Does fear make you weak… or powerful?
I saw this quote come across my LinkedIn feed and needed to know where it came from: “If It’s Both Terrifying And Amazing Then You Should Definitely Pursue It.” It is originally from a photographer name Erada Svetlana and used in a Forbes leadership article (“Two Guaranteed Ways To Become More Powerful Than Your Fears”, Denise Restauri, Forbes, Jan 2017). The article highlights two very successful women in two entirely different fields of expertise – a professional race car driver and an entrepreneur. Right off the bat, we can see that the quote and the article can readily apply to all of us!
In my chosen business and profession, I talk to a lot of people. Most of the conversations are what you expect relative to seeking out highly talented people, meeting with leaders and hiring managers to understand the true need for a specific role and team, salaries, relocations, culture, fit… and on and on. But every once and I while I get the inevitable question: “How in the world did you end up in recruiting?!?”
Hence the reference to the article – doing something as drastic as I did is no joke scary! A degreed Chemical Engineer, I started out as a Scientist doing development work, moved into Process Engineering, and ultimately into manufacturing operations leadership roles. How in the world do I get from that to owning my own niche recruiting business you ask? I won’t bore you with all the details but I can absolutely share that is was a difficult decision and one that had pitfalls, uncertainties, unknowns, and a whole pile of fear.
It’s been a tough road to say the least. This is not an easy business as anyone with a phone can call themselves a recruiter. Being able to differentiate and provide high value to organizations and candidates alike is hard to accomplish in such a crowded space. But when you commit to learning, have great mentors and coaches, and then actually do the work, it can pay off. No, it isn’t anything like driving 170 mph or even jumping into a ring and boxing (from the article), but scary nonetheless.
Bringing it all back around, changing jobs falls into this same bucket, at least to an extent. Relocating is hard to do – new surroundings, new school, new team, new people and so much more. All of those questions bang around our collective heads: is this the right decision? Is this the right company? Will the new location suit us? And things ratchet up quite a bit if you are exploring beyond a job change and considering a career change.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
This is a question that I asked myself a lot as I investigated the option of jumping into recruiting and owning my own business. I think we all ask ourselves that question at some point in our professional lives. Being someone who is relatively calculated, that question is mostly not something you can measure. And neither is fear. Fear can be debilitating. It can make you question your motives. It can make you weak and shrink back into your comfort zone. But, these two powerhouse women used that fear to make them powerful. Overcoming fear is a remarkable thing as it strengthens you and even enables you to face more fears with courage, knowing that you’ve already pushed through once before – and succeeded.
Wrapping up, I think Nicole Glaros said it profoundly well at the end of the article, “The notion of acknowledging that you’re scared and fearful, then leaning into it, moving through it, moving past it, not allowing the thing that scares you to stop you, that is powerful.” So, be powerful and take the leap of faith!
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