7 Ways to Rise Above Feelings of Intimidation
Intimidation is different from being afraid of heights. It’s about the self.
Intimidation is an evaluation of the self in comparison to others. Others have more experience, success, power, talent, good looks, or prestige.
By the way, there’s always someone better than you.
Feeling intimidated is feeling judged by others, even if they aren’t judging you.
Why it matters:
You live below your potential when intimidation controls you.
Yielding to intimidation leads to self-accusation. “I shouldn’t let someone intimidate me.” You can’t bring your best self when you’re beating yourself down.
7 ways to rise above feelings of intimidation:
#1. Respond to feelings. Don’t try to prevent them.
You can’t control feelings. You can control behaviors.
You feel helpless when you try to control something you don’t have power to control.
#2. Accept reality.
You FEEL intimidated. Guilt and self-accusation make matters worse.
#3. Don’t blame others for your feelings.
Others may intend to intimidate you but responding to intimidation is all about you.
#4. Ask WHAT, not WHY.
You move toward insecurity when you ask, “Why am I so intimidated?”
You move toward courage when you ask, “WHAT do I want to do when I feel intimidated?”
#5. Identify simple behaviors that reflect who you aspire to become.
Act with your values and best intentions in mind.
Grab an imperfect win and pat yourself on the back.
For example, offer a simple alternative to the boss. “I wonder if we might try XYZ as an alternative to ABC.”
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
#6. Talk it over with a trusted friend, mentor, or coach.
It’s an act of courage to say, “I feel intimidated.”
#7. Expose yourself to intimidating situations or people.
You can’t rise above fear by running from it.
Exposure to fear strengthens courage.
There’s no magic formula that makes rising above intimidation comfortable.
How might leaders rise above feelings of intimidation?
Having access to a mentor or coach can help equipped one with tools to deal with intimidation as they arise. I think as one is committed to being a lifelong learner there will always be intimidating situations.
If you are being intimidated, listen to your instincts (see Dan’s posts last week). If you feel the intimidation is moving into genuine fear, get out. Loons and predators are (thankfully) rare but they do exist!
Step back and get a little perspective. I had to do this recently following a business rejection. I recommend reading “Rejection Proof” by Jia Jiang.
We develop courage through our own challenges in life, know your boundaries strengths and weaknesses, if you fear something make an effort to concur it, start small and eventually you begin to eliminate fear.
At work and in social situations where you may feel intimidated take time to silently review your successes, your unique talents and your own sense of self worth. Make time to write your talents in a daily journal along with a message of all of the times when you have demonstrated courage with others. Realize that everyone, even the people you feel are strong and always confident have moments of self doubt. Every evening before going to sleep and every morning upon awakening remind yourself of areas in your life for which you feel grateful.