We spend an enormous amount of time trying to live without fear. We read books about being brave, take classes in gaining confidence, and spend tons of money on inspirational books and courses. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – except for the fact that fear is one of the most powerful motivators on the planet. Fear of danger kept early human beings alive. Fear of war kept leaders working at diplomacy. Fear of poverty kept our parents and grandparents working hard. And today, while many of the things we fear may have changed, the emotion is just as relevant – and important.
I see too many leaders living in denial because they refuse to acknowledge the fear that their business, church, or nonprofit is failing. I see others with no self-awareness, because to face their shortcomings would create too much fear.
Certainly there are overblown fears. When what I would call a “healthy” fear is replaced by an unfounded or out of proportion fear, that’s a bigger issue that needs to be dealt with in other ways.
But for most of us, most of the time, we need to embrace it. Look at your fear in the face. Understand where it comes from. Your fear is the canary in the coal mine. It’s the early warning sign that something needs to change.
That uncomfortable feeling in your gut when you do certain things or make certain decisions shouldn’t be ignored, it should be welcomed.
And here’s the important point: Fear becomes your friend not when it’s gone, but when it’s overcome. When you’ve acted on the fear in a way that solves the problem. When your response to the fear is to fix the reason it’s there.
Fear: Stop ignoring it, worrying about it, or denying it, and start responding to it.