Fear. We have all felt it. That prickly sense through our body when uncertainty lurks ahead. We ask ourselves, “Should we make this change?”

Over time, many leaders come to understand this feeling to be a fear of the unknown. The feeling something negative may happen or even failure before one begins. Once a decision to change is planted in a leader’s mind, even before beginning the journey there is a mental discussion about the perceived outcome. Yet good leaders realize there are only two choices to be made: move forward or turn away.

I will admit there have been times as a leader when I turned away. I did not step up to face the situation, walked away, and told myself the decision was correct. I sold myself on why turning away was best. As I look back on many of those instances, I am not sure it would have been better moving forward but I often wonder why I turned away.

Leaders must realize this fear of the unknown or fear of potential failure manifests itself based on the lack of confidence in the skills you or your team possesses. Questions continue to be asked, “Are we trained enough to perform to the level needed?” This lack of confidence can be debilitating.

Fear is a Signal Change is Upon You

Any new success, personal or business, cannot be achieved by turning away. Leaders must reverse engineer the desired outcome and plan on what actions need to happen in order to succeed. Then one can adapt or train more as needed. No one can predict or map out a perfect future. Life is not perfect and it mocks us when anyone tries to manage it fully.

Each day there are choices to be made to move businesses forward. Maybe the fear is not so overwhelming for some issues, but we cannot choose to turn away from things we feel are difficult.

As a leader you face a situation where an employee is not performing well but you know the discussion may get a little heated so you turn away. Maybe there is a decision to partner with another company or enter a different industry vertical. All of these choices cannot be perfectly mapped out. Leaders can embrace the challenge or not, but ignoring the issue or putting off the decision will not make the issue go away. It may grow into something larger the next time it needs to be confronted.

When leaders embrace the fear and with continued practice, real confidence will grow to offer security when they have to confront the unknown.

Training and Education Will Build Your Confidence

Today, the most successful businesses understand training and education are important to help their team be prepared when fear sets in. They arm them with the skills to keep moving forward, not to turn away. They strategize and plan, filling in the gaps they see in their preparation for the new challenge. What these leaders fear most is actually the opposite of the unknown. They fear complacency and comfort with their current performance.

Life can be tough and challenges will be hard. Allowing training and effort be applied to what is in front of us will strengthen the confidence muscle so businesses can achieve all they should.

Don’t allow lack of planning, training or education create obstacles that seem more than they are.

Leaders: don’t turn away from challenges. Take a deep breath and keep moving forward.

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Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.