Erica Pinsky



Be the Leader of Your Life

This article was featured on home page on November 29, 2008. On that date, Erica was featured as the daily inspirational luminary.
This article, along with an interview with Erica, are featured on the site at

Have you ever felt powerless or victimized? Have you ever been so filled with fear that you are almost paralyzed?


I have. When my husband died in May 2002, leaving me to run my consulting business and raise our five year old daughter on my own, I was terrified.


All of us feel fear. Sometimes fear can help keep us and those we love safe. More often, however, fear can imprison us. It can keep us trapped in a mindset of negativity and doubt. For the next couple of minutes I’d like you to think about fear – and whether it is holding you back or empowering you.


I work with employees who have experienced disrespectful behaviour like discrimination, harassment, and bullying at work. These targeted individuals often think things will get worse if they speak out. Despite name calling, sarcastic remarks, yelling, public humiliation, or racial slurs, victims often choose to remain silent. Their fear of "what might happen if" keeps them trapped in a bad situation and prevents them from taking action to improve their lives.


Often, rather than facing our fears, we look outside ourselves, and blame what is happening to us on others, or on things we "can’t control." We question why this is happening to us. We find excuses to justify our lack of action. A cycle of powerlessness and victimization begins.


The reality is that unexpected, unwanted and frightening situations happen to all of us. The question, is what choice will we make when we are faced with those situations? Will we allow fear to rule our choices and, by extension, our lives?


I was terrified when David was diagnosed with cancer. When he died my world became a black hole of grief, pain…and fear. And yet today I am thriving, as are my daughter and my business. I know I am living my life’s purpose, working to create respectful, profitable workplaces where people move from victimization to empowerment.


David’s death forced me to face with my worst fears and when I did, I realized that no matter what the situation, we are never powerless. We have the power to choose our reaction to what happens to us. The choices that we make each and every day really do determine the reality and the quality of our lives. We create the lives we want when we face our fears and choose actions that will empower and support us.


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." I have discovered incredible power, resilience and adaptability within myself. I believe we can all find the life force and spiritual energy within to sustain us in whatever frightening challenges we have to face.

Is fear holding you back? Is it preventing you from making choices that support and empower you? Today is the day to make a different choice. Choose to be the leader of your life. Conquer your fears and discover the greatness that lies within you.

Pinsky’s writing style makes this book an easy read for managers, decision-makers, human resource professionals and business owners and anyone else interested in building a respectful workplace. She provides tangible advice interwoven with the stories of real organizations who demonstrate on a daily basis the value of promoting a respectful workplace. Pinsky ensures that readers can glean from the book information they need to take action. A respectful  workplace culture is a road “paved” over time with trust and support; and Pinsky’s book provides the tools you need to arrive at your destination.

Catherine M. Mattice
President, Civility Partners, LLC & SME on Workplace Bullying