What happens when you are afraid

Over the weekend, I was coaching a very talented young woman, who was preparing for an assessment centre at a large global audit firm.  She told me that she had failed her previous assessment centre with another company, because, during the group exercise, she had not contributed much.

I asked her to tell me a little more, and she explained that she had, in fact, been able to lead the group from the outset, establishing an agreed approach to the problem in hand.  I was pretty impressed by this first fact, as the company’s evaluators would have been too, no doubt at all.

She then explained that during the work they all did, using her approach, she became afraid that she would make a mistake: “there were a lot of numbers to remember, and I was afraid I would forget one, or get it wrong, so I just did not really speak up”.  BIG MISTAKE!

Fearing getting something wrong and therefore doing nothing is not going to get you very far ahead in life.  If someone is in the street when you pass, and they appear to be dying or very sick: will you fear doing something wrong and walk past?  Or will you stop and try something, anything you can, to help?

If you do not try, you cannot succeed.  If you do not take the risk of helping save that life, or speaking up in a group, you cannot possibly create a result of any kind.  The event will just go on without you. The moment “Zoe” decided not to speak up because of fear, she had failed that assessment centre!

So, we worked on this question for a while:

  1. what did you really have to fear?
  2. how was this exercise really any different from group work that you do daily/weekly at uni?
  3. why did it feel so risky and scary for you?
  4. were you in fact already able to remember/manage SOME of the numbers/facts?
  5. could you have done what was required, if you had been brave enough to open your mouth?

And so on… and you can imagine that her answers showed her that this special exercise in the context of a recruitment is not much different from situations she meets every day!  There is no need for fear if you are well prepared and can find your confidence!

BecomingGlobal, with its monthly articles which go into greater detail about how to beat fear, find the best techniques and approaches, may be of help to those of you who need preparation for this kind of recruitment path.  It will help any or all of you who are planning study or a professional life away from home!

Please tell me about your worst fears and how you have beaten them!  I read every answer!