Working Without Fear

By Desda Moss Apr 19, 2017
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Molly Fletcher knows a thing or two about being a game changer. She spent two decades as one of the world's few female sports agents, working with hundreds of athletes, coaches and media personalities, before founding her own company in 2010. An athlete herself, she played varsity tennis at Michigan State University, where her experience instilled in her many habits that have kept her at the top of her game: discipline, resiliency, passion and teamwork.

"There are so many parallels between the challenges and lessons I learned in the sports world and those that we face in the business world," says Fletcher, CEO of The Molly Fletcher Co. and the opening general session speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management's 2017 Talent Management Conference & Exposition taking place April 24-26 in Chicago.

One of those parallels is the notion that our fears hold us back from being our best.

In her latest book, Fearless at Work: Achieve Your Potential by Transforming Small Moments into Big Outcomes (McGraw-Hill Education, 2017), Fletcher provides play-by-play insights and field-tested strategies that show how to:

-- Trade self-defeating attitudes and self-imposed hurdles for a new outlook rooted in a sense of purpose and mission.

-- Defeat toxic thinking and push beyond your comfort zone to embrace new challenges and achieve your stretch goals.

-- Prepare to seize the moment when opportunity presents itself.

-- Shrug off the fear of failure and stop worrying about what other people think.

She describes five habits, which she calls the "five trades," that she says will give you insights into how to make small changes in your thinking and behavior to achieve more success and fulfillment.

Her five fundamentals:

-- Trade defensiveness for curiosity. Defensiveness doesn't help anyone move to a better place in life. It communicates that you don't want or need support. You're telling people you'd rather go on without them. Let down your guard. Ask "what if?" to elicit more information and to make room for positive energy and growth.

-- Trade the old story for a new story. Fear is a story we tell ourselves. Our fear is all about the but.

"I would have spent more time doing what I love, but …" What if we traded all the buts for a new story of who, what, where, when, why and how we most want to be? Trading your old story for a better one is a fundamental act of fearlessness.

-- Trade bad stress for good stress. Don't you love it when you get a second wind? A second wind can be the product of trading bad stress for good stress. But how do you pass from the familiar bad stress to the second wind? One way is by being intentional. That means getting clear and focused on what you need to be doing in the moment

-- Trade words for action. Thinking and talking about what makes us different and special is an important part of the process, but once we have a consensus on how, the way we are going to move forward is by taking action. Also, remember that how and what don't matter without understanding why.

-- Trade comfort for clarity. Fear and comfort often go hand in hand. Comfort can signal that you don't want to change, even when the change could make you happier. Choosing clarity involves work. It means collecting and sifting through practical advice. When you gather facts, you can better detour around your fears.

"It takes awareness, it takes work, and it takes determination—but in the end, conquering your fear is a choice," Fletcher writes.

 Desda Moss is managing editor of HR Magazine.

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