Sweden has diverse opportunities for people from all walks of life and around the world. However, despite the condusive working environment and presence of all the basic amenities, expatriates who join the working life in Sweden may have to face fears that come up due to such a huge life change.
Fear can shutter big dreams and prevent you from utilizing your capabilities optimally. It can also make you fail in areas that you may have competence. Here are 8 ways you can overcome fear when starting a new job in Sweden.
1. Define your fear
People are afraid of many things but often cannot pinpoint what is that that they are afraid of. However, a good way to fight fear is to describe your fear. From this point, you can then work on the cause of the fear and look for ways to fight this fear.
How do you define the fear?
Get a piece of paper and list down everything that you fear about the new job. It could be that you fear to fail in your new responsibility, falling out with your boss, not being able to connect with other staff or just the fear of the unknown. Then, take a moment to dig deep to every fear.
Are you afraid of the new responsibility because you had been branded a failure in your youth, have you had past relationships that failed, and now you think you cannot get along with everyone else? Why do you fear the unknown? The answers to these questions will help you fight fear fast.
2. Get a positive mindset
We become what we train our minds to believe. If you believe that you are headed for failure, you are most likely not going to succeed. This also applies to your new job in Sweden. You have to make your mind believe that everything is going to work out right. A positive mindset will give you the confidence to face your responsibilities and work on them competently.
One way you can create a positive mindset is by creating a positive affirmation to every fear that you hold. Do you fear not getting along well with your immediate boss? Tell your mind that he or she is the best boss and you will achieve more when you work with him. Affirmations should be written as positive action word starting with ‘I’. Here is an example, “I will hit my monthly sales target by the end of the third week”.
In addition, associate your mind with positive stories of people who have made it in the position you are in the past. Use such stories to motivate yourself to reach for success in what you do.
3. What triggers your fear?
What are the cues that trigger your fear? It could be certain experiences, people, memories or words. Do you see any of the triggers around you? Is there a way you can deal with the triggers so as to avoid them or eliminate them?
Start by listing down any triggers that remind you of your failures and fears. Some could be at home or the workplace. Then see which you can eliminate. It could be a desk setup that reminds of the failed job, certain attire that reminds you of the rejection at the workplace or even electronics at home. For those triggers that you can neither avoid nor eliminate, rename them in your mind to represent the exact opposite to what they meant in the past. Burning the list containing your fear triggers in the open fire also has a therapeutic effect on your perception of the fear triggers.
4. Identify the challenges that stand in your way to success
Engage your mind in looking out for things that may hinder your access to success. There could be a few genuine challenges or potential ones that could be preventing you from making that broad step up your career ladder.
If you are an expatriate, it could be a new culture that you were not used to. Language barriers, having a hard time settling down or your body has not acclimatized to the new environment. Tackle each of the challenges on its own. Handle the greatest and most inhibiting obstacles at the start and then handle others as you move along with your job. There may never be a time when you will not have some problems in your career life. However, you can still reach your success by handling each obstacle as it comes your way.
5. Get a mentor
One way to overcome fear is to learn from people that have been there and done it. You must be willing to learn too if the plan has to succeed. When you get to your new job, forge a good working relationship with one of the colleagues in your department or a senior and learn from them. You will not lack someone that is willing to teach the loops and tricks of the game.
There are organizations that have a voluntary mentorship program. In the program, certain individuals are tasked with the responsibility of bringing others up in their various areas. Join such programs at the workplace. You will be amazed by the speed at which you get to do your work without fear and the competencies that you gain along the way.
Apart from the mentorship program, open your mind to learning the company culture, the flow of communication, the kind of customers that the company deals with (even if you are not working in the sales or customer service departments, the customers influence how you work) and the unwritten rules of the workplace.
6. Get ambitious
Ambition is one of the biggest and most power motivators that you can utilize to achieve more at your new workplace. What do you want to achieve within a year in the new position? How do you plan to improve your life and that of your loved ones with this position? What is your long-term vision for your career? What do you want to grow into?
Use your ambition to create long-term and short-term goals regarding your new job. You can then break down your goals to monthly targets and weekly targets. Working for a cause helps your mind to remain focused on the goal and think less of the things that you fear.
You are most likely going to be given targets an individual or part of a team. Make your target a little tougher than what you get at the workplace. However, avoid setting ambitions that are over the roof. These are hard to achieve and will only cause you to get more frustrated. On the other hand, if you have problems with the set targets by the company, talk to your immediate managers about your problems hitting your targets.
7. Become a team player
You will agree that most of the fears are individual and deep down your mind. Luckily, most of the work will be done as part of the team. This means that there is someone who will cover for the weakness that you perceive to have. The good thing with a team is that it gives space to make use of the competencies and knowledge with others to achieve your goals. It is also a good opportunity to learn from others especially if you are new to the particular position.
Become a team player at the workplace. You will be getting assistance when you are stuck at one are of the job. The ability to feel supported by team members fights off a large part chunk of your new job fears. The greatest achievers in the world of business and science are those who work with a team.
8. See yourself as competent for the position
The greatest fear in the new job is the fear of failure. You are in this new office and are expected to do X in this given time. Remind yourself why you are there.
You were selected from a group of hundred or tens of other candidates to take up the new position. So you are the best person for the job. Those who selected you have faith in you and want to see you succeed in what you do. There are resources in place to help you flourish in your new responsibility.
Remember the excitement that you had when you received the appointment letter. Keep this fire burning in you. Shed off the fear because everyone feels that you can do this.
Remember that you do not have to know everything. Ask for help or time to figure out what needs to be done. This creates confidence in you and your colleagues.
There will always be fear at the workplace whether in Sweden or elsewhere. It is normal. It even works to get us working harder and smarter. However, fear should not prevent you from achieving your dreams. Just as George Addair puts it, “everything you ever wanted in life is on the other side of fear.”
You might enjoy our article on 3 Super Easy Workday Tweaks for A Better Life in Sweden
Knowledge and tools: The keys to succeed in a new country
Moving across borders to a new job is a major life change. It’s important to know how to avoid culture shock and make it a positive experience. With proper preparation, it’s transforming. We all have it in us, but we need support.
That’s why we created NIM.MERSION’s Expat Success: Professional Inspiration course.
The videos and worksheets in this course will help unlock each employee’s magic potential.