How To Turn Fear Into Your Career Super Power

0:00:05.4 S1: Welcome to Career Central with the Lorraine Beaman. In this program, you will hear from career management experts who will provide guidance and strategies to help you advance or change your career. Now, here is your host, Lorraine Beaman.

0:00:21.5 S2: Welcome to Career Central. I’m Lorraine Beaman, your host of an hour, totally committed to helping you achieve your career goals by providing strategies you can implement immediately. Our guest today is Jennifer Thornton. We have asked Jennifer to join us today because she’s an expert on what many companies refer to as talent management, she has that perspective that we appreciate, she understands what it takes to succeed in the corporate world, and what can hold you back. And more importantly, she is willing to share those insights with us. So Jennifer, welcome to Career Central. Thank you so much for having me. It’s gonna be a fun show. Oh, I’m so excited. Let’s just kick off by you sharing with our audience your career path… Oh gosh. So my career path, I got to do exactly what I always wanted to do when I am… Started looking for jobs when I was really young. I won’t date myself, but maybe before the Internet, it was really cool to hang out in the mall and I love fashion, I love the mall, and so all I wanted to do in life was working the mall and dreams came true. I got a job at the mall and I started my career in retail, but it’s interesting, what I didn’t know at the time is I was learning some incredible skills, I was learning how to lead teams, I was making hiring decisions at a very young age, and I was running a multi-million dollar business, and I don’t think…

0:01:49.8 S2: We walk into our local mall, we don’t really realize that those individuals are running multi-million dollar businesses and making business decisions all day every day, and so I fell in love with the industry, I fell in love with the complexity of it. All the different ways that you can work in the retail industry. The first half of my career was in the operations side, and then halfway through my career, I moved over to the HR side of the business, and the reason I did that was mainly because it’s where I got my wins… A lot of people on the operations side, we’re super competitive and always we were chasing after those KPIS, and that wasn’t me, I really loved having a great team, I love the joy of thinking about if I put this person in this position and if I worked with this person, could they do that really kind of just, you know, the complexities of the team and really strategizing the talent, and so that’s how I ended up in HR, but it’s several different jobs, including recruitment for several years, but the last several years of my career, maybe the last four, five, I had the opportunity to take on the international HR department for the organization I worked with, and so I got to lead really amazing teams and China and Hong Kong and London and Mexico, and…

0:03:08.2 S2: That was incredible. I learned so much, just endless information every day, you just woke up and you just were drinking out of a fire hose when it came to learning working internationally. But you know, it came to a point where in my career, I knew I needed to make a change, I was getting to an age where it was that nice window to kinda change my career path, and so I was like, Well, if I’m in a change, I have to do it now. And so I took a leap of faith and started my own business, and so for the last three and a half years, I’ve owned 304 Coaching, and what we do is what I’ve always loved to do since I started my career, and that’s talent strategy and leadership education, and so I had the opportunity to start my own business, so every single day I wake up, I get to do what I love to do. And before the test started, you were sharing that you really have a mission that you see in terms of the recruitment and the leadership… What motivates you to do that? So it’s interesting, I bought my first house in a very transitional neighborhood, and I still live there today in downtown Dallas, and it was interesting to move here because it’s a very diverse neighborhood, diverse in any kind of category you can imagine, but what I learned living here because we were very involved in reducing crime, involved in increasing quality of life for our neighbors, and to make up at our community, one of the things you have to do is create better work environments, and it was just a really incredible thing that I realized I hadn’t thought of…

0:04:53.1 S2: And so when you think about going to work every day, ’cause most of us do that, especially for listening to the show, or probably going to work or have been, and how you feel when you go home from work or leave your kitchen table, if you’re working remotely these days, but how you emotionally feel about yourself directly impacts your evening or your morning with your family or your loved ones or your friends, and if you are feeling confident and you feel like you can achieve things and you feel like people respect you, then you’re gonna treat your family that way. And then they go out into that world and treat people that way too, but if you’re overwhelmed and your stress and you feel like you might be fired and your boss is a bully or your boss said mean things to you, that trickles over into your home life and therefore, it trickles out into our communities, and so I don’t think people realize that how you treat your employees doesn’t stay at the door, it does go home with them, and it impacts all of our communities. And I really wanna reinforce what you said is that we all should have a job where we feel good, yes, we work hard, we may be tired, but we feel good at the end of the day, and then we come home to our families in our neighborhood, and that just energizes us.

0:06:05.1 S2: We talked a lot about if you have a job you really love, you come home and your energize, if you have a job that you really dislike, you come home drained and you kinda take it out on the people around you, which is why we talked earlier… Why career central got started because I truly believe everybody should be enjoying their job, and that’s why we are having this conversation this morning, and I know that you have a broad background in HR, but there’s also a specialty that you have, and that’s why we had you on, and that is fear. And fear is a topic of conversation that a lot of us have it effects, or especially now, I think we’re more sensitive to what our fears are, most of us know the feeling, but we don’t know why we have it, and reality is not of all of us, are Fred of the same thing? So it’s gotta be something internal, and I know you spent some time studying the reason that we feel fear, and so can you give us an overview of that neuroscience of fear that you know so much about? Absolutely, and I’m so excited you bring that up because it’s one of my favorite things to talk about because I think that we have a lot of fear of fear, but when we understand where it comes from, it reduces the fear and…

0:07:20.0 S2: So what’s interesting about us as humans, all of us doesn’t matter who we are, but as humans, we all have a brain, and the brain has only one job, and it’s only job is to keep us alive. That’s it. And how it does that is through fear, and it’s all chemical responses that we have no biological control over, so you know how you walk up to a cliff or a high level, like a high part of the building or a roof, and you look down and your belly does that little flip flop and you’re like, Oh, that is fear saying, Hey, hey, hey, back away, that’s dangerous. And so it’s acknowledging danger or your brain, and it’s getting you to change your behavior to keep you safe, so that plays out all day, every day. So say you’re going to go into a job interview. Your brain is like, Oh, there could be danger in there, you could be judged, you could be made… Felt bad, or if you feel bad about yourself, someone might tell you that you’re not good enough, your brain’s telling you all of this unconsciously, because if you don’t go into that job interview and you don’t face that fear, then you’re safe, and it’s just like backing up off that cliff.

0:08:39.0 S2: And so we have to recognize that so much of our mindset comes from this fear chemical that gets released and we kinda have to manage it, we have to say, Hey, fear, I hear you, but I’m getting out of the cave today, and if I get judged, I get judged, I’m not gonna die, I’m not going off the cliff, I’m gonna be just fine, but yeah, it’s interesting how fear actually tries to keep us safe in our little cave and keeps us from the thing out and doing the things we really wanna do with their life, I think that’s a great explanation. And you talked about how fear can affect you when you go into an interview, but can you give us some examples, just day-to-day operations where in the workplace and how sometimes that fear, maybe we don’t even get that gut feeling like we do at the edge of the Grand Anish, it’s still happening. So that we can get in touch with that. Yeah, absolutely. So say that you’re at your desk and all of a sudden you’re like, Oh, and you have this huge unlock it. You’re like, That’s exactly why we’re struggling with this, and you’re like, I can fix this, and then all of a sudden you go, Oh, but you know My boss really likes the way we do it, and they might be mad if I tell the truth or I don’t know if we can really do this.

0:09:55.6 S2: And if it doesn’t work, I might be in trouble. And so you can see how you have this great idea and your brain starts to back you back down off of it, and so when that starts to happen in that type of situation, you can just say, You know, I have the choice here, I can do big things, I can move a mountain, maybe an inch or maybe a foot, but I can do something with it, and recognizing all of that is just your fear trying to keep you safe. I think that oftentimes we’re maybe in a group setting or a meeting, and we want to… We have an idea or we wanna ask a question that we need some clarification, keeps us from getting clarification a lot, and so then we start saying, Oh well, if I need to know this so that I can execute this project, but then you’re like, Oh, but if I ask, I’m probably the only one in the room that doesn’t get it, I bet my boss is gonna think I’m not smart enough, and so then you don’t ask the question, therefore, you can’t deliver in a way in which you could…

0:10:58.3 S2: If you had all the information. So those were a couple of situations that I think happen often that come up in the workplace. So I’m sure you work with people who have… Their career has been limited by all these messages, can you talk… Can you give us an example, either from your personal experience or a client’s experience, because it’s always great to say, Oh, just don’t do it, but actually… The fear says, Oh, no, no, no, I mean, it’s just like double edge, I’m afraid of doing what I’m afraid to do, so… Yeah, one of the things that I’ve had to learn, because this is a chemical response in all of us for every day of our life, and so sometimes I’ll have a new client called me and then I’m gonna talk to them about what we could do with them, and my brain does exactly what it was meant to do, Oh, they’re probably gonna go with someone else, you’re probably not that… My brain starts that, I’m like, Oh right, I need to be so frustrated ’cause I know what it’s doing, and then a tall I use is just say… They called me for a reason.

0:12:03.6 S2: Or you could say to yourself, I’m in this position for a reason. I have to say, I have a choice of stumbling or a choice of never getting off the ground, and so I start to kind of ask… Any time I know this is coming, I start to ask myself questions and start to kind of remind myself of what’s going on, and our mind is our map. As humans, we can only relate to what we’ve seen, experienced, touch, felt… Smelled, anything outside of that, we don’t really understand. And so for me, when I sat in fear, when people set in fear, what I want you to know is every time you lean into that fear and you just push through it, even if you push through it 20%, it doesn’t mean you have to like Boothe brick wall, your mind map and your experiences will expand, and therefore, now you see things in a new way, you’ll have more clarity and you’ll actually be better at whatever you’re trying to do, that’s new, so someone who’s really dealing with that fear as soon as they think of an idea, the office to go, Oh, the boss won’t like it, or they’ll judge me or something, a huge leap to go, Oh no, I’m gonna go in and tell a boss, this is how we have to our company, so let’s talk about baby steps or how we get from, Oh no, I can’t say anything in a meeting to maybe speaking up.

0:13:32.0 S2: I love that you asked that. So I think that one of the things you have to start to think is, Alright, did I flush through my ideas, so I do all this… Okay, say you did all the work and you know it’s a darn at idea and you gotta share it, and maybe you have a boss who doesn’t love to hear new ideas, doesn’t like to be told that they’re wrong. One of the interesting things about us as humans, we can actually get addicted to being right, physically addicted to a dopamine hit, and you may have a boss that’s addicted to being right, so if you tell them something they don’t wanna hear, you might take away their addiction of choice, and that is never a good day, but you can do it in a way that makes sense for your boss, in a way that’s not threatening, and one of the things I don’t love is when people say… Well, make them think it’s their idea. I don’t love that because then you’re not sticking up for yourself, but make it go to them and make it seem like it’s something they want to know, not their idea, but something you have that they wanna know, so you can start it by saying things like, You know, I was really putting my head down and thinking about why we’re struggling and selling product X, and I looked at everything inside, outside, inside out, I threw away everything I thought possible so I could get a fresh…

0:14:44.0 S2: And I have some ideas, but they’re different from what we’ve talked about before, are you interested in hearing them now again, they’re different. Are you interested in hearing them? And so then your leader might be, Oh, I know they’re gonna be different. They’ve done the work. Yeah, I am interested in hearing it, and so you’re inviting them into a conversation, inviting them to co-collaborate with you, which feels very different than going in and go, Well, I saw the problem, Mike over here, I don’t know what he’s doing, but I do, and that doesn’t work, right? And so you have to get people interested in joining your thoughts, joining into collaboration and working with you to create something that’s right for the organization. So when you’re in the process of trying to get someone on your team or that… Does that help overcome that fear that… Is that part of the science of the brain? So I think if you have a plan that will reduce your fear, there will be times where you have choices to hold fears hand and walk with it, and that will often be the case, you cannot turn fear off because it is the only thing that keeps you alive.

0:15:55.7 S2: Okay. And so I believe in making friends with it, because if you understand why it’s doing what it’s doing, and it’s creating these stories, and again, that’s how our brain actually processes information, it makes up all these crazy stories, and unfortunately, it usually creates stories that aren’t good for us, right? It’ll create a story that, my boss doesn’t like me, I’m gonna get in trouble if I say this, I’ll be judged. I say If you’re gonna make up a story and you don’t know the truth, at least make up one that served, you know, Hey, I’m thinking differently, but this may just be what we need to think about, versus I’m thinking differently and I’m gonna get in trouble if you’re gonna make it up. Make it up to help you… Okay, so I love that, and just holding the hand of fear as you move forward, tell, let’s explore a little bit more about the language you used a great way of framing this conversation, not the… This department is failing because… And then immediately the person listening goes, Oh, wait a minute, so blaming me, but let’s talk a little bit more about language because that is obviously how we communicate our ideas and ways maybe we do seeing the fear for you, and then also removing the barrier to that person, because that person may be having some fear too, like, Oh, they don’t think I’m doing a good job, so you sort of have got two fears reading to each other, and if you’re gonna take the lead and develop the bridge to the other person, what kind of…

0:17:22.7 S2: How do we do our language, but… Yeah, so one of the things you hit on is, absolutely right, not only are we fighting our own fear, the person we’re talking to, again, they’re human, so guess what, they’re doing the exact same thing, and they’re creating those stories in their head too… I’m gonna get judged, I’m gonna get in trouble. My employees don’t think I should be in this job, so everyone’s creating their own story that is not necessarily productive, so to co-create and to build that trust and to remove fear, we have to learn to do things like ask questions, we don’t know the answer to, that’s really, really hard. ’cause when we ask questions, we often know the answer and we’re letting that we’re kind of walking that person into our opinion, but to reduce fear, you have to recognize you don’t know everything, and so maybe asking questions like, I know that you would like… Your supervisor tells the team, we’ve gotta do this project by this time, and all these things have to happen, and you’re like, Oh no, your fear start, it goes, is gonna be impossible. You could say things like, Hey, I know this can be done collectively in this team, what’s the one thing all of us have to come together and do together so that we make this happen? And so again, to reduce fear a lot of times is opening up conversations, every one in the room, if you said that everyone there would be like, Yeah, yeah, could you tell me that one thing, ’cause I don’t wanna mess up either.

0:18:55.0 S2: Right, and so sometimes reducing your own fears really about reducing everyone else’s fear through your language, and it sounds like reducing your fear by partnering with somebody else, sort of like fear walking together. There is strength in numbers, and there are safety and numbers, and that includes our fear in the workplace, so that might be a strategy for someone who’s feeling a lot of fear is to maybe partner with somebody, you’ve got the great idea, but you talk to a co-worker and think, get them to give you some input which might help you move forward and advancing your idea. Yeah, absolutely, and when you partner with someone, make sure that you’re collaborating in a way that builds possibilities, that build strength, because too often we partner in the workplace, we partner in a negative way, and not just compound your fear, so when you partner with someone, make sure you’re partnering in a way to move forward and be progressive, we are gonna take a very short break and then we’re gonna come back, we’re gonna continue the discussion of positive language, cooperating with co-workers in a way to overcome that fear that may be holding you back in your career.

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0:22:32.8 S2: Welcome back to career central and our conversation with Jennifer Thornton. But right before the break, we were talking about partnering with a co-worker to maybe overcome some of your fears about advancing a new idea, our underlying theme is that we want to encourage people, provide people the skills they need. Have a positive working situation, and one of the things that Jennifer and I have both found is that the fear of speaking up, that little voice that says, No, don’t do it, is holding us back in our careers, so we’re gonna jump right back in with a question for Jennifer, let’s continue talking about maybe building a positive partnership with someone to help advance ideas, so I love the term to partner, and when you think of your co-workers think of them as thought partners, not every one of them may be a thought partner, but I bet, many of them could be. And it’s important to think of them as thought partners because too often we use those relationships to complain and moan and groan, and is there a time in place to be like, Oh, today has been just… You know, yes. But if we get into situations with co-workers where all they do or all we do is complain, then we go into this perpetual cycle of negative feelings and those produce cortisol in our body, and no one wants that in their body, they…

0:24:00.9 S2: No one’s a stress hormone, but every time you sit around and complain with your co-workers, that’s what you’re doing, but if you have people that you look at as thought partners and your people that will think with you or people you can run ideas through and their job is to maybe poke holes in it or to beat it up so that you can get even a better idea, then those are the types of relationships at work that are incredibly rewarding, productive and will help both of you become better at your job and ultimately help the organization, but I like to think about co-workers as thought partners and not teammates, ’cause they really are thought partners. I love that perspective. And again, when you have that idea and you think, Oh, they’re not gonna like it, you go to your thought partner and say, Let’s… Let’s flesh this out. Let’s make sure that I am on the right track. I love that, and we don’t usually go to the negative, but I wanna talk about how fear can derail your career, and maybe you could share some examples of folks you’ve worked with or have shared with you, how fear kept them from moving forward.

0:25:06.6 S2: Yeah, it happens all the time. And it’s really heartbreaking. And when I work with clients and they jump on board with me and they’re in that kind of fear, downward spiral, it’s… The first job we always have is, let’s just put the breaks on and then we’ll figure out from there, I always call it kind of that decompression. And so what happens often times, maybe we’ve had a bad time at work, we’ve had a bad day, we’ve had in a disagreement with our supervisor, whatever happens, so our fear starts triggering… We create the story, I’m gonna get in trouble, I’m gonna get fired, I’m no good at this. Why do they keep me around… But what happens is, once you enter into that and you start really seeing those chemicals that cortisol is associated with it, your brain actually starts to crave more of that, and so you start to actually create even more fear, and when we are in fear, our permanent brain is working. And one of the things it does to keep us alive as it turns off or really tons down our prefrontal cortex, and our prefrontal cortex is what makes us different from animals, is our emotions, it’s our ability to process.

0:26:14.1 S2: It’s where we learn. And so you can see as your fear goes up, your ability to control your emotions, learn in your thoughts actually starts to go down, and so if you feel like you’re in trouble at work and you’ve gotta figure something out and fast… The part of your brain that needs, it’s actually being turned off, and so then you go into more fear, which means it gets closed down even more, you can see how that will start to cycle, and I see that happen all of the time. And so when you’re in that cycle of fear, you have to stop and recognize it, start to really just breathe through it, and I know that sounds somewhat simple, but it’s true, anything you can do to reduce, reduce your stress or your anxiety at that moment, allows your prefrontal cortex to start opening back up and then problem solving starts happening, learning starts happening, all the stuff you need gets turned back on, and so I think we don’t always realize that when our fear is cycling in our career, the reason it cycles is because we’re actually turning off the piece of our brain, we need to actually turn our career around, or to turn a project around or to turn a relationship around, or we’re turning that off, and I think that’s a wonderful…

0:27:28.7 S2: For me, a visual that fear promotes more fear and you just keep going and you just like you can be addicted to being right, you start to be addicted to being afraid, talk a little bit about how you help people step out of that space. Yeah, so we know when someone’s in that space, the first question I ask them when they… I’m like, So tell me what’s going on, right? At work and you’ll hear all the stories. Right. And so one of the first questions I always ask is, How much of that story is verifiable truth? And they’re like, Well, I mean, they said that, so that means this, and I’m like, But what if it didn’t mean that… What else could be true? And then they’re like, Well, I guess what else could be true as well, you know, I know it was a bad day, the director’s meeting went bad and I got them right after that. Alright, so what else could be true as this had nothing to do with you and had everything to do with their state of mind? Yes. Alright, so how does that change how you feel about it? And so they start to recognize that all of these stories are creating in their head around fear likely are not true, and that’s a big piece of growth mindset, or living without fear, is stopping and saying to yourself, when you tell yourself those stories and you’re in fear what else could be true? And when you recognize what else could be true, your mind starts to gain clarity and starts to decompress, and then again, our prefrontal cortex starts to open, and then we’re like, Oh, oh, I guess what else could be true…

0:29:06.0 S2: This has nothing to do with me, I just happen to be the person. And that person’s way, and I got it and it had zero to do with me, and that’s something that I think all of us can do when we’re in fear, is just stop and ask yourself what else could be true. I love that. My thinking is, first, you feel the fear, some deep Press to engage the rest of your brain, the part that shut off because you’re in fear, and then just look at that situation, you know your boss yelled at you instead of saying, my boss yelled at me because I’m me. Why else could the boss of Yeltsin bad day. Something just happened. Would you ever follow up? Hopefully, nobody’s boss deals with them, is gonna expedite boss that goes on, makes some noise rather than responding to you… Would you ever do that, think through and then actually talk to boss, would that help you deal with your fear? You know, I think that’s a great option and one that creates a better relationship, and so if you go through something and you recognize You know what, something else could be true, or here’s the deal, maybe you did mess up, ’cause guess what? None of us are perfect and maybe you did mess something up and you gotta go fix it, I mean…

0:30:18.3 S2: That’s reality. So then going back to your supervisor and just opening up the line of conversation and say, Hey, last week during our touch base, I know that I first traded you because I missed this deadline, this point, or this wasn’t… To the standard that I know I can deliver, and I wanna recognize that I had opportunity to learn from that, and here’s what I’ve done since last week, and what I wanna know from you going forward, if I deliver at that level, are you happy with my performance? And I just wanna reiterate, you didn’t just go and say, Oh gee, I messed up, you had an action plan, which I’m assuming also when you have an action plan, it takes some of that fear away because if you go and say, Oh, I’m sorry, and then you think, Well, I’m gonna get fired versus… I apologize and move on. Any other thoughts on the language, because I think that’s the hardest thing for us for me, when you’re fearful, is to make the language collaborative. It is, right. It is hard, and I think that if you go and have that kind of conversation with your supervisor and you invite them to tell you if moving forward that they’ll be satisfied with your work, what that does is it, again, it reduces your fear because you hear from your boss, you know what, I’m so excited that you looked at this, I’m glad that that was a learning moment for you, and you’re right, if you deliver on this going forward, I’m gonna be thrilled with your performance and that changes your relationship with that person, it changes how you think about it, or you can hide in your office and say, Man, I hope I never messed that up again.

0:32:01.5 S2: And you just keep creating the story about how your boss is still so mad at you, where you can go and have a conversation, re-build that story in a way that’s productive for you. And you’re a leader and the two of you get to go forward in a whole new way, and if you have those types of conversations over and over again, you will grow in ways you never imagined, your relationships with your team, major boss, your peers, your cross-functional partners, everyone, when you take that approach, those relationships change in a whole new way and your career possibilities will open up in even more ways. I wanna talk about something that I hear quite often from folks I talk to, is this constant thing about, I’m gonna get fired, I’m gonna get fired, I’m gonna get fired, it’s like that is the only option for a mistake. If I do that, I’m gonna get fired. Let’s explore that. To me, that’s the extreme level of fear in the office like, Oh, I’m gonna go in tomorrow, they’re gonna fire me if you live with that every day after a while. It really takes a toll.

0:33:02.6 S2: It’s interesting that you talk about that. One of the things I do when I work with executives is I really tell them, as an executive, your number one job is to remove fear in the workplace, because fear is the other side of innovation, and every executive is like, I want my company to be more innovative, I want my company to me, I want everyone making great decisions on their own, I don’t wanna hand hold anyone… Right, all that stuff. Well, to make all that possible, people have to be okay with failure, because the other side of decision-making and innovation is sometimes we’ll fail, and so if you’re in a place where you’re always worried that perfection is the only choice, and there are more companies that not that believe that. Then what I wanna tell you is perfectionism is a tool of fear, because when you set in perfectionism or you feel like you’re expected to be perfect… What that does is it makes you think, Well, if I go above and beyond, if I do, if I do every eye say it exactly, I’m supposed to… All of those things, and I won’t get fired, I won’t be judged.

0:34:11.0 S2: But when you’re fighting inside that perfectionism, you’re really holding your career back, you’re not performing or not thinking of great new ideas, all the stuff that would move your career forward, you’re actually not doing because you’re chasing this idea of perfectionism, and again, perfectionism, it’s a toll of fear. And so if you have that boss that wants that sometimes you can say to them, I’ve got 10 things on my plate this week, I believe that these three are a priorities with these other two, I know they have to be done, but is it okay if they are passing grade so that I can get an A plus on these three things and contract with your supervisor around what needs to be A plus work I want need to be a passing grade. There is a lot of the work that we think needs to be perfect, that really only needs to be at a passing grade, I like that, and of course, our perspective on this program is what the employee can do, it’s great if you have the boss that goes Wow, just take a chance, I’ll support you no matter what. But you find yourself with the boss that does require perfection and is so hard on that, the conversation with the boss, anything else to help turn that from fear to innovation, because when you’re innovative, then usually your career move forward.

0:35:29.9 S2: Yeah, I think also having conversations with that leader and around failure, and so starting to get comfortable in that conversation with them, and so if you go to your supervisor and you’re like, You know, last week you asked me with this project… It was the first time I ever did it, and I’ll tell you, I wasn’t very good at at the beginning, and I’m not perfect at it yet, but here’s the progress I’ve made, and here’s where I started on Monday, and here it is, a week later on Tuesday, and here’s where I’ve gotten it. What advice do you have for me to get it over the hump, but what you’re doing is you’re, again, using your language to let your boss know that you are excited about this new project, you’re excited to learn and to get it right, but you’re kind of contracting with them that you are in the learning phase, and while you’re in the learning phase, you need their support, but it’s not like you go in and go… You know, I tried it and I didn’t get it right, and so I assigned this to someone else. Or, I don’t know how to do this, and I’m gonna hide in my cubicle and help my boss forgot that he told me to do this, instead you just…

0:36:37.6 S2: Again, you open up that conversation. Is the first time I’ve done this? I’m figuring it out. Here’s as far as I’ve come here. How else can I go? What other direction? What advice do you have for me? But letting people know where you are in your learning curve and that you are on a journey and inviting them to participate in that journey, it excites them because most supervisors wanna see their team members grow, and sometimes we have to help them with that journey and help them help us. I like that perspective of thinking about… Your supervisor is similar. Who wants to see you grow? You do know that your success is their success, and so by… And what I really like you’re saying is, Don’t hide in your cubicle, don’t hide the file, just go and say, again, treating your boss as a thought leader, another person that you’re working with to accomplish a goal and to see them as somebody that is part of the process and not the judge who you have to please or not please. We are gonna take another very short break and then we’re gonna come back and continue our conversation on how to deal with fear in your workplace, and then learn a lot more about Jennifer and what she’s got coming up in the next month or so.

0:38:05.0 S2: Follow.

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0:40:58.1 S2: Welcome back to care central in our conversation with Jennifer Thornton. But right before the break, we had just started to touch on having a positive open conversation with your supervisor, and then during the break, we were talking about getting the perspective of what it’s like to be that supervisor, that that might help you overcome your fear and communication so Jennifer, I’m gonna turn it over to you and let’s talk about supervisors and where they are on this fear spectrum, so what I want your listeners to do, no matter where they are in their career, in my experience, the higher level the leader is, the more fear they carry with them every single day. And I know when I was in different parts of my career and I looked at high level executives, I thought, Man, it must be nice to go be them, they always make the right decision. No one’s ever judging them, they’re never in trouble, I get the stories we create and what I learned as an executive coach, as no one in the room has more fear than the actual executive, and there’s… For a lot of reasons, they make a lot of big decisions, they’ve got a lot of people on payroll, they gotta make really good decisions to make sure everyone on the team has a paycheck at the end of the day, and the company is viable.

0:42:10.1 S2: So what I want you to know is when you’re interacting with your supervisor, no matter what level that person is, they’re entering that with their own fear, and chances are their fear may even be greater than yours, and oftentimes, we just talked a lot about that supervisor required perfectionism, one of the reasons why supervisors or leaders require perfectionism is it for through their own fear, so if I can force everyone on my team to be perfect, then therefore I’m perfect and therefore I won’t get in trouble. And so it’s so important for us to recognize that when you go in and you sat down with your leader, and you go in to have a really great conversation, just knowing that we each… There’s not a human in this world that is not dealing with fear in some way, it’s required for us to be alive and to give some grace to that and give some acknowledgement to that, so that it opens up that conversation, so you can engage with that person in a whole new way. I really, I like that. And what we were sharing too, is that not only is your supervisor fearful that you won’t perform, but they’re also fearful of what their supervisor so…

0:43:24.6 S2: They’re getting it from both sides. Any other thoughts about maybe opening that communication with the supervisor, not saying, Oh gee, I know you’re afraid of some… That’s something that can open that the channel of communication and show that you really do want to help them be successful. So again, sometimes it’s asking those questions you don’t know the answer to, and if your boss seems especially tense that day or they’re not themselves that day, ask a question, say, You know what, I have a feeling there might be a lot on your plate this week, what can I do to relieve some of that? To ensure that our team is successful. And when you say something like to your supervisor, you’ll watch them go like you’ll watch their shoulders go down, they’ll be like, Oh, someone a care, someone appreciates me. Someone’s willing to help. Those types of conversations starts to open up, ’cause again, you don’t wanna say, Hey, it looks like you’re in a lot of fear today, what’s going wrong, but you can say, Hey, I sense that there’s something going on and you don’t have to ask what it is, ’cause maybe it’s not our business.

0:44:35.3 S2: Maybe they don’t wanna talk about it, but you can just say, How can I help? What’s one thing I could do for you today to make sure that you’re successful tomorrow, and those are questions you don’t know the answer to, and but let them answer it. That’s a wonderful way, and I really like that you emphasize just that general question, you don’t need to know what’s bothering them because that’s too personal, but the… It looks like, you know, there’s a lot going on. Can I do something to help your projects move long or how can I be supportive? I really like that you have shared such amazing career advice, but I just wanna do the open-ended question about what else would you like to share with our listeners? You know what else I would like to share with your listeners is, do the work to think about how you want to lead, ’cause even if you’re an individual contributor, you’re a leader, everyone’s a leader, and so often, we look at leadership best practices, and a lot of those best practices were created in the industrial revolution, they were created before we knew anything about the brain, ’cause what we know about the brain, we’ve only really discovered the last 20 to 25 years, we can’t take the brain out, look at it and put it back in.

0:45:48.0 S2: Don’t work. So how we’ve been taught to lead and or taught to talk to each other in the workplace was created in a time that is not today, and it was created in a time when we didn’t recognize how much our neuroscience of our brain impacts us in the workplace. And so as you start to go through your self-discovery, your own learning, really trying to grow yourself, really think about into the future, don’t look about what worked in the past, but look out… Who’s talking about future? And always be in the future, ’cause even five years from now, the stuff we’re talking about today will be old, and so constantly pushing yourself to see what’s on the other edge of what’s new in a way you can be productive in the workplace and at home. Great, great advice. Keep looking forward and embrace some of these new concepts of how our brain works and how we react and knowing that that will evolve, so in five years we’ll be having a different conversation, but we’ll still be moving forward trying to understand what motivates us and how we can find that work environment, which we find totally rewarding and be part of that healthy healthy community.

0:47:01.7 S2: We ask each of our guests to challenge our listeners with a five-second challenge, which is something they can do right after the show that will help them begin to develop a career-advancing skill, so what would you like to challenge our listeners to do? So the next time, which will happen today, ’cause you’re a human, the next time today, when all of a sudden that little fear pops up and you start to tell yourself the story of why it’s gonna go bad, or why you’re not good enough, or why this or why that? I want you to stop and say, Hey, fear, I hear you, I see you, but this is how I’m moving forward. And just start practicing that, and you can do that in five seconds and five minutes, and if you struggle to get on the other side again, start to ask the question, What else could be true to… That will help. Fantastic. Jennifer, can you tell our listeners a little bit about what you’re doing? You’ve talked about some of the way your career is taking you, but I know you have some really exciting things coming up, and I’m hoping you’ll share with them.

0:48:12.6 S2: Absolutely, so one of the things we do every year is we offer a free leadership workshop series, and we do it in April of every year, and it’s called Leading Edge specifically titled edge, because we’re trying to always present what’s next in leadership and again, looking towards the future… And so this year, we kick off the program on April 21st, our first session on that day will be about growth mindset and best practices on how to grow your mind, you may hear things like asking yourself what else could be true. Then on that Friday, the 23rd, we’re gonna talk about leading through influence because leading through direction doesn’t work FYI, it just doesn’t. And then our third workshop is the last week of April, and then that one we’re gonna talk about conversation agility, and that’s about hearing limiting beliefs and your team and yourself, and then changing the conversation and… Well, it’s exciting about that is I think you’re going to go even deeper into the topics that we touched on today, and what I really like is you reminded us that we’re all leaders, even if we’re an individual contributor, we are a leader, may not be labeled leader but other people look to us, and so it’s never too early to start developing those leadership skills.

0:49:29.2 S2: Anything else you’d like, Well, how do people find out about this workshop? So you can find out about the by connecting with me on LinkedIn at Jen Thornton ACC, or you can jump on our mailing list at 304Coaching.com, and we’ll provide the links for the show notes. Fantastic. Alright, so I know I’m looking forward to it and excited about the fact that I can hear more about all of the study and research and scales that you have developed, and what I really appreciate is the fact that you’re willing to share for those of you… This program is free, there is no charge, and if I had a long conversation about what we do is try and share as much free information as possible so that people can build their careers, have the career they want to be part of the community, they want… So Jennifer, I can’t thank you enough for coming on today and sharing all of this information with us. I know I’ve learned a few tricks and I really like that. Take fear by the hand, this is not something I’m going to try and push away, I’m just gonna say, Okay, fear.

0:50:32.6 S2: Let’s go together. I wanna handle this to our listeners next week, our guest is Terry McDougal, and the topic is gonna be office politics, and for some of you that are going, Oh, no, no, not office politics. I hate that topic. I can’t tell you how many clients I have had over the years that have said, Oh, I hate the office politics where I am, I need a new job, let me find a new job where there’s no politics, and I wanna share with you that. Unless you’re working with one other person and perhaps you’re married to them, you’re not going to get away from office politics, so we are gonna tackle it like all topics like fear and anything else that holding us back, we’re just gonna come right up it and we’re gonna talk to it, about it. We’re gonna figure out how to work with it. And because it is an issue for so many people, I really want to encourage you to either… If you listen to us live, and I know there’s many of you that do be prepared to call in, if not, send me an email telling me your situation and I will ask her how we can solve it, and you can move forward.

0:51:37.6 S2: So if you would like to share a question or a situation you’d like covered on the air, then please email me at CareerCentralHost@gmail.com, we always appreciate feedback. So whatever platform you listen to, show on, please send us feedback if you’re a long time listener, you know that we’ll have a topic like interviewing and we’ll have comments, we want more interviewing and we bring that… We brought office romance, all of those things because we heard from you about what you want, I just want to remind people that if you are facing a job loss or know someone who is check out my book, career restart, practical advice for surviving and moving forward after a job loss, it’s available on Amazon is designed to be a quick read and talk about all of those unique situations that happen in your job search after you’ve been terminated or laid off. I wanna remind you about this week’s five-second challenge, which is absolutely fantastic. Sometime today, you’re going to get that pit in the bottom of your stomach that says, I shouldn’t do this…

0:52:50.9 S2: People are gonna think I’m dumb if I do this. And you are just going to say, fear you, I see you, and this is what I’m going to do. And if that doesn’t work, then you’re gonna go back and say, Let me ask some questions about what’s really going on, am I really interpreting this situation is fear, or am I just seeing it as fear when it’s really not, so until our next show… This is the rain Beeman, encourage you to take care of your career because you are the only one who’s qualified to do it.

0:53:29.2 S1: Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of career central. Be sure to join your host, Lauren demon for another program. Next Monday at 2 PM Eastern Time and 11 AM Pacific Time on The Voice America business channel. Enjoy your week.

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