If you’ve ever been in a room full of co-workers engaged in a team-building exercise, chances are you’ve heard the question, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
It’s a good question that has been asked so frequently, it has nearly lost all of its poignancy. So let me ask the question in another way.
If fear were obsolete, what dreams would you take action on?
At the 2017 Global Leadership Summit, Gary Haugen brilliantly coined the phrase, “Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams.”
Fear is sown in silence, fertilized in the shadows and grown in darkness.
Fear is often an unseen virus that takes down the mightiest of dreamers and discourages the bravest of leaders.
So in a world desperately in need of courageous, fearless leaders, how do we face the silent destroyer of dreams and come out on the other side victorious?
Here are three ways to combat the fear in your leadership:
1) Name it
If fear thrives in the dark and chokes in the light, then the greatest step we can take to avoid this silent destroyer is to name the fear.
I can still remember what it felt like the first time I voiced a fear that had consumed me for months. I was walking around in what felt like a fog. Fear had already taken over so much of my life.
When I finally began to speak it, it spilled out of my mouth so quickly it almost scared me.
The tears came and it felt like my fear lay all over the floor, ugly, exposed and messy, for everyone to see.
But instead of judgement, I heard hope. I experienced freedom.
Freedom will never come if we refuse to voice our fears.
Freedom comes when we take a dose of humility, name the fears and allow them to lie open and exposed for trusted people to see.
2) Own it
Have you ever tried to convince someone it isn’t your fault that fear just happens to inhabit your every thought and action?
Perhaps the fear comes from a family sin pattern, or someone treated you in a way that caused fear, or the fear is just a part of your culture.
There may be legitimate reasons for your fear. However, legitimate reasons do not give us license to indulge the fear.
Every fear has the potential to be uprooted and thrown out. Fearless leaders own their responsibility in this process.
If you cannot own your own ability to overcome your fear, you will never experience freedom from it.
Own your role in it.
Own your ability to rise above it.
3) Fight against it
In a world inundated with self-help books and how-to guides, there are so many messages telling us if we fight harder, fight smarter or fight better, we can defeat the fear that overcomes us.
But I would disagree.
On your own, you cannot defeat the fear in your life.
The good news is that we serve a God who invites you to join Him as He defeats the fear in your life.
He invites you to drown your fears in His word, to fill your minds with His teachings, to surrender all your thoughts to Him and then to work diligently to fix your mind on His truth.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Fear is not a passive enemy. We must take real action and engage a serious strategy to defeat it.
We simply cannot approach the fight against our fear with apathy.
May we, as leaders, name the fear, own the fear and fight against the fear in order to unleash the dreams God has given us for His world.
Hannah Gronowski is the founder and director of Generation Distinct, GenerationDistinct.com, an organization that exists to inspire and equip the next generation to discover their passions and fight for justice in order to make God’s name great in this world. She has a passion to empower the next generation to become leaders and difference makers in a way that sparks a global movement. Hannah is also an author, blogger and speaker and lives in the Chicagoland area.