11 Fears That Are Holding You Back (Part 2 of 2)
Yesterday, we shared part one of Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez's 11 fears that can potentially hold you back in your personal life and career. Today we're sharing part two (fears 6-11):
6. Fear of Inadequacy – Feelings of inadequacy can come from inherent low self-esteem or past negative life experiences. If someone has told you that you couldn’t do something or shamed you into believing you weren’t capable of doing something “well enough,” you may carry that feeling of ineptitude and not even realize it. This subconscious stronghold can be truly debilitating. The best defense against a fear of inadequacy is to learn and master the specific skill, subject or activity in question and, in doing so, you will become self-assured in your execution. If it’s more about fundamental self esteem, seek out the emotional support to help you value and believe in your own capabilities.
7. Fear of Failure – All too often we stop short of attempting something new for fear we might embarrass our self or, worse, fail all together. Any given undertaking has the possibility of resulting in failure, which is never a desirable or welcome outcome. But, when facing something new, a fear of failure can be amplified as anxiety, nerves, and our “fight or flight” instinct kicks in. These intense feelings can cause us to put our aspirations on the shelf where they can languish in perpetuity. Mary Kay Ash perhaps said it best: “Fail forward to success.” Indeed, failure is part of the road toward success and should not be feared but embraced as an opportunity for growth.
8. Fear of Compromising Integrity – Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is looking or will ultimately know. Many fear that, in order to be successful in a career, we have to compromise our integrity and go against what we believe to be right. Overcoming this concern requires nothing more than establishing a specific set of boundaries within yourself and knowing exactly where and when you will draw the line – and sticking steadfast to that plan of action. It’s a commitment to making belief-based decisions in all aspects of your life so that, when success is realized, there is no guilt or angst involved about how that success manifested. It’s important to recognize that you CAN be successful while adhering to your personal value system.
9. Fear of Vulnerability – While it can be uncomfortable and downright scary to open your self up and expose your true inner self and your ideas and aspirations to others of importance in your life, doing so can be cathartic - and a true turning point in effecting positive change. Letting down your guard takes courage and strength, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can help you better relate with people on a more intimate and personal level.
10. Fear of Being Alone – Many people stay in abusive relationships or negative career situations because they are afraid of being alone, breaking away from the pack, or being isolated from a situation and people they once valued. It’s impossible to be completely content in life if you are uncomfortable being by yourself, or if your positive frame-of-mind is contingent on anyone or any thing else - whether personal relationships or professional affiliations. Such co-dependency allows your attempts at happiness and success to be controlled by external third parties, which will rarely bear optimal results.
11. Fear of Appearing Selfish – For some, it feels selfish to do anything for themselves so, instead, they do for everybody else and either burn out, harbor feelings of resentment, or both. To neglect your own needs and focus solely on those of others can make you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, under pressure and weighed down. Often, it can be difficult to find a way out of this quagmire once people have developed expectations and have come to depend on you – and you’re not one to disappoint. However, taking care of your needs first is not a selfish luxury, but rather a psychological imperative to ensure you’re emotionally nourished in your own right. Only then should you tend to the needs of others, which should be in addition to and not in lieu of.
The best way to combat any fear is to hit it head on, keep moving forward and stay focused on achieving your goal. There will always be obstacles that make reaching your goal seem impossible, and you must be disciplined and tenacious enough to stay focused and on track toward your goal. You must also be committed enough to not only make a promise to yourself, but also see it through even when the going gets tough. Only then can you keep the fear at bay and hit the fast track toward success.
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.