Balance, Career Advancement, Opinions

What fears are holding you back from changing the world?

Photo credit: Robert Bruce Murray III, Creative Commons/Flickr

Photo credit: Robert Bruce Murray III, Creative Commons/Flickr

Working with changemakers and thought leaders from around the world initially scared Lara Galinsky, the Vice President of Echoing Green, who began her career with the organization as a volunteer judge on the fellowship committee. On Harvard Business Review, she talks about how she tackled her fears instead of walking away:

I left the two days of interviews feeling deeply inspired but I also walked away — just as I walked in — with an emotional swirl of embarrassment and inadequacy. In comparison to the potential fellows and the other judges, I felt small. They were poised to make an enormous difference in the world.

And, there it was: the fear. I was afraid of not being smart enough, or experienced enough, or capable of making a real difference.

Immediately, I could hear my mother’s voice: Fear means go.

So I did just what she told me to, and what Terrence had done. Instead of letting my discomfort dissipate as my day as a judge became a safe memory, I went back to Echoing Green as uncomfortable as it felt. I began to volunteer, spending more and more time working with the organization and eventually working as a consultant to it. One day Cheryl Dorsey, the president, offered me a job to work for the organization. Today, I help run it as senior vice president.

Next time you’re afraid of something, instead of turning around, take these three steps.

1.  Acknowledge you’re afraid. Instead of swallowing or hiding your fear, and pretending you don’t have it, look at it. For instance, if you are continuously avoiding a particular activity or person, have the courage to ask yourself “why?” Doing this requires honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability.

Read the rest of the tips here.

How do you tackle your fears as you work for social change?

1 Comment

  1. Margaret

    Thanks, Ms. Jones, for this.

    It’s true: Fear can be an impediment to doing the right things. Nagging self-doubt…a monster in most of our otherwise-well-stocked utility closets, can rear its head and stop us right in our tracks.

    It’s okay to be afraid. I’ve learned that.
    Sometimes, fear is good, too. Reasonable caution is not without its resourcefulness!

    But when it becomes primary obstacle, the only thing to do to make it move, is…well, us making a move. Acting.

    “Fear Means Go.” Wow! I’m so going to use that, in my own life, and share it with others as appropriate. What a great Mom! And goody for you, for paying attention to her, and sharing with the rest of us.

    As a Peer Specialist, your advice resounds with me. Thanks so much!