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Fortitude Factors

by Dr. Linda Henman

When we silence the fears in our heads, we clear the way for more dispassionate, rational thinking. That allows us to shift from a fear mentality (there will never be enough) to one of fortitude (I have plenty, or at least enough) to be successful/ happy/respected/financially stable. A mindset shift leads to better calls, but it starts with replacing fear with fortitude.

  • A refusal to second-guess tough calls

Feeling guilt separates the normal among us from the sociopathic. But that conclusion doesn’t explain the debilitating effect guilt—or fear of guilt—can play in preventing us from making difficult decisions.Successful leaders learn not to blame themselves or others for failures—to accept them as a predictable way to learn and grow.

  • Resacralizing

Resacralizing demands the courage to rediscover value. Leaders who resacralize believe their own voices, take responsibility, and work hard to determine what’s right, not just what’s right now.

  • A quest for self-actualization—the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities—not a goal to overcome the competition

Allowing competitors, customers, or employees to draw the map of our life positions us to react in fear, when we should proactively create the playing field.

  • Originality

Imitation demands no special set of skills. Anyone can emulate, duplicate, or replicate. Innovation and uniqueness require the courage to go where no one has gone before, to explore the new frontier, to discover what can be, not just what has always been.

  • The philosophy that no matter what happens, you’ll figure it out

Bold leaders don’t express much interest in following the pact. They want to set the course with original thinking, which often means thinking on their feet. The ability to get to the core of complex, unfamiliar problems, zero in on the critical few factors, and quickly formulate solutions separates leaders of successful organizations from the also “also rans.”

  • Seeking the advice of trusted advisors

Successful leaders realize what got them here won’t get them there, wherever the next “there” happens to be. The hard-charging, self-reliant, win-at- all-cost mindset that once spurred the fear-driven manager to become a senior leader, can cripple the same person who aspires to reach higher.

  • Eschewing unsolicited feedback

Seeking advice and counsel takes a certain degree of courage; rejecting unsolicited feedback takes even more. People with a strong commitment to self-improvement often eagerly and misguidedly take what they can get in terms of advice, analysis, and assessment. They overlook the fact that, more often than not, that unsolicited feedback says more about the need for the giver to say it than the receiver to hear it.

  • A willingness to deconstruct success

Having coached hundreds of leaders for thousands of hours, I can tell you unequivocally that most people want to talk about their weaknesses more than they do their successes.Looking at and understanding the pieces that built the success does more to help people repeat successful behavior than any alternative.

Often fear prevents us from killing our sacred cows: fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of loss of control, and even fear of unpleasantness. These fears interfere with learning—causing a defensive reaction that puts the focus on others, not on the person who needs or wants to change. Even when people think they need to change, they prevent the requisite learning by allowing fear to intervene. The Fortitude Factors prevent the Fear Factors from taking over.


 

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