Embrace Fear, Don’t Fear It

fearOne of my shortcomings is that way too often, I look at what I haven’t done yet. Worse still, I find myself wishing I could do all of it “right-now-or-in-the-near-future!”

I haven’t:

  • been outside the United States.
  • found something I’m good enough at doing to be paid well to do it.
  • overcome my social anxieties enough to approach some of the people I most want to meet. (I even have trouble approaching people I already know.)
  • gotten out of debt.
  • fully gotten back on track with my eating and exercise habits.
  • accomplished anything significant post-college.

It eats at me. Every minute I think about it, I lose two minutes. It snowballs into thinking about what I want to do, which is just as jumbled of a list.

That sort of vicious cycle keeps me down. Negativity begets negativity, making it easy to lose focus on my goals and developing the (few) skills I actually have into something great.

Why am I telling you all this?

First of all, it’s good to get your fears and insecurities out in the open. Putting feelings of fear into words actually helps reduce the level of fear you feel.

Doing this also allows others to help you overcome those fears. (Cough, cough.)

Putting everything on paper or in words gives you the ability to address it point by point, and create action steps to deal with each problem.

This is easier for some people than others. I know I’d love the help of someone to guide me along and keep me accountable, but you… you might be just fine at tackling everything yourself. Or you might need half a dozen people keeping you honest.

The same concepts apply to wellness programming, especially when your company has no clue what it wants to do, what it actually will do, what its employee health stats are, how to structure incentives, if the program will save money long-term…

The list of paralyzing fears grows longer for every extra minute you think about them.

That’s why having “air it all out” meetings prior to launching a wellness program is so important.

Have one for senior executives. They can air out all their fears about investing in the program and whether it’ll actually save money.

Have one for middle managers. They’ll tell you if they think it’ll be a problem for their departments in some form.

Have one for the general employee base. Go department by department if you have to. They’ll wonder what costs will be added, what rewards will be given, what they’ll (not) be allowed to do, and what the higher-ups will be doing.

Even better, give each employee a piece of paper to anonymously write down the fears they don’t want to talk about in the open.

Get those fears down on paper. Contemplate each one seriously with your wellness team and think of ways to tackle each one. Address as many as you can as well as you can.

Send out a “Question & Answer about Fears” (QAF, not FAQ!) that discusses the answers to each problem, even if the answer is “we don’t know yet” or “we’re working on it.” (But make sure you get the answer quickly! Nothing’s worse than being given the run-around.)

That level of honesty can provide the foundation for trust in the program. More trust means more engagement, participation, and satisfaction, all of which give your wellness program a bright future.

Does your company welcome fear? How? Share your experiences in the comments.

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