A list like the one we were building yesterday can generate a significant amount of fear during the writing process. Lots of what if’s can be involved with some of the listed items. What if my boss finds out, what if my colleague hears how I did this or that to them. You know those fears, they keep you up at night.
Guilt, shame and remorse are not the worst of the feelings that can be triggered when we do something unethical, immoral or just plain ill-advised. It is the fear that I’ve experienced after that has caused the greatest problems. Fear creeps into the small recesses of our thinking and becomes a part of our decision making process.
Eventually fear becomes the primary driver of our actions. Here we look back at the list we have just completed and notice how fear makes its self felt in our business life. An action that comes from fear cannot help but be the wrong action. With fear we become defensive, cautious, tentative and a whole host of other terms for not being positive about who we are and what we do.
Fear builds upon itself like a spider builds on its web. If we don’t stop it it grows and surrounds our thinking. Crowds out our ability to enjoy our work, colleagues, friends and family. If you have every feverishly worked through a weekend, as I have, missing an important event because the report is too important and then worried about how you family will react when they get home, well you are living in the fear my friend.
But how do we get beyond this cancer of healthy living. Can we not just stop thinking about the fears? Mentally image them away… whoosh, there goes my fear of being thought of as a phoney. Pfft, my fear of my boss find out about… If you are a sociopath then you manage this quite well. But for us normal folks these fears constantly stay with us. So what to do?
Make a list!
Yep, thats it. We list our fears. I have helped many people through this process who when they get here tell me they have no real fears. I ask if they are afraid to die. Oddly enough, most say yes. ‘There you got,’ I tell them, ‘That’s one!’
We put all our fears down on paper and then we review them. We ask ourselves how is it I have these fears still. I am an adult, a good employee and yet here they are. Could it be the reinforcement of results from our actions based on these fears ensure they survive and grow? Is it possible that when we start having different results based on making decisions on positives that these fears will diminish?
Last thought, when I first was given a two wheeler, it was too big for me and I was afraid to ride it. One of the few memories I have with my dad was of him helping me on the bike and being there to support me for the first few times. ‘Don’t let go dad,’ I would call. Until I noticed he wasn’t holding on anymore. Today I have absolutely no fear of a bike. And why, because success at overcoming fear has replaced it with faith.