January 3, 2019 ・ Written by T.J. Duane

Fear of Reaching Out

FORO is real, but there are simple ways to overcome.

Fear of Reaching Out

I talk to folks all the time who are worried about reaching out and asking about job opportunities or for help with something. It’s understandable why we sometimes feel this way. We’ve all got a fear of what others might think, fear of admitting we don’t know what to do next. Fear of rejection is another potent ingredient in the mix. Nobody wants to be sent away or ignored completely in a moment of need.

All of this amounts to Fear of Reaching Out (I call it FORO, for short). And FORO is one of the single worst things that can happen to your career. It can prevent people from asking for a well-deserved raise. From looking for work elsewhere. From switching careers. FORO is a huge player in folks staying too long at the wrong job.

But the good news is, there are simple ways to shake yourself out of FORO. Here are a few:

Ask for feedback from a friend.

It can be helpful to chat up your most confident friend when you’re feeling FORO holding you back. You might simply ask them about how they have found jobs or gotten professional mentorship in the past. Chances are, they’ll have some instructive stories. They might even be able to offer good advice for your situation.

If you’re feeling nervous about your resume or your cover letter, ask for help from somebody you trust, who you know can give good constructive criticism. Their feedback can help you improve, and bolster your sense that you’re putting your best foot forward.

Set your email to send at a later time. Then, try to forget about it.

Feeling too nervous to hit “Send”? If you’re obsessing over every word in an email and can feel the hours slipping away, sometimes the best thing is to set it and forget it. Many email programs give you the option to send your email at a later time…in 3 hours, or a day, or at a specific date and time.

This can give you a cooling off period, where you know you can make edits if you need to before your communication heads off into cyberspace. Hopefully, you’ll chill out and forget about it in the meantime.

You won’t always need to trick yourself. Soon the satisfaction of getting more done (and getting more responses) will catch up with you.

Put it in perspective

Finally, remember that no single person holds the keys to your career. No opportunity or interview is truly make-or-break. It’s a big world out there, so you’ll probably do a lot of asking before you find the right fit.

Understand that the stakes on any cold application or inquiry are inherently low. You’re likely to be rejected, but also nobody’s doing it on purpose. Busy hiring managers have got a lot on their plates, and it’s truly nothing personal if they look you over.

It can be helpful to remember that there are a million ways to get somewhere good in your career, and in life. Losing out on one opportunity never equals losing it all.

If you’re feeling ready to reach out - go ahead and start making some new connections on BrightCrowd, where folks are ready to help you out.