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  • Pearce Cucchissi

Increasing Workplace Performance by Modifying Fear

We can come into the workplace with the perfect plan, the newest approach, technology, education, but with a negative relationship with the biggest human barrier, our professionals will never perform to the highest level.

Fear follows us to our desk, to our homes, out in nature, and in our beds, because it is part of us. A natural human element to survival, we cannot escape but we can modify our relationship to it and change the way we operate for performance and ultimately satisfaction.

No one is without some element of fear, even the seemingly fearless community of special operations soldiers interact with fear in many ways. There’s the obvious dangers of training and combat, but there is also fear of rejection from the tribe, judgement, vulnerability etc. Some of us are better than others at dealing with these fears, the key is in awareness and then in action.

In a life threatening situation fear can be paralyzing, those who can operate under these conditions have been able to recognize the thoughts and physical symptoms associated, and have built a practice of altering thought and focus to change how we react in the situation. This seems to be more difficult when it comes to social, public, or monetary issues, much of which we see in the world of business today.

Fears of losing our safety net, of saying what we really feel, of making a difficult phone call, of making a risky move, run rampant throughout the clients we have seen. Typically where we find the most resistance is a direct sign of what is holding us back and is where we need to examine our relationship to that resistance. If we can successfully break through, that is where we find the most results.

Bring this culture to your team.

  1. Take time to reflect on where you felt resistance or fear during the workday.

  2. Work on becoming more and more aware of these situations in the moment so that immediate action can be taken.

  3. Take a 3rd person look at the situation to remove your emotional response and make your next action with logic. This emotional response is influenced by past experiences or fears based on a projected negative unknown situation.

  4. Reframe your thought process and engage with the resistance. This is how we change our relationship with fear, and each time we do this it has less of an effect on us.

  5. Reflect once again on how you used a specific process to greatly increase performance, confidence, and satisfaction.

The consequences of not engaging with this process cause employees to become stuck in mental and emotional patterns that don’t coincide with performance. When this happens under stressful situations, our brains learn to react a certain way, making change in the future more difficult. We understand this in the forms of extreme PTSD, where neurons in the brain wire together a certain way under extreme stress, but no one thinks about how the way they think and behave towards certain situations is the same as PTSD, just at a different level of intensity. This is something that should be taught in the beginning of our careers.

As leaders we can affect the culture of an organization by shifting towards understanding the mental and emotional resilience and wellbeing of our team. Teach them to bring accountability into the workplace, show them how to solve for feeling engaged, confident, empowered, proud by understanding what actions they need to take to do so.

By pushing towards feeling a certain way each day we can make radical shifts in the way we operate and interact. This process has brought success to our clients in professional athletics, business, and the military.

To chat about implementing this philosophy with your team, connect via email with

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