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Fear is Good

by on September 11, 2015

fearDid you know that Feeling Fear is a good sign?

Fear is good.  Fear tells us what we need to do.

The more scared we are of an action or project, the more sure we can be that we need to do it.

The more fear we feel indicates the level of importance to us.  If it wasn’t important we wouldn’t feel fear.

So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign.  It shows what you have to do.

Some people will do anything to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of fear.  If you’re one of those people you run the risk of never getting what you want in life.  Most of the good stuff requires taking a risk.  And the nature of risk is that it doesn’t always work out.

For me fear often shows itself as Rationalization.  Rationalization is a spin doctor for fear.  Rather than admitting that I’m afraid of something I come up with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why I can’t do something.

Of course the issues I come up with are true and legitimate:  the company’s budgets are tight so we shouldn’t start this project, or this is a big project and it will require hours of my time. or I’m too busy focused on this quarter to really look at where I want the company to go.

One of my biggest regrets is not trying out as a walk-on for the basketball team in college at the University of Michigan.  I was a decent player at the time, played pickup ball with members of the team, and I could hold my own.  But I rationalized that even if I made the team I’d be sitting on the bench the whole time, and paying for the privilege while the scholarship players got all the minutes.  That was probably true.  Very plausible.  So I didn’t even try out.

In truth I was afraid of being rejected and I felt safe in not knowing that.

But what if I had made the team?  How would that have felt?  Pretty great, and it would have done a lot for my confidence.  If I had at least tried out I would have felt better about myself and I would have found a way to deal with the rejection.  All I’m left with now is regret, and not even a good story.

Now I use the regret to fuel my actions.  Today I’d rather deal with the rejection than the regret.

Did you ever feel guilty because there is something you need to do but can’t get to it?  You may be too busy.  You may not have enough cash.  You may not know how to start.  All of it is true but you still feel bad anyway?  I get that way about writing my blog sometimes.

The thing is, once I start, once I commit, once I take action, that fear, resistance and guilt become energy.  I feel alive again.  And I’m ready to push on to my next goal.  And that leads me to my next challenge.

This action allows me to get from where I am to where I want to be, personally and professionally.

If I surrender to these fears and resistance, I live a life of underachievement.  I may be comfortable but I won’t be happy or fulfilled.  As long as you continue to take risks in making your dreams come true you’re going to be uncomfortable.

Waiting around for things to be “Just Right” is a recipe for failure because it’s never going to happen.  There is always going to be something creating resistance.

Only by doing things will I overcome the fear and resistance.  Only by doing something about it can you make the fear go away.  “Doing it” comes first.

That’s why fear is good.  Change your way of thinking.  Instead of resisting fear, embrace it.  Welcome it.  Acknowledge it. Then do something about it.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson that wrote, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”


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