Do you value decisiveness and action more than not being wrong or making a mistake? How do you overcome your fear of failure or your fear of simply being wrong. Here’s how an Enneagram Type 5 leader did just that.
Fear of Being Wrong
Atychiphobia is the fear of being wrong, the fear of being told you are wrong, including the fear of failure. Enneagram Type 5s are acutely sensitive to not being wrong which can make it difficult for them to make decisions. Fortunately for Enneagram Type 5s, they have a connection to the confident decision making behaviors of Type 8 along their path of integration. Here’s how the 5 can access those behaviors.
Shades of Gray
Enneagram Type 5s see the world in shades of gray—rarely are things black and white to them. Seeing so many possibilities makes confident decision making just that much harder. Further compounding this is milder sense of urgency and focus more on the past than the future. Herein lies the key to confident decision making for the 5.
Enneagram Type 5s are expert at becoming experts. They will patiently study a topic going down all paths and permutations to analyze it from every possible angle. Over time, they become expert in any topic they set their mind to. Type 5s know the feeling of mastering a subject. They also know how they feel once they’ve reached the level of mastery. At that point, they become confident in their abilities to lead on that subject, which is the point when they are accessing confident Type 8 decision-making behaviors.
Logic versus Intuition
Enneagram Type 5s are in the Head Center of the Enneagram and use logic and reason to make decisions. They develop a confident intuition about a subject, like Type 8, as they master it. Knowing this about themselves, and by projecting themselves into the future, they can allow themselves to make decisions that lead to mastery, allowing themselves to make missteps along the way and forgiving themselves when they do. Once they arrive at mastery, others will see the success of the 5, mitigating any lingering feelings of regret they may harbor. In time, those feelings will subside. And once they’ve reached that level of mastery, they will be accessing confident decision making that they knew was within their reach all along.
How do you develop confidence in your decision making? Do you focus on subject mastery or does your intuition inform you? How do you handle and overcome missteps and mistakes? How do you embrace failure as a form of progress?
Do you value decisiveness and action more than not being wrong or making a mistake?
Sam was leading her team in a new direction and she needed to make some big decisions.
She’d produced this elaborate decision tree many branches deep.
She said, “We can use this to make decisions.”
Unlike some who rely on intuition, Sam relies on logic to guide her decision making.
She envied those who say the world in black and white—
For them, it seemed so easy to make decision.
And even if they were wrong they always seemed so confident.
For Sam, the world was not black and white. She saw many possibilities, many shades of gray.
And, with so many possibilities, it was difficult for her to be confident that she was making the right decision.
I reminded Sam that in 6 months she’d be expert in this new direction and all this agonizing would be behind her.
Without a word, I could tell that she understood and agreed.
At that future point, decision making would become easy. The challenge was navigating the short term to get to that point.
I suggested that she look to the confident decision makers in her life who she admired.
I asked her what would they do if they discovered they’d made a mistake.
And she told me this story:
She once had that super confident boss and everyone just followed her lead. Whenever Sam realized that the team may be headed in a bad direction, she would make a brief comment to the boss like, “You know ‘this or that’ could happen.”
And that’s all she’d say and she’d just wait.
Usually within 24 hours, her boss would change her mind and announce a new direction. And that would be it—no reflection, no apparent remorse or regret, just plowing ahead.
I asked her, “What can you take from that?”
And she said, “Well, my boss valued decisiveness and action more than not being wrong or making a mistake—mistakes were fine and just needed a course correction along the way.”
And with that, she looked down at her decision tree, circled a branch and said, “It’s time to get to action.”
How do you make decisions when things aren’t black and white? How do you overcome your fear of being wrong?
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