Face Everything and Rise – Your Leadership Strategy to Beat the Fear Pandemic
Many leadership development and financial experts are touting the fact that we live in an Era of Exponential Growth, Digital Disruption, and Cancel Culture. I agree. In addition, I believe we are experiencing a Fear Pandemic.
Leaders ask me, “What prompts you to write about Courageous Leadership?”
The more relevant question is, “When did you get interested in stress/fear and its impact on human flourishing?”
My interest in the concept of stress/fear goes back to my days as a pre-med student at the University of Sioux Falls.
With a dream of medical school, I titled my capstone project “The Stress Concept.” My research focused on the physical impact of stress and fear on the human body. Maybe because I’ve poured my heart and soul into this report, I saved it in an old filing cabinet…and dug it out for this article. It’s still readable, even though I used an electronic typewriter and transparencies (remember those?)
While I was researching the topic in 1980, I had an ah-ha…bad stress and fear impact every area of our lives, not just the physical. We experience fear spiritually and motivationally, relationally, physically, mentally, and financially.
Fast forward to now. You are facing a Fear Pandemic. Legacy and social media are having a field day. With each new headline, they proclaim looming disaster. They appear to be selling fear. As leaders, we need to fight back.
In the Introduction of the Sisu Courage Series, I discuss the virtuous leadership strategies needed to expand your leadership influence in the midst of this fear and chaos.
What might you do to strengthen your courageous Sisu character to stand up to the lethal fear virus?
Our Response to a Changing Culture is Fueling the Fear Pandemic
Yes, it’s true. Our culture is changing. It’s the Era of Exponential Growth and Digital Disruption. Consider the revolutionary shifts in these industries:
- Medical: DNA sequencing, genetic quantum biocomputing
- Technology: Robotics, cybersecurity, and blockchain technology.
- Financial: Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies, and government-issued programmable, digital currency.
- Space Exploration: 30,000 satellites orbiting the earth, drones.
In “Artificial Intelligence is Transforming our World – Are We Ready?” (by Nikola L. Katzov, JD, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota) he starts the article with this list of everyday ways our world is changing:
- Cars drive themselves.
- Automated grocery stores allow customers to shop without employees in the store.
- Software applications control access, temperature, and lighting in our smart homes.
- Autonomous robots clean our houses.
Digital Disruption, as well as other unstoppable forces of economic, demographic, cultural, and moral upheaval, drives uncertainty. Fear and stress are rampant at every level. These are a couple of findings from a recent survey of university students. This is how they responded to “I have felt increased stress about.”
- 71% loss of social connections, social isolation
- 69% Increased anxiety or depression
- 61% physical health for me or a family member
George Barna’s recent research reveals that 54% of young adults admit to “often feeling anxious, depressed, or unsafe.” See my summary of this report here.
No wonder there’s fear and stress. Here are some of the headlines that popped up on my daily newsfeed:
- Mysterious Hepatitis Cases in Children Reported in 25 States
- How to Invest in a Market Crash
- Americans Have Tons of Worries – And War in Europe is Way Down the List
Watch this video and see the shocking impact of Fear on every aspect of your life.
Fuel and food prices are skyrocketing. Inflation is increasing. Doom-and-gloom predictions for future economic prospects are rife. With the growing gap between the Financial World Economy and the Real World Economy, are we sustainable?
Here’s the opinion of one financial expert: “The West is in the process of destroying itself with pandemics, climate change, culture wars, Russia hysteria, and dreams of energy systems that do not yet exist.”
He goes on to say: “The monetary system is collapsing, and we have reached the end of the road in fiscal management, borrowing every year, and running larger and larger deficits under socialism to bribe voters.”
He goes even further: “Globally, societies are moving rapidly towards a situation where we are closer to the baseline of human existence. And you know what that means? It means violence.”
So, let’s be real – there are many things to fear!
In the background, social media continues to feed the fear monster…
It feels like we all need to wear both physical and emotional hazmat suits!
Protect your Leadership Development Success – Beware of the Fake Fear Trap
Social media is successful in getting people worked up about false or unhealthy fear. Government, corporations, and mainstream media quickly capitalize on this fear trap. Headlines maximize the fear-mongering effect. Fear assists governments to convince millions of people to adhere to irrational, unscientific, draconian regulations, and mandates.
In the ’60s, the KGB did some fascinating psychological experiments. They bombarded human subjects with non-stop false fear messages. It took two months or less for most subjects to believe the false message. They deliberately feed the fear monster. The results? Unquestioning obedience to the fear-mongering master.
There is a popular FEAR acronym that describes unhealthy fear. False Evidence Appearing Real!
Unhealthy fear anticipates the unknown…
- It’s anxiety about what might happen tomorrow, next week, or next year.
- It’s assuming we know what other people might do / how they will react.
- It’s focusing on what people say, vs. listening to hear what God says.
Fear is at the core of these alarming statistics. That’s why your leadership matters, now, more than ever before.
What might happen to you if you’re constantly living in a state of fear?
How to Confront Fear – Running Scared is Better than not Running at All!
Leadership guru, John C. Maxwell, wrote: “Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.”
In this Era of Exponential Progress, Digital Disruption, and Cancel Culture, we are often overcome by feelings of fear.
Fear means something different for everyone.
What about you? How do you feel when you have to make a big decision? Or when you’re facing a new opportunity? Do you jump right in, or do you hesitate?
If change, even when it appears to be for the better, rattles your nerves, you’re not alone. In my experience, the majority of people are change resistant.
For some, moving outside their comfort zone is a daunting experience. Your feelings may range from slight discomfort to unbridled fear!
So, if you’re leaning towards the shaking-in-your-boots end of the scale, what might you do to confront your fear?
Grow Leadership Influence by Refusing to Allow Fear to Control You
When fear rules you, the impact is staggering…
- Your leadership influence is minimized,
- Your creativity takes a nose-dive,
- Your ability to make a positive difference in the world is sabotaged!
Fortunately, there is another positive FEAR acronym that is more encouraging:
Face Everything And Rise!
Yes, instead of focusing on the negative, the “what-ifs” and the “but what about’s,” you can commit to facing your fear with courage. You can rise above the deafening noise of the fear-mongering media machine!
Make a list of what you stand to gain when you move forward, even when you feel fearful. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
- Every step you take forward is one step closer to reaching your goal, and one step away from what you feared.
- Every fear you confront builds your character.
- Every time you succeed in overcoming one of the things you dread, your confidence grows.
- Every obstacle you encounter brings opportunities to collaborate with others so that everyone wins.
Courage lives inside all of us – even in you! Sometimes we just need to dig deeper to find it!
When I researched and presented my capstone project, The Stress Concept, I never imagined that we’d be facing a Fear Pandemic. Fortunately, when you choose to Face Everything And Rise, you can expand your leadership influence during this unsettling Era of Exponential Progress, Digital Disruption, and Cancel Culture.
For more strategies, tips, and resources, to successfully deal with the Fear Pandemic, I invite you to read the Sisu Courage Series here.
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