Updated: May 15, 2020
Have you experienced that gut-wrenching panic in the workplace?
You turn in a project… eagerly awaiting approval (or basic acknowledgement) for the hours you slaved away over that one particular powerpoint slide? Have you stared longingly at your inbox after sending out your new idea to you team, only to be met with crickets (not a ping or DM in sight?)?!
Keeping reading to find my 4 TOOLS on how to overcome this dreaded feeling…
If you have this constant anxiety or panic about what people think ... you’re not alone! This is the number one fear rooted in human evolution. It can feel like constantly over analyzing everything that you say or do. You obsess about what you're wearing, how you look, what people think about what you're wearing. It can feel like you're always triggered when people ASK you anything – “Where do you stand with that project?” or “What did you think about that conference call? Who knew a simple punctuation mark could send you spiraling into an instant panic questioning every aspect of your existence!?
• What do they really think?
• Did I do this well enough?
• I knew I should have spent 6 more hours searching for the perfect image on slide #4
Panic creeps in at the thought of being called on in a conference call. You're afraid to speak up in meetings… always worried, filled with self-doubt and lack of self-trust. This fear of rejection often shows up and insomnia or stomach issues. It can even hold you back from applying for a job that you really, really want! You don't apply because you're your mind starts spinning with thoughts of ....
• What if I don't get it? What are people going to think?
• If I don't get the job, they will think I'm a loser (not smart or good enough)
Your mind is stuck on a loop of saying that it's SAFER to stay where you're at than to RISK trying something new and potentially failing at it.
You voice these internal fears and are met with an array of “Just be confident”, “Just be yourself!”. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG!! When you are riddled with this common limiting belief, it seems there is nothing you can do to ‘switch off’ that old, familiar “fight or flight” anxiety trigger.
So what do we do to address this common fear? The first step is to understand it...
The fear of rejection is one of our oldest and strongest emotions… rooted back through evolution to our tribal times. Back then, if you were rejected by your tribe, you would actually DIE (for real)! Our mind knew that if you were connected to your tribe, you’d have a much higher likelihood of survival! So…we FEAR rejection and SEEK connection. Your mind has one primary job and that job is to keep us alive and it believes that by living old patterns and staying SAFE, you are more likely to survive.
Fear is normally not a bad thing. It's there to protect us! When it becomes a problem is when fear holds us back from living the life that we want most – like going for that sweet promotion you let pass you by because you were too scared to throw your hat in the ring.
As children, we have four primary needs:
Love & attention (to feel significant)
Food & shelter
Safety & protection
If any of those needs are not met, then our brain triggers into the following survival roles:
Rebellious / difficult / lone wolf
In the workplace, high-achievers really suffer with this specific trigger. They are always seeking approval from others and their worth is very tied to what they DO versus who they ARE.
As kids, children are groomed to seek approval from their parents basically seek approval from everyone around. Since childhood we are groomed with phrases like “You're a good girl. If you get A's on your report card” or “you did great in that softball game”, “Wow... he’s so good at the piano”.
Understand that this fear is not personal – it is just something that happens to you naturally. The subconscious is programmed by the time you're eight years old and this fear is simply a pattern. You CAN decide to stop playing this role anytime that you want! If left alone, our brain will constantly play old roles and patterns over and over again. It’s YOUR JOB to become aware of this negative pattern and make the active choice and give yourself a new role to play.