Leaders are strong, courageous and brave! Leaders cast vision, declare direction and march out front leading others into a bright and hopeful future! Sounds good, right? Yes, of course it sounds good. Courage, bravery, casting vision, that’s good stuff and it’s what leaders do, it’s who leaders are.
However, as a leader, I know each of us have fears. We don’t always publicize them but they are there, just below the surface. There is a fine line between openly declaring our fear and simply “hiding our panic.”
On occasion when leaders are tired, confused, and struggling with their own self-esteem, they may open up and acknowledge their fears to a few close friends or confide in one person or “strengthen themselves (alone) in the Lord.”
Simply put, leaders are afraid at times, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not acknowledging and facing our fears is what paralyzes us from moving forward.
Although today’s title is “7 Fears Leaders Face And What To Do About It,” I can honestly tell you they are 7 fears that I, Craig Jutila, face and what God’s Word says about how I should look at fear in the face and keep moving forward. I hope you find them helpful.
1. Fear of Failure
Sometimes I don’t even try because I feel like failure is inevitable. I don’t want to hear the, “I told you it wouldn’t work” chant from the cheap seats so I don’t even take the risk. I get it, I understand and I am with you! Now, lets take that risk God has put on your heart, on my heart and move forward with confidence.
Why should I be afraid of failing when the Bible says…
I've commanded you to be strong and brave. Don't ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 CEV
2. Fear of Being Found Out
For many years and and at a very unhealthy level, I was worried about what other people thought of me. This fear caused me to hide in plain sight and “act” like I had my life together when, in fact, I did not. Fear of being found out is really a fear of transparency and vulnerability that leads to authenticity. I empathize with Adam when he said, "I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked (vulnerable), so I hid.” Being vulnerable isn't easy and it leaves you open to attack.
I will tell you, I have stared this fear in the face and continue to move forward in faith instead of fear. Take a risk today and be authentic with one person in your life. You don’t have to tell everyone everything but you need to tell someone something.
Why should I be afraid of who I really am when the Bible says…
Don't worry, because I am with you. Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you. Isaiah 41:10 NCV
3. Fear of What Others Think
Have you ever said, “I don’t care what other people think?” Most of us have either uttered those words aloud or repeated them under our breath like a mantra to help us believe we really don’t care what others think. The problem is if we really don’t care what others think we loose the capacity for connection. We should care, on some level, what others think, just not be afraid of what they think.
Why should I be afraid of what others think when the Bible says…
Be brave and strong! Don't be afraid of the nations (People) on the other side of the Jordan. The LORD your God will always be at your side, and he will never abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 CEV
4. Fear of The Future
Fear of the future is a fear of the unknown and, in a sense, a fear of failure. “What if that event I have been planning for the last seven months doesn’t meet up to everyone’s expectation?” “What if things don’t work out the way I want them too?” What if...What if...What if...Worry, anxiety and fear of the future is something all leaders deal with. Remember, we have a hopeful future and if something doesn't turn out the way we want we certainly know that God knew about it and will use it in our life to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.
Why should I be afraid of the future when the Bible says…
I am the LORD your God. I am holding your hand, so don't be afraid. I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:13 CEV
5. Fear of Being Wrong
We are all wrong from time to time. We know it, we understand it, but when the fear of being wrong stops us from moving forward then it’s time to face that fear. Not acting or not making a decision because we are afraid of being wrong is paralyzing for us and those around us.
Why should I be afraid of being wrong when the Bible says…
God's Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self- control. 2 Timothy 1:7 CEV
6. Fear of Stillness
Not all leaders move fast, think fast, speak fast or are always in a hurry. However, I was one of those leaders and I know many who have an unconscious fear of slowing down. Physically fast personalities often have spiritually slow hearts (I can give a testimony). Pausing, meditating, reflecting, sitting quietly and listening fall within the realm of stillness. We need to embrace the quiet and stillness to hear God whisper to us, not avoid it by keeping busy.
Why should I be afraid of being still and quiet when the Bible says…
God says, "Be still and know that I am God. I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NCV
7. Fear of Insignificance
Leaders want to make a contribution, leaders want to make a lasting impact, leaders want to make a difference. We can’t confuse popularity with purpose. There are a lot of popular people who aren’t making a difference and a lot of people who are making a difference who aren’t popular. Significance is knowing God has a plan for you and for your life.
Why should I be afraid of being insignificant when the Bible says…
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLTse
Question: What are you afraid of as a leader?
I would love to hear your response and I know other leaders would love to hear as well. This could be your first step to facing fear number 2 above.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 333013640 c Svetlana Lukienko