Don’t Let Fear Stop Your Success: 3 Traps to Avoid and Strategies to Embrace

Our fears can sometimes cause us to fall into common career traps if we’re not careful. Here are three to avoid and key strategies to adopt that I’ve accumulated throughout my career:

Trap 1: Following someone else’s vision for you

There are many things in our lives that influence how we see ourselves—family heritage, amazing role models, the expectations that others have of us, and so much more. With my father being born and raised in Sicily, my heritage could have influenced me to lessen my career ambition, simply because I’m female. However, I saw my father creating his own success, reinventing his business over time, and having a fulfilling career. Watching him overcome his own challenges gave me the courage to create a bold vision for myself, to break the mold so-to-speak for what women in our family could expect of their careers, and to follow my passion. Strategy to embrace: Create a bold vision for yourself.

Trap 2: Always playing it safe

As you build your experience, skills, and credibility in a specific area, there’s a temptation to stay there—to not move out of your comfort zone. In my career, I have consistently wanted more from myself and the teams I’m a part of. I’ve seen that believing you are not yet at your “very best” drives a mindset and an attitude that forces you to focus on your development no matter where you are in your career, to be a continuous learner, to look for new experiences, and to strive for continuous improvement. Strategy to embrace: Be pleased but never satisfied.

Trap 3: Relying exclusively on your internal confidence

I believe we all understand the significant role our confidence plays in how we come across as leaders. We work to build our self-confidence by investing in learning, stretching ourselves, and practicing new skills. Beyond our internal source of confidence, I believe there are also external sources of confidence, and I have used them throughout my career. It may be as simple as the kind, encouraging look you receive from a colleague when you’re presenting to your team. Strategy to embrace: Lend your confidence to others and borrow it from those around you.