Everyone goes through life with experiences that impact personality. Life throws each of us twists and turns, highs and lows, and so much ambiguity, that at times, it feels like an unpleasant amusement park ride. We experience fear, insecurity, positive images, negative images, joy and sadness. All of these emotions shape our beliefs, values and attitudes. Unfortunately, this “baggage” isn’t something we check at the door when we enter our work environments; we haul it right in with us.

Fear and insecurity drives so much of our behavior – they are also the biggest drivers of dysfunctional behavior. Our minds are extremely powerful, to the point that what we manifest internally can actually become a reality for us IF we don’t keep it all in check. Some common dysfunctional behaviors become:

Fear of Failure – this is inherent in all of us, especially when we wish so much to succeed. The truth is, the only one who fears YOU will fail in a role, is YOU. The folks who put you in that role, believe that you are perfectly qualified to be there. Don’t let your mind take you to places where it doesn’t need to go…If you are truly afraid of failure, do more, be better, work harder, but whatever you do, don’t let fear paralyze you because it will stop you if you let it.

Fear of Being Criticized – the natural tendency for humans is to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Thus, we will do almost anything to avoid feedback because we see it as “being evaluated”. In the human experience, the thought of being evaluated is a painful process, but it doesn't have to be. Instead of looking at feedback as criticism, view it as a gift that will make you better. Feedback is an opportunity to grow.  Change your thinking, and you will use feedback or criticism as a chance to learn, re-adjust and become even better in the future.

Fear of Not Being Valued – although you may need constant validation that what you are doing is valuable, people who are highly confident don’t always feel the need to express appreciation because high-level work is an expectation. Instead of allowing this to cause you to become dysfunctional, build the kind of relationships with peers that allow you to become comfortable in checking-in to ask where you can add more value to them personally. It’s a much stronger approach and makes YOU look stronger as well.

Since fear and insecurity will always exist, we must learn to continuously balance these with confidence and capability. You know you’re good, that is why you are there in that role, being a functional expert and a fabulous leader. Get out of your own head and look at all you’ve accomplished. Again, we all have this baggage...but you must learn to limit it to a carry-on!