“Someone else might be better…”
“It’s just too soon.”
“I have too much left to learn.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready.”
It’s true—a top ranking leadership position won’t necessarily be the best fit for everyone, and choosing to pursue a leadership position is a highly personal decision.
But I’ve seen many people back away from great leadership opportunities out of fear. The statements above, though masquerading as neutral, are actually negative. They almost always mask insecurity and a desire to avoid the challenges that come with leadership.
Statements like these are fear talking.
Nine times out of ten, the fear is telling you a bullshit story—yet you believe it.
The first step in becoming a fearless leader is recognizing your own value.
Dharmesh Shah, cofounder and chief technology officer of HubSpot, believes that one of the qualities of truly confident people is their inclination to think, “Why not me?” rather than sit on their hands and wait for an opportunity that never comes.
If you’ve found your way to this blog, it’s likely that you’re already thinking about leadership in a serious way, and that you’ve displayed courage to get to where you are in your career now.
To get to the next step up, you’ll need a new level of courage. And that might mean giving off the appearance of courage until you actually believe it.
When preparing for Aviation Officer Candidate School, I probably looked like I had it together. Thanks to my pre-Olympic training and time as a three-time varsity letter winner on the University of Wisconsin rowing team, I knew I could perform physically, and I had a solid academic record, too. But I still wondered if I might be good enough. I had to give myself permission to lead—permission to believe that I was good enough, permission to fly in the face of fear.
So, if you want to be a leader, you must take this first step: Summon the courage to know that you can be a leader.
Everyone is scared some of the time, and the leaders who do succeed are those who choose to believe they’re just as worthy of a leadership role as the next guy. They know that fear, at least initially, doesn’t disqualify them from leadership.
They put their fear aside, and they ask “Why not me?”
Carey Lohrenz is the author of the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck.”, a motivational speaker and leadership expert.
Carey has flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot. Her extensive experience operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments, an aircraft carrier, and her unique position as one of the first female combat pilots make her the perfect opening or closing inspirational keynote speaker for your corporate meeting or conference.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the Pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is the mother of four kids, and is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.