We are launching a new series on owning your own fear. It is what binds our business together and is at the very heart of what we do.
The ownership of fear is vitally important in the way that you lead, build teams, make decisions and solve problems. I learned this very early on in my career and it has spurred me on to conquer my fears and to attain top positions in the music industry, Higher Education and more recently in my own company’s business environment.
My fear has always been that of failure and I think that the main element that spurred me on to face my fears over the years was very early in my life.
I had a teacher in the last year of Junior School called DC Durham, he was a bully and used fear to keep us under control.
I remember staying up at night to remember my times tables as the Head would stand as we all walked across the hall in the morning and shout out our name and give us a multiplication sum. If you got it wrong it was curtains. I played soccer for the first XI but DC used to substitute me even if I did OK and I hated this.
I was fairly average at school but I could draw and after scoring very low in all subjects, much the pleasure of DC, he read out the marks for art. He held up my drawing and said “Kemp, ten out of ten”. I was astonished and then he turned to face me and said, “If a mug like Kemp can get top marks, it doesn’t say much for the rest of you”.
This burned into me but instead of being upset I vowed that I would make him eat his words. I worked hard and eventually gained enough A Levels to go to College.
After becoming a member of one of the top rugby First XV College sides in the UK, I went back to the school to see him. He was no longer the ogre that I thought and I had a long conversation with him about how I felt.
Confronting DC and seeing his fallibilities I understood that anyone can make anything of themselves and that behind the façade of fear is a very ordinary, small minded person.
Throughout my career, I have worked with people like myself who had similar fears and could not own them and I made it my quest to support everyone I could through this type of situation.
In my business today I find that with both my staff and clients, there are a number of elements which dispel people’s fears.
The first is gaining peoples trust, the second is being honest and having integrity and the third is the ability to change your mind when others come up with better ideas.
In this way confrontation is reduced, co-creation is enhanced and quality business partnerships are created. It is all about people and how you work with them.
As well as being your greatest resource to nurture they need to be your most loyal supporters.