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Are You Afraid of Being Judged?

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And what if we thought about our fears a different way, as Marianne Williamson does: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”


How often do you fear being judged by others as not good enough, asking yourself, “why would they listen to me? I’m … [too young, too old, inexperienced, too junior, too new in the role, etc.]. We have worked with and coached thousands of leaders across global regions, functions, levels, and experiences. It no longer surprises us how often they share situations where they hold back or don’t contribute as much as they want to because they feel they are not enough of an expert on the subject as they should be. They lack the confidence in their ability to contribute and provide value, fearing their insights will be deemed naive.

Rather than letting fear hold you back, you should embrace your unique perspective. Billions of dollars are spent each year to have external consultants provide their third-party perspective to a project or initiative. Along that same vein, you were hired into your role because of what you bring – curiosity, creativity, passion, skills, experience, potential, ambition, candor, empathy – whatever it is that makes you who you are. It is rare, and frankly unnecessary to try and find a candidate who is an expert in everything. The most valuable and successful employees have the courage to speak up, ask questions, share feedback, and are open to trying, failing, and learning. The success of your team and organization depends on you not only contributing your expertise, but also providing a third-party perspective when you are not an expert on the topic. Your objectivity may expose a gap that the experts missed or could confirm a theory. And the adage from school applies that if you have a question, others probably do as well.

The fear of being judged as naïve is a negative talk track that will hold you back from reaching your potential. The next time you hear it start telling you to keep quiet and let the experts speak, try putting a new spin on the story. The decision or final product will be much better with your input.

This week’s inquiry…

What negative talk track is keeping you from even greater success?

Dive Deeper…

Drew Dudley’s TEDx talk on Everyday Leadership has been viewed over five million times. As an author, speaker and leadership expert, his insights on how to confidently assume a leadership role are worth all of the six minutes you’ll spend.

“I worry sometimes that we spend so much time celebrating amazing things that hardly anybody can do, that we’ve convinced ourselves those are the only things worth celebrating. ”

“The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness” by Dr. Steve Peters offers a powerful model to help you understand why your mind has a tendency to try and sabotage your self-confidence and happiness, along with the tools to help you regain control.

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