A lawyer I worked with told me he was blown away because I wasn’t afraid of anything. I had no idea what he was talking about. I’m scared of everything.
I just don’t let it interfere with what I want to do.
Fear is not something to fight, overcome, ignore, hide from, or defeat. It’s not a weakness. Fear is good stuff. It protects us, gives us important information, motivates us.
The trouble starts when we believe that it’s too hard, other people will think we’re stupid, or the million versions of I’m not good enough. When everything is too scary, we shut down and make our world small so we can control it. We close our minds and our hearts to anything new or different.
That’s why fear is the root of discrimination and resistance to change. It manifests in arrogance, power plays, violence, back biting, control issues, withdrawal, and pretty much anything that makes other people unpleasant to be around. Especially at work.
I tried to fight fear– to overcome it. I just ended up completely focused on how scared I was, which paralyzed me. Also, the scotch it took to silence it wasn’t worth the consequences.
So I’ve learned to just invite fear along for the ride. I give it a little attention, tell it some jokes, and ask it, very nicely, to stay in the backseat. When the fear is insistent, I listen to what it’s trying to tell me. But I don’t believe everything I feel or think when I’m scared. And I try not to make big decisions out of fear (or anger).
Usually, it’s just that I’m worried about the outcome. I’m anxious about uncertainty.
Yet, most things are uncertain, almost all the time. And that is neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just how it is.
So instead of getting caught in the crisis, or drama, or insecurity, now I notice it. And then remember that I’m really good at terrified.
Thank you to Bryan Wempen and William Tincup who inspired me to write this after our discussion on Drive Thru HR. To listen to the show, click here.