Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music, I was NEVER a fan of the old-style country twang. But I must confess, in the last seven years I have been converted, and now consider myself a true fan.
One of my absolute favorite singers in this genre is Miranda Lambert. She is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and artist, and in my opinion she is also a kicka** example of a leader. Miranda appears to be down to earth, authentic, confident, strong, sassy, and fun-loving. In fact, she is on my list of top ten people with whom I would love to have dinner and a chat.
Miranda was featured last year in the July issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. When I received the magazine, I was of course intrigued to read the piece—and the part below reminded me of a great leadership lesson:
“I wouldn’t go up to the McDonald’s counter and order my own McNuggets,” recalls Lambert in her dusty Texas twang. “My mom would be like, ‘If you’re not going to order them yourself, then you’re not getting any nuggets.’ She’d say, ‘You need to face your fears. You can’t just run away from everything you might be uncomfortable with.’”
Face your fears—what great advice from her mom! This is advice that all leaders need to embrace for themselves, and teach their team members as well, because fear is a funny thing: everyone has a few of their own, and they are usually masked in the form of insecurities.
When I feel a fear stopping me from moving forward, there are three steps I like to take:
#1: Recognize the fear.
In Miranda’s case, she had her mom to help her recognize that her hesitation to order was a fear—but as a leader, it is up to you to see your insecurities for what they are. There’s a reason that people sometimes refer to “fear” as an acronym for “false evidence appearing real.” Those things that we are hesitant to do, and those doubts that exist in all of our heads, are simply a fear of something—fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of looking stupid, etc. These are all common feelings that stop many of us in our tracks. And the first step toward moving through them is recognizing them for what they are: feelings, not facts.
#2: Walk through the fear.
The best way to move through any fear, unless it is life-threatening, is to do the thing you’re afraid of despite your fear. When that little voice tells you that you can’t do something, don’t stand still and don’t retreat—move forward in a positive direction. Just go up to the counter and order those McNuggets, because the more you give into the fear, the bigger it gets. In order to squelch our fears, we have to take action and experience for ourselves that the thing we’re afraid of is not nearly as bad as our clever minds would have us believe.
#3: Faith it till you make it.
Sometimes walking through the fear seems impossible. When those times hit, you have to dig deep and have faith. You have to believe in yourself, and if you can’t muster up the strength to do that, find someone that can help you. In my case, I trust that a higher power is always with me and has no desire to put me in harm’s way, even if it feels like I’m headed for something scary. In Miranda’s case, she had her mother there to protect and encourage her. Sometimes just knowing that someone else has our back is enough to get us moving forward.