“If you’re not afraid, then you don’t really know what leadership is all about.” These were words I remember one of my mentors telling me over 15 years ago when I wanted to grow in my career but fear was holding me back.

He was right, not only is leadership difficult but at times it can be scary too. One mistake, if it’s big enough, can end your dreams of becoming a great leader.

My mentor then told me “it’s okay to be afraid, but you have to harness that energy and overcome those fears if you are to become a great leader”.

Truth is, everybody has fears—and that means every leader has fears. But not letting those fears get the best of you is an important part of successful leadership. If you don’t learn to manage your fears, you’ll be tempted to take the kind of shortcuts that undermine your authority and influence.

Over the course of my 12 years in leadership, here is how I overcame my fear of being a leader to achieve my full potential.