What are you afraid of?

“Courage is the greatest of all the virtues. Because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.”

Samuel Johnson

What are you most afraid of? Failure? Danger? Something else? 

What scares me most is not living up to my potential and using all of the gifts and talents that God has blessed me to have.  This is what fuels me and gives me courage. What enables you?

‘ “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned. “‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. ‘ Matthew 25:14-29 

If you want to win, you have to slay the tigers first…

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Amelia Earhart

It always amazes me how many fears and challenges we can create in our minds. First, the paper tigers create anxiety, paralyzing our bodies, and then the fears that were only in our minds become a reality.  

Action is the antidote. Even if the action isn’t perfect, it is an antidote to the paralytic effects we build out in our minds. Decide to act. Act with enthusiasm. Build momentum, and most of the fears we create will cease to be.

Free yourself from fear to enable excitement…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Tony Robbins

There are always things that can and will go wrong. Understand this, and you will be free to embrace all the things that can and will go right as long as you have put in the work.  

When you free your mind from the paralyzing effects of fear, you can get excited about the future. When you are excited, your work will have more energy, and the enthusiasm you have will positively affect those around you. And this is exactly when things start to go right…

Can you watch the needle?

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.”

Dale Carnegie

As a young child, I can vividly remember having my right thumb slammed in a door when I was six or seven years old. I don’t recall all the details of what happened, but one thing that stands out as clearly today as it did when it happened. Specifically, it is the image of the doctor using a syringe to numb my finger in preparation for stitches that looms so large. I can remember seeing that needle disappear into my skin like it was yesterday.  

That one event served to generate a healthy distaste of needles that I carried forward into life. It was only many, many years later, that I decided to face my fear and donate blood. Because I was not too fond of needles, to say the least, I decided I needed to overcome this irrational fear and watch the technician when they drew blood. Fortunately, I didn’t pass out due to tremendous pain or suffer a great shock by watching the needle penetrate my skin. I barely felt it at all.

The fear that had prevented me from giving blood for years was irrational and unreasonable. All it took was facing it head-on and choosing not to let fear control me. To this day, I still watch anytime I get a shot or give blood to remind myself of how powerful fear can be and how important it is to take control of your fears instead of letting them control you.  

What fears do you need to face today?  

close up view of person holding a vaccine
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Procrastination and delay will only breed doubt and anxiety…

“Audacity augments courage; hesitation, fear.”

Publilius Syrus

It is incredible how the simple step of taking action on something can provide courage and energy. It is equally fascinating to me that procrastination and delay can breed doubt and anxiety.

Delaying never provides the clarity you might hope for as you seek absolute clarity or “perfect” information.

So when it doubt, take action. Even if it isn’t perfect, the simple act that creates momentum can help you overcome a host of challenges.

Two choices…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Tony Robbins

Do you want to spend your precious life afraid or excited? Do you want to live fearfully or with enthusiasm?

It’s your choice. You can do one of two things. You can change your circumstances or you can change your attitude.

Fear is a choice.

Excitement is a choice.

Find something that excites you. Focus on the opportunities, not the failures. Get knocked down and then get back up. If you lean forward and choose excitement, things have a way of working out for the best…

Fear stopping….

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back…”

Erica Jong

Fear is only a barrier if it stops you in your tracks. Fear can be an incredible motivator and an inspiration for change, if you let it. The key is to know that on the other side of fear is growth and opportunity. Just keep moving, never stop moving.

Stop sitting, start doing…

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

At times sitting and thinking makes a lot of sense. It can be exactly what one needs to gather your thoughts and prepare for action. But sitting and thinking is always about preparing for action. One must have a hard line in the sand that defines when you stop sitting and start doing…

I was wrong…

“Confidence comes not from always being right but not fearing to be wrong.”

Unknown

There is such a distinct difference between a person who is always right (ego) and a person that isn’t afraid to be wrong (confident AND humble). I have worked with both and the leadership impact of the latter on those around them is incredible.

The leader who doesn’t HAVE to be right, but cares first and foremost about doing what is right builds a powerful team of thinkers and a culture of openness and candor.

The leader who is always right builds a team of people that are aggressively waiting to be told what to do. Smart people won’t stay in this kind of culture because it is demoralizing and limits the capabilities of the entire organization.

Don’t fear being wrong, embrace it, it sends a powerful lesson to those that you lead and serve.

Swing the bat…

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Babe Ruth

Fear leads to hesitation and when you hesitate you miss the opportunities that come your way (like a hanging curve ball). When you miss the opportunities that is when you really strike out.

Swing the bat. You might strike out, but at least you are swinging…

Face your fears…

“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.”

Seth Godin

What are the things that scare you? Do you run from them? Have your fears paralyzed you or motivated you?

If you don’t face your fears, they will own you. Do you want fear to control you? Or would you rather face the fear and win?

Sometimes you just need to build some momentum. Face a fear, and win. Then do it again. And again. And again…

Scared is good!

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

Seth Godin

What really scares you? I know at one time in my life I HATED public speaking. I am not alone in having had that phobia, it is a common fear. I heard once that people actually ranked public speaking ahead of dying as something they were afraid of! Today speaking still makes my pulse race and makes my palms sweat a bit. I love that it scares me. It makes me push harder, prepare harder, think through what I want to say and how I want to say it. If it didn’t scare me, I don’t believe I could do my audience justice and make it worth their time and attention to listen to something I am saying.

I no longer hate speaking, in fact, I love it, but it still scares me. But I wouldn’t trade away the feeling I get, and the benefits I believe come that from, being scared. Having a fear that I must overcome forces me to be better, to grow and improve. Besides, how do you know you are alive if you aren’t scared on occasion?

Doer vs. thinker…

“We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.”

Dr. Henry Link

What are you afraid of? What fears cloud your mind when you are sitting back thinking? How do you turn this into action and put those fears to rest?

Taking action always makes a challenge a little less formidable. Just the sheer act of expending energy towards a solution makes the thing, however daunting it might be, something that isn’t as scary and out of reach. All the planning and thinking in the world doesn’t give me the same relief as the first action towards something. Being a great “doer” is far more rewarding than being a great “thinker.”

Be afraid…

“If it scares you it might be a good thing to try.”

Seth Godin

Fear can either motivate or paralyze. How do you respond to what scares you? Do you lean in or lean back?

If we never try anything that stretches us past the point of fear we could never achieve to the level of our capability. How can you know what you are capable of if you don’t stretch?

Fear not…

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Corrie Ten Boom

Thinking things through is a great skill and one that will pay dividends when things don’t go exactly as you planned (and that will happen to all of us sooner or later). But worrying, obsessing, getting lost in the fear of “what if” or “why me” doesn’t help improve our chances of success.

There is a big difference between preparing and worrying. How we handle this difference makes such an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Planning is proactive and positive. Worry is negative and emotionally draining.

There are so many good bible verses on worry but here are two of my absolute favorites that I go to whenever I cross the chasm between planning and worry.

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Do not be afraid…

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Rosa Parks

The minute that you let the fear of being wrong, of failing, or of making a mistake paralyze you you have already lost.  You will make bad decisions when you are trying not to lose or if your decisions come from a place of fear and doubt.

Taking action is what allows you to break free from fear.  You don’t have time to focus on being afraid if you are making decisions and implementing those actions.  So what if you make the wrong decision?  What if it gets worse?  That’s okay, if you have a bias towards making decisions and taking action you can make another decision, you can learn and get better.

Did you know that “Do not be afraid” or “do not fear” is written in the Bible 365 times?  One of my favorite verses (any many others folks I am sure) is Psalms 23:4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Make up your mind to make up your mind.  Decide to address whatever it is that makes you fearful and take action.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

What are you afraid of?

“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Patrick Lencioni

Merriam-Webster defines “invulnerable” as “impossible to harm, damage or defeat.”  We are taught at a young age that we have to be tough, that we have to win, that showing any vulnerability is a sign of weakness and frailty.  So we carry that defensive nature into our lives and relationships, both at work and at home.  Instead of accepting that we are all vulnerable we seek to be invulnerable with those around us.  

Perhaps this is changing?  The usage of the word “vulnerable” has certainly become more prevalent over the past few decades. Not bad for a word that has it’s root origination in the Latin noun “vulnus” meaning “wound.”  (Finally all my college Latin courses are paying off!!)

 

vulnerable

Usage of “vulnerable”

 

But lets contrast “invulnerability” with “trust” which is defined as “allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence.” 

How do you know when you trust someone?  What does it feel like? For me it is the feeling of safety.  That it is okay if I’m not perfect and it is safe to expose my vulnerabilities for the purpose of achieving a greater good.  When I trust my teammates I am confident that they care, first and foremost, about achieving our shared goals and purpose.

Hmm, now that I think about it maybe “invulnerability” isn’t such a bad thing.  If a team has a high degree of trust with each other I think they just might be a team that is “impossible to harm, damage or defeat…”  

 

Sign up here to receive the daily quote that inspires my blog posts. Thanks!

dusty

%d bloggers like this: