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Confronting and Overcoming Your Fears on Friday the 13th

Business leaders can’t go through their days worrying about making mistakes, but there have to be things they think about and make sure are done correctly.

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I’m neither triskaidekaphobic or even friggatriskaideskaphobic—did you know some people are afraid of all Friday the 13ths?—but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few things that creep me out.

I’m petrified of heights, although I’ve been able to overcome it on occasion to make it to the top of several historical buildings to (briefly) enjoy the lovely views. I even ate dinner at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle with my cousin about 20 years ago, but that was enclosed—although it did spin slowly.

I also don’t really like driving in Boston, which can occasionally become a problem when I can’t find an MBTA train or commuter rail station near wherever I need to go. In all honesty, I’d just rather avoid the traffic nightmare that always seems to be there if I can possibly help it.

Most of my fears in the last decade or so have centered on my daughter’s ability to do something new. The good news on that front is she’s an extremely confident young lady who isn’t really afraid of anything and embraces the idea of trying something she’s never done.

Then again, that can lead to me being afraid of what she’ll try next—and I guess that triggers fear about me being a good parent who does a good job of teaching her the difference between right and wrong. So far, so good, I guess, but there are lots of experiences and choices to come for her in life, of course.

Fear

Fear and Loathing in AV

My biggest work-related fear in my life came in the (admittedly brief, looking back at it now) three months between getting laid off from my job with a trade publication focused on architecture and engineering and getting hired to join the fledgling Commercial Integrator team in January 2011.

Day-to-day, I worry about getting something wrong in the stories I write, but I’m confident enough in my ability—and that of the editors who look over my work before it goes worldwide—that that’s not going to happen very often. Of course, I’ve made mistakes in my almost 25-year career, but not too many.

And I’m comforted in knowing that, when I do make my next mistake, I can work with the person who’s been affected by that mistake to quickly and effectively correct it as much as possible.

What keeps you up at night? Are you afraid of the number 13? Friday the 13th? Accidentally emailing or texting the wrong person with either sensitive or disparaging information about that person? Do you worry about where you’ll find the next big job?

How do you overcome that fear? How have your fears changed as you’ve gotten older and gained more experience in the business?

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