschief.com
Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez is an engaging motivational speaker known internationally as The Pink Biker Chic - a brand developed to empower individuals to take control of the handlebars of their lives through the power of PINK: Power, Integrity, Negotiation and Knowledge. Don’t let the pink fool you. Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez is a force to be reckoned with. She trains women and men how to re-think and re-direct their energies for higher performance and better bottom-line professional and personal decisions. She may be reached online at www.PinkBikerChic.com.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.