Fear and Professionalism


Fear in the workplace. It's something we all might experience at one point or another to varying degrees. Perhaps it is your first week in a new role and you are suffering from the dreaded Imposter Syndrome, or you are standing by yourself at a professional networking event and would rather walk out the front door than approach a stranger. It is often something that happens when you are out of your comfort zone, experiencing something new or possibly have a phobia.

I have experienced several of these situations over the past two months in my new role, but the fear is often what drives me forward and I was in those situations by choice. The only way to break the cycle of fear is to confront it head on. In the past two months I have given a guest lecture to undergraduate university students, attended my first conference (NLS8) and have taken on a new role in my organisation that sees me engaging with people a lot more than my previous role. All of these opportunities have been exciting, daunting and sometimes fear inducing, but I am tackling them head on with the knowledge that it will be that little bit easier the next time I am in that situation.

Some of the big takeaway themes from NLS8 was "do something" and "say yes" to as many opportunities as you can. Public speaking has never been a strong point for me but I have found that when speaking about topics I am passionate and knowledgable about that the only thing I am fearful of is my actual speaking and presentation abilities. The only way to improve these skills is to just do it! Practice makes perfect. My aim this year is to take every opportunity available to speak and present. It is the only way I can gain confidence in my abilities and push the fear of public speaking aside.


This post is my contribution to the GLAM Blog Club June 2017 theme: "Fear".

Cover image credit: Uilen op een tak, Theo van Hoytema, 1873 - 1917. Rijksmuseum. http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.248039

Matthew Burgess

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