Anne is an organizational psychologist and leadership coach with a sub-specialty in women’s leadership. Executives who lead company-wide diversity initiatives work with Anne to address cultural issues and unconscious gender bias. She also coaches women (and men) to realize, and enjoy, their greatest potential.
Beyond Anne’s educational credentials and the amazing business results she gets with high tech and other corporate clients, she’s mastered what being a “Fearless Female” is really about: conquering the fear of fear.
Fearless Females Forum: 5Cs with Dr. Anne Perschel
“Fear is your friend, but she cannot lead the way. Get in front.”
1. What’s the most courageous decision you’ve made?
- Exiting the field of education and entering high tech
- Getting married
- Having a child/becoming a parent
- Going to graduate school when our son was 2
None of these decisions seemed courageous at the time. Had I really thought them through carefully, weighed the pros and cons, I may not have leaped. Passion for what’s on the other side instigates the leap. Faith in yourself helps you land.
2. What choices are most important to you?
The choices I make on a daily basis to do what’s right, at that moment in time and in that situation, given the way I want to affect people, the world around me, and myself.
- What fears have you conquered?
I have conquered the fear of fear.
I don’t like looking over the edge of a cliff. I don’t even look at others when they do it. So our eight-day white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, which included hiking, was not only beautiful; it was challenging. It’s also where I learned about leading fear.
I loved the thrill of white water. I’m a swimmer, not a climber. On one of our day hikes we confronted a ledge so narrow that it required sidestepping. Our faces were smack up against the canyon wall. Slowly, I inched along step by careful step. I was about 1/3 of the way across when I TURNED MY HEAD AND LOOKED DOWN INTO THE ABYSS. Then…I froze, stuck nose to the wall, in fear. I could not move back. I could not move forward. The group was no longer in sight. I may have been there for seconds or minutes, but it seemed like hours.
Then… She arrived. My hero. My savior. A gentle, strong and solid voice from deep within, “There is no courage without fear. Fear is your friend, but she cannot lead the way. Get in front. Take her by the hand. Guide her across the ledge. She trusts you. She’ll follow you.” Slowly and steadily my legs began to move.
I am eternally grateful for that ledge and the lessons learned there. To have courage is to face fear. You can’t reason with fear. You can only comfort her.
4. What conversation made the most impact on you?
It’s hard to choose just one. I think of change as a journey of accumulated experiences. People ask about “the moment”, but that moment doesn’t happen without all the moments that came before it.
I once had the privilege of hearing Maya Angelou speak, in person. She said something that jolted me. “We are all human being, nothing human can be alien to us.” This includes bold and courageous actions of people like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Malcolm X, and it includes horrific acts of violence and injustice.
Our humanity is filled with paradox. That paradox requires understanding and compassion.
- What do you want women to get clear about?
We are skilled and graceful.
The world needs what we have to offer.
No one is going to open the door and carry us across the threshold, so we can get where we want to be and contribute what we have to offer.
Push the door open and go forward – boldly and with grace.
Believe in what you want to put in the world and in your ability to put it there.
Our gratitude, Anne, for sharing your wisdom and being a conquer-your-fear inspiration!
Are you a Fearless Female ready to have the spotlight shine on you? Calling All Fearless Females tells you how to share your story.