Joe Leech

Growth can only come when you move past fear

When asked about fear, most CEOs I work with deny experiencing it. But that’s not the whole answer.

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This denial usually indicates two scenarios: they are either genuinely not feeling fear, which can often signify boredom, or they are suppressing their fear, refusing to acknowledge it. However, it’s important to understand fear as a potential catalyst for growth, and there is a model that explain this process beautifully.

From Comfort Zone to Growth Zone

One compelling model is the transition from comfort zone to growth zone. In our comfort zone, everything feels familiar, safe, and pleasant. Although appealing, comfort zones can lead to stagnation. Beyond the comfort zone lies the fear zone. This area, while scary and challenging, pushes our boundaries and urges us to learn new skills.

When we venture into our fear zone, we often make excuses. Common statements include “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “I’m not sure if now’s the right time.” The fear zone can be influenced by external opinions and circumstances, leading us to frequently compare ourselves to others. This state usually reflects a lack of self-confidence.

Entering the Learning Zone: Leaning into Fear

Effective leaders understand that fear is a precursor to growth. They lean into this fear, transitioning into the learning zone, where they tackle challenges, acquire new skills, and expand their comfort zone. They develop new mindsets to become comfortable with previously intimidating situations, eventually transitioning into the growth zone.

Expanding the Comfort Zone: Embracing Growth

Consider this: I’m working with a CEO who leads an organisation of 200,000 employees. Five years ago, the thought of leading such a massive team would have terrified him. Today, he views it as a normal part of his role. His comfort zone has expanded significantly due to his willingness to face his fears and learn from them.

Fear as a Catalyst for Growth

Experiencing fear is not a flaw. It’s a sign that you’re venturing into new territory, which is often the precursor to growth. Identifying and understanding your fears, as well as the reasons behind them, can help you navigate through them effectively.

Fear, much like a rubber band, can pull you back to your comfort zone, but it can also propel you towards your growth zone. It’s important to experience, understand, and work through your fears to achieve progress and growth.

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I’m mr Joe and I help CEOs and their businesses thrive.

Success isn't incremental. It's a game of chutes / snakes and ladders; it's time to climb the ladders. I bring 15 years in tech, $20b in added revenue, experience with 30+ startups and FTSE / NASDAQ / Fortune 100 giants. Together we can do great things.

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