A one minute guide to overcoming your fears

AML MD Tim Lloyd used to have a fear of flying. Now he runs a fear of flying course.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 29 Aug 2019

The idea of overcoming your fear is easier said than done, especially in business when it can feel like your job and your team's livelihoods hang on your every decision. 

You’ve almost always got more margin for error than you think, but nevertheless there’s very few business leaders who can say they’ve never delayed a choice or missed an opportunity out of trepidation that it will fail, especially earlier in their careers.

The trick, says Tim Lloyd, is learning how to come to terms with your fears. In 1993 his anxiety about flying meant he couldn’t even step onto an aeroplane, but after attending a practical course he was not only able to overcome his fear, but even ended up running his own course to help others beat theirs. 

Now the MD of creative agency AML, he still applies the lessons he learned to his business leadership.

"Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people to lift their feet off the ground, ditch terra firma and, quite literally, head for the sky. And in so doing, I’ve learnt that people need practical, clear steps that can help them - as I did when overcoming my own fear of flying.

"From providing a safe environment where people can confront their fears, to the importance of reconnecting them with the purpose of challenging their fears, core elements of the ‘fear of flying’ training have made their way into our day-to-day practices at AML Group. 

"On a personal level, the breathing techniques I learned have enabled me to channel my nerves, giving me the tools to stand up in front of large groups of people and remain coherent. However, the biggest lesson I learned is to ensure that anyone feeling fearful should never feel alone.

"In business, our fear typically isolates us from our colleagues and peers, but it is actually only by coming together that we can successfully tackle the specifics of our individual situation. 

"Without a close-knit group that trusts one another the collaborative culture and success we’re all chasing will never become a reality. Facing our fears head on and encouraging others to do the same is both powerful and liberating."

Lloyd’s quick leadership tips for helping others overcome their "fears":

  1. It’s a process. Lay out practical and concise steps and use simple language 

  2. Create a culture that enables people to feel safe, without retribution for failure

  3. A problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t leave people to work on projects in isolation

Image credit: sdominick via Getty Images


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