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How fear can limit your career potential

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How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Ana » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:44 pm

I want to recommend everyone who hasn't read it yet to go and read the How fear can limit your career potential column by Dave Jensen that just came up in Science Careers.

I'm a rather anxious/fearful person by nature so I found it fantastic. I'm familiar with the three fears Dave describes. And great advice: keep moving!
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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:06 pm

Ana:

You are correct - this is an excellent article. I hark back to the days when letters were sent out by snail mail, and I didn't even get enough postcards to fill a shirt pocket! You and Dave are absolutely right - you must keep moving forward. To quote a favorite poet (Bob Dylan) "he not busy being born is busy dying" - I think that he meant much the same thing.

Dick
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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby D.X. » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:02 am

Very good article.

What resonated with me was the section on Fear of Change specific to the issue of "Comfort Zone". I agree with the Statement that is an issue that comes up over and over during career and the concluding Statement of Keep going.

Its good to be unconfortable with acknowledgement that it could lead to fear of success, where imposter Syndrome is a symptom and maybe more its fear of failure.

But when I think about failure, i like to think about the Quote from Tom Peters - "Reward Excellent Failures - Punish mediocre success".

My career path has shown I've learned the most and secured the most returns both personally and professionaly when I've failed an/or when I've been put in uncomfortable spots. I beleive me, I've failed massively a few times - though I'm still kicking and meanwhile enjoying a nice career journey. Can't wait for my next on the job failure, I can only hope it's massive. Success..bah...over-rated.

Caveat: So long as someone else pick up the tab for my failure - would hate to do that on my own dime. (ahem, Little joke).

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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Dave Walker » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:09 am

A great piece filled with personal touches. Thanks to Dave for writing it, and for Ana for picking it out.

I'm struck by the similarities between Dave's and Dick's early career and my own, years later. It may seem that email and the internet has made things different, but fundamentally finding a job was the same, right down to the "just wait" factor. Then, as now, a resume gets 30 seconds or less before being filed away. If I printed out my job search responses, I could also fit them inside a shirt pocket :)

I think the personal motto of "keep moving" is an excellent one -- I've heard it in some form from Conrad Hilton to Mark Zuckerberg. It is so valuable, it's probably intrinsic to success.

However, I think we could also do well to encourage this behavior in others and at work. To some extent I feel that "mediocre success" can become a company motto as well, especially if there is a risk-averse managerial style.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Dustin Levy » Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:35 pm

This is great, Dave. We used the comfort zone concept extensively in a leadership development course I took early in my career. Think of three concentric circles, the innermost being your comfort zone, the next being your learning zone, and the outermost being your panic zone. The objective is to spend as much time as possible in the learning zone. This is when you’re stretching yourself, but not stepping out so far from your comfort zone as to create panic. Great idea to bring mentors and coaches with you into the learning zone – without them your learning zone may be too thin and you will be dangerously close to the panic zone. Most people follow up a panic zone experience by quickly retreating to their comfort zone, and staying there for quite a while.

As you spend time in the learning zone, the lessons learned make your comfort zone bigger. Spend too much time in that comfort zone, be it large or small, and you’ll begin to stagnate.

For those of you fortunate enough to have people following you, bring those followers into the learning zone as much as possible, without leaving them to fend for themselves in the panic zone.
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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:48 pm

Dustin Levy wrote:This is great, Dave. We used the comfort zone concept extensively in a leadership development course I took early in my career. Think of three concentric circles, the innermost being your comfort zone, the next being your learning zone, and the outermost being your panic zone. The objective is to spend as much time as possible in the learning zone. This is when you’re stretching yourself, but not stepping out so far from your comfort zone as to create panic. Great idea to bring mentors and coaches with you into the learning zone – without them your learning zone may be too thin and you will be dangerously close to the panic zone. Most people follow up a panic zone experience by quickly retreating to their comfort zone, and staying there for quite a while.

As you spend time in the learning zone, the lessons learned make your comfort zone bigger. Spend too much time in that comfort zone, be it large or small, and you’ll begin to stagnate.

For those of you fortunate enough to have people following you, bring those followers into the learning zone as much as possible, without leaving them to fend for themselves in the panic zone.



Thanks Dustin. I read a book years ago by Robert Kriegel called "Inner Skiing." He talks about your subject above, but considers it a one-line sliding scale, with Satisfaction Zone on one end and Challenge Zone on the other end, and each of us chooses a place we like to be along that sliding scale. Some people, perhaps an analytical chemist who loves to work with a technique in a core lab that he/she is very good at, just stay in that Satisfaction Zone all day long. Someone else might like to stick their neck out a bit -- into the Challenge Zone regularly to learn new things. And if you stay there all day long, it could easily become the Panic Zone!

Dave
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Re: How fear can limit your career potential

Postby Walter X. » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:21 am

Ana - thank you.

I want to thank you for pointing me to this article. I believe it was influential for me in my recent thinking. This is very much appreciated. Walter
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