"Anxiety is practicing failure in advance." \u2013\u00a0Seth Godin\n\nA big part of my leadership coaching practice deals with helping executives conduct job searches. Some of my clients are in transition and some of them are looking to get out of their current organizations. Many of them are C-level executives or leaders of teams of varying sizes and complexity. They work \u2014 or worked for \u2014 a myriad of companies and non-profits in all kinds of "verticals."\nBut no matter how senior and accomplished some of them may be or rapidly ascending the corporate as others are, they all share one common attribute:\nF \u2013 E \u2013 A \u2013 R.\nWhat is fear?\n\u201cFear,\u201d as Frank Herbert wrote in his sci-fi classic, Dune, \u201cis the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.\u201d Fear prevents otherwise ambitious and successful executives from reaching out to former colleagues or mentors whom they haven\u2019t spoke with in years. Fear causes people to postpone their job searches for weeks or months because it\u2019s the summer or Christmas season or the election or February or... well, you get the idea.\nIn my study of the subject and experience coaching leaders I\u2019ve come to think of fear as a maladaptation; a bug, if you will, in our operating systems left over from our days learning to survive in small clans on remote and incredibly hostile savannas. Our triune brain (AKA, "the lizard brain") evolved, in part, to help us avoid actions that could lead to consequences far, far worse than a rejection from an old friend or a headhunting firm (like banishment from the clan followed by death from starvation or a\u00a0saber-toothed tiger).\nNone of us, I believe, can completely eliminate fear. It\u2019s an ancient, emotional response that isn\u2019t going away any time soon. But if we\u2019re conducting a job search, for example, there are some practical actions that can help us co-exist or even dance with it. Here\u2019s a sample from my job search program that you or a friend can deploy:\nPractical actions and the right mindset\n\nPay it forward. Everyone you contact (friend, colleague, ex-boss, whomever) has a work issue or "pain point" that they\u2019d like to resolve. Make the effort to ask questions. Demonstrate a sincere interest in the other person\u2019s welfare and you might be able to help them out of a jam. If you\u2019re in "help them" instead of "help me" mode, you\u2019ll feel more empowered (and less afraid) to make the call.\nYour process will be your friend.\u00a0Goals are great but processes and systems are even better. You\u2019re successful in large part because you\u2019re disciplined and organized. As I tell my coaching clients, \u201cIf your company deserved your best program\/project planning skills then doesn\u2019t your career?\u201d Your relationships and contacts are your CRM. Upload your LinkedIn contacts on a spreadsheet and make it your business to contact a certain number every day, no matter how good or bad you may feel.\nYou\u2019re preparing for your next job.\u00a0Every manager or coach in sports finds him or herself between gigs at some point in their careers. The best of them use the time between jobs to aggressively network. Why? Because they\u2019re building their talent and ideas pipelines in preparation for their next assignment! Whether you\u2019re interviewing for a company in need of a transformation or a "steady pair of hands," strategic networking during your job search means you\u2019ll be that much sharper and better prepared in your next role.\n\nAnd, last but not least, maintain your sense of humor\n\nWTF. Contacting people in your network will not expose you to life-threatening danger. Keeping a sense of humor about this leg of your career will help you connect with people much more productively and sincerely. So, get yourself a 3-by-5 index card, write those three letters on it and remember to keep it handy.