It’s natural to feel a little fear before speaking to a group as an authority in your field, whether it’s to your team or to a potential client. But don’t let this fear trip you up! Relax before you go on stage by preparing as much as possible and reminding yourself that you’re human, and the people in your audience will see you as a human as well. Even if you make a mistake, it will probably turn out fine.
As a leader, you need to be able to make hard decisions without getting stuck in “paralysis of analysis”—taking too long to choose because of indecision. A lack of decisiveness can cripple any business or organization. Hard choices are sometimes necessary without much time to reflect. Make the best decision you can based on where you want to go, not where you are, and then move on.
Whenever you make decisions, take actions or lead the company in a given direction, you’re making yourself responsible for the potential outcomes of those actions. If your new marketing campaign succeeds, you’ll get a lot of the credit. If it fails, you’ll get a lot of the blame. Proverbially speaking, the buck stops with you.
In today’s global economy, effective leadership is defined by results—but, as we all know well, there are hundreds of distractions and millions of diversions that can get in the way. If you’re fearful you won’t get the job done, stop focusing on the results you want and concentrate on the actions you can take right now that will lead to those results.
As the leader of your business, the fear of failure is personally, financially and logically motivated. If your business goes under, you’ll be out of a job, a team and possibly a lot of money. But remember — failure is never the end of the line, and it shouldn’t exist as the bad word it’s often seen to be. For most entrepreneurs, failure is an important first step of a longer journey, so even if this business goes under, you’ll always have another chance for a different kind of success.
Facing criticism is part of the territory of leadership. You don’t have to let it bother you—in fact, you should be concerned if you never hear criticism, because that means you’re probably playing too safe. Think of it this way: If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success. So don’t fear criticism but take it in stride and strive to be your own best and meet your own standard of excellence. On the other side of your fear is everything you need to be.
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