Leadership Learning
core choices consulting
Meeting Clients by Appointment at:

477 Congress Street, Portland, ME
178 Harold Dow Highway, Eliot, ME
155 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, NH
15 Constitution Drive, Bedford, NH
(alternative locations routinelty utilized as well)
Contact Information:

Phone: 603.661.6254 or 207.370.1063
Fax:  888.708.2773
Email: admin@core-choices.com 
Mail:  PO Box 1550, Portsmouth, NH  03801
Robert Frost Wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
© 2010 Core Choices Consulting / Greg Fall.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without permission.

Taking Off Your Mask of Anxiety 
by Greg Fall

As authentic as we try to be, most of us find ourselves wearing an outer mask at times to “fit in,” “cope” with anxieties, “respond” to events of the moment, or “adapt” to certain shadow cultures at work, at home, or in society. It’s only natural to be concerned with our own professional and personal safety – both emotionally and from a job security standpoint. However, if we allow these masks of safety to stay on for too long – years in some cases – they can become masks of anxiety instead, calcified to the point where others start to believe we actually are the person who the mask projects. Of greater concern, this mask of anxiety may act as our own form of mirror, such that we also start to believe it – that the mask actually reflects our inner self and core being. As organizational leaders and HR professionals, it is our responsibility to first examine and deal with our own masks so that we can then help others with theirs.

Adapted from a coaching conversation with a client in 2009:

Client: “My armor is battle hardened!”
Coach: “How strong it must be!”
Client: “No one can hurt me!”
Coach: “Who are you protected from?”
Client: “From corporate, of course.”
Coach: “I hear you. Who else might you be protected from?”
Client: (after long pause) “Maybe … from … my self?”

You might consider a simple, 3 step process for dealing with your own mask(s) of anxiety and helping others to do the same:

Step 1: Name your anxiety so that you can deal with it and take some of its power away. Examine the anxiety which comprises the root of your mask – it could be: not being liked, not fitting in, speaking up in a group or around senior management, being misunderstood or criticized, experiencing something new, or hurting another person’s feelings.

Step 2: Remove your mask and deal with your anxiety. You could: create a symbol or image which relates to your mask, discuss your anxiety with someone “safe,” determine how your anxiety is a barrier to your success, identify the shadow cultures causing your anxiety and find alternative ways of coping, or find a way to use your anxiety as a motivator.

Step 3: Set goals for becoming more authentic and aware of your unique gifts. Make a plan with milestones and self check-ins and share with a friend on a regular basis to keep yourself honest. Allow yourself daily feeling and processing time as part of the plan and to ease the transition.

Give yourself and others the gift of your true self whenever possible. Access your beautiful and unique inner self and core to realize more choice, productivity, professional development, and happiness. Be true and kind to your self.