Do You Have Fear or Does Fear Have You?
As you peer into the body of work ahead, redefining who you are in the eyes of your coworkers and family can be the hardest of the three steps. I speak at Toastmasters regularly and do so with little concern. But thoughts of introducing Step Up in the workplace were met with apprehension. After all, I would have to see and interact with these people every day, which could amplify the effects of their judgment. Thoughts of how I would respond to the critics and cynics ran wild, as I was reminded that not too long ago I was one of them. Ouch! Fear was the one writing this script with the working title of hesitation.
Les Brown states that it is natural to have fear. However, the bigger question is, “Does fear have you?” Do you walk with fear, acknowledge it, and take action in spite of it? Or do you play small in the presence of fear? I do firmly believe that the regret we experience in the moment of our ultimate dissolution stems from fear. So many of us take our best ideas with us to the grave because of fear. What about you? What ideas have you allowed to perish because of uncertainty? How long did it take for the flames of hope to be extinguished by doubt? “What if I succeed?” “What if I fail?” These questions and more are merely projections of our fear. I used to believe that the way forward was to defeat fear, to pound it into submission. But fear is a natural part of who we are, and to deny it is to miss the reason for its existence. There is no part of our being that is not intentional, and so fear must serve a purpose. But to what end? Would a better design not relegate fear to the cutting floor? Surely, we have been conditioned to react to this healthy signal all wrong. So, there has to be some intrinsic value to the monster hiding in the closet.
Always do what you are afraid to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our body produces hormones such as adrenaline, to raise our fight or flight awareness. What if fear is no different? What if fear is just a signal that we are about to claim a small piece of the gift that was promised in this experience called life? And worse case, what is the price we pay each time we step back, and not forward, from the stage to which we are summoned? Whose struggle and pain do we exacerbate by not taking action through fear? Contemplate these questions the next time your heart whispers, and you decide that the stakes are just too high and you would rather not hear the cry. It is time to reflect your value in all your environments and leave a legacy of impact. “So do I have fear?” You betcha! “Does it have me?” Not anymore!
This article was originally published by me on Medium and Linkedin.