I attended a great conference with jewelers from around the U.S. in July, the Jewelers of America National Convention.

Judi Holler, credit Bard GorinThere were very interesting panels on sustainability and the reinvention of retail, plus a keynote with Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report, about his predictions for the 2020 election. One of the speakers addressed a topic that really interested me: Fear. The speaker, Judi Holler, presented on her book called Fear Is My Homeboy: How to Slay Doubt, Boss Up, and Succeed on Your Own Terms.

Many women (including me) suffer from the kind of fear she talked about, which often keeps us from achieving our goals – or sometimes, even trying. Judi believes being “fearless” shouldn’t be the goal either personally or professionally. Instead, she suggests trying to “fear fear less”— and learn how to get comfortable with being scared. “Scary things will not get less scary,” she says. “Uncomfortable things will not become less uncomfortable. But you will get stronger… and if you want to move forward, you’re going to have to get uncomfortable.”

Here are a few of her specific tips for managing fear:

  • Do you fear networking events, and making small talk? Instead of just asking about a person’s work status or saying, “how are you?” – prepare some “Big Talk” questions, such as “are you working on anything exciting these days?” or “what was the highlight of the day for you?” I was able to put this advice to use the very next night at the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Awards for Excellence Gala, where distinguished women leaders were honored.
  • Are you fearful of technology or social networking? Just jump in! Start an Instagram page on that network you’ve heard everyone talking about. Then follow a bunch of your peers, friends, and business acquaintances. You’ll quickly learn the “lingo” by following others and seeing what they post.
  • Esther being interviewed at JA ConventionAre you scared you’re becoming irrelevant? Read a new book in your field – or do research on the Internet if you’re pressed for time. Just google a topic you know nothing about – and you’ll be amazed at the number of experts who’ve written about it.
  • Terrified that work is eating your life? Schedule yourself an hour a day for “yourself.” This may feel impossible at first, but the personal time centers you. It also allows your brain to rest, so when you get back to “work” – you’ll have more energy and focus. (Full disclosure: This is hard for me!)
  • Constantly fearing what could go wrong? First, focus on what could go right! Imagining success really does help. Or, imagine the worst-case scenario – you survive, right? I put this tip to use right away when I was interviewed live on camera at the conference!

That’s conquering fear, in a nutshell. I found a few great “nuggets” that will help fuel my forward motion – with less fear!