REQUIRED READING: It has been said that ‘FEAR’ stands for ‘Forget Everything And Run.’ It's that uncomfortable, disconcerting feeling that causes us to take a backseat in our own life and prevents us from proactively moving forward to reach our goals and aspirations. Instead of facing a personal, business or workplace situation head-on and taking control of the proverbial handlebars of life, fear causes us to turn the other way, freeze in our tracks or poke our head in the sand.Â
In today's mortgage banking environment, it is easy to fall victim to fear. After all, the industry is facing its greatest challenge since the Great Depression – and there is no guarantee that things will get better in the near future.
One way to counteract fear's adverse impact on your life and career is to recognize the type of fear that might be defining you and driving your actions – or lack thereof. In fact, there are many types of fears that will prevent you from achieving both your personal and professional goals. Recognizing the specific fears that are holding you back is the critical first step toward breaking free of the emotional paralysis and living a more carefree, uninhibited life. As the saying goes, ‘No guts, no glory.’
Below are seven common fears that hold people back from achieving what they desire both personally and professionally. If you recognize some of these fears in your mortgage banking work, you may need to step back and reassess how you are handling your duties.
1. Fear of success. This is actually a fear of achieving your dreams and standing out: fear of the attention you will receive should you actually realize success. Yes, people might look at you, and talk about you, which can make you feel self-conscious. Sometimes, it's the fear of taking the steps necessary to work toward your goal, or knowing what to do first when all seems daunting at the onset.Â
We all have things we want to achieve in life, but by giving into this particular fear, you lose faith in yourself and your abilities, and also faith in those who truly have your best interest at heart and want to see you succeed.Â And, remember that even baby steps are forward momentum.
2. Fear of leading. With leadership comes responsibility, and many are afraid of being responsible for an outcome that impacts not only themselves, but also the people they are guiding. Many with this fear worry and wonder, ‘What if I lead them the wrong way?’ This is where you need to trust your intuition to guide you and have faith that you will make the right decisions – the same faith others have instilled in you so they may follow.Â
Letting go of the outcome and its various possible impacts brings freedom and, with it, releases you from fearing the unknown. It allows you to trust your leadership skills and be an example for others.
3. Fear of speaking. Many people fear public speaking more than any other activity. Speaking requires a palpable level of confidence and ability. In our lives and careers, we are sometimes required to present thoughts and ideas to others.Â
Whether it is the presentation of ideas at a trade industry conference, a chamber of commerce gathering or any other business function, or a full-scale conference keynote, it's all public speaking. Being a confident speaker requires training, not talent. Master this skill, and you will command the attention and respect that you deserve – and the successes will ensue.
4. Fear of inadequacy. If you are not confident in yourself, how are you going to be confident in the loan origination process? Feelings of inadequacy can come from inherently low self-esteem or past negative life experiences. If someone told you that you couldn't do something or shamed you into believing you weren't capable of doing something ‘well enough,’ you may carry that feeling of ineptitude and not even realize it. This subconscious stronghold can be truly debilitating.
The best defense against a fear of inadequacy is to learn and master the specific skill, subject or activity in question – and, in doing so, you will become self-assured in your execution. If it's more about fundamental self-esteem, seek out the emotional support to help you value and believe in your own capabilities.
5. Fear of failure. All too often we stop short of attempting something new fearing we might embarrass ourself – or, worse, fail altogether. And the current economic crisis – with its surplus of failed companies and unemployed professionals – seems to compound that fear. Any given undertaking has the possibility of resulting in failure, which is never a desirable or welcome outcome.Â
But, when we face something new, our fear of failure can be amplified as anxiety, nerves, and our ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicks in.Â These intense feelings can cause us to put our aspirations on the shelf, where they can languish in perpetuity. Mary Kay Ash perhaps said it best: ‘Fail forward to success.’ Indeed, failure is part of the road toward success and should not be feared, but embraced as an opportunity for growth.Â
6. Fear of compromising integrity. Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking or will ultimately know. Many fear that, in order to be successful in a career, we have to compromise our integrity and go against what we believe to be right.
Overcoming this concern requires nothing more than establishing a specific set of boundaries within yourself and knowing exactly where and when you will draw the line – and sticking steadfast to that plan of action. It's a commitment to making belief-based decisions in all aspects of your life so that, when success is realized, there is no guilt or angst involved about how that success manifested. It's important to recognize that you can be successful while adhering to your personal value system.
And lest we forget, it was the lack of integrity that helped to fuel the environment that created the current economic crisis!
7. Fear of vulnerability. While it can be uncomfortable and downright scary to open yourself up and expose your true inner self, doing so can be cathartic – and a true turning point in effecting positive change. Letting down your guard takes courage and strength, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can help you better relate with people on a more intimate and personal level.
The best way to combat any fear is to hit it head-on, keep moving forward and stay focused on achieving your goal. There will always be obstacles that make reaching your goal seem impossible, and you must be disciplined and tenacious enough to stay focused and on track toward it. You must also be committed enough to not only make a promise to yourself, but also see it through, even when the going gets tough. Only then can you keep the fear at bay and hit the fast-track to success.
Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez is a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant and founder and CEO of the seminar training company Dynamic Vision International Inc., based in Redondo Beach, Calif. She can be reached at (310) 591-9803.