My client Robin just got promoted.
Instead of feeling happy about her much-anticipated new role, she is filled with fear and anxiety.
Robin’s response is actually a very common one in the face of good news.
When positive things happen in our lives, why do we so often move from joy and excitement to fear very quickly?
Why is it so hard for us to stay in a place of joy and excitement?
In her book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown explains that this happens because joy is actually the most vulnerable emotion we can feel.
She states, “When we feel joy, it is a place of incredible vulnerability – it’s beauty and fragility and deep gratitude and impermanence all wrapped up in one experience. When we can’t tolerate that level of vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding, and we immediately move to self-protection.”
So, to avoid this place of deep vulnerability, when something good happens, we start preparing for the fall, the drop, the disappointment so we don’t get caught off-guard should it actually occur.
Is this a productive way to respond to joy?
But if you understand this human tendency, then you can choose a different response.
So, what can we do to mitigate this common reaction to joy?
Here are my top six strategies:
- Recognize when fear or self-sabotage washes over you and replace it with an emotion that feels better.
- Consciously take time to bask in the pleasure of your accomplishment and successes.
- Give yourself permission to feel joy, happiness, and excitement for on-going periods of time.
- Celebrate successes with your team, family, and friends.
- Provide timely recognition to those who have accomplished their big goals.
- Practice gratitude for the accomplishment that you and your team have worked so hard to accomplish.
Life is all about perspective.
To reach your full potential as a leader, you have to be able to move beyond your fears and self-limiting beliefs.
How is your fear holding you back in your leadership practice?
What can you do to shift your perspective and bring more celebration and fun back to the workplace?