The F Word

Fear. Each of us knows it intimately. It can be a helpful thing if we’re in a life-threatening situation, filling us with adrenaline and cortisol to enhance our ability to react. For example, if we’re walking in the woods and we see a poisonous snake in the path these chemicals automatically kick in our flight or fight response to avoid danger. However, if our fears are imagined or simply provoked by modern unpredictability, we will also experience the release of these same chemicals even though we are physically safe. And if we have a tendency to live in this state of fear, the prolonged exposure to these chemicals has a profoundly negative impact on our overall biology. So, we can either play victim and allow it to break us down or we can choose to recognize it for what it is and let it push us into action. Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” It was this concept that prompted me to write today’s blog.
First, starting a new business is not for the faint of heart. It’s scary. But after 23 years in the world of corporate sales, I was fried. Absolutely toasty. Crispy. Burned out. I’d spent years either looking through a windshield, looking at a computer screen, in meetings, or dialing for dollars on the phone in an effort to achieve the “American dream.” And for a while, I thought that’s what I’d done. I’d climbed my way up from being a young guy wearing a hand-me-down suit his first day in the office to earning a six-figure income. I had arrived! Right?
Wrong. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a sobering moment when you realize that you’ve spent years of your life climbing a mountain just to recognize that you’ve been climbing the wrong one. Don’t misunderstand, I know that I was blessed to have been able to earn a good living and provide for my children. But, at the same time, I had all of the obligations and responsibilities that went along with it, including a hefty child support payment. I felt trapped. How on earth was I going to be able to meet my responsibilities and walk away from my diseased cash cow? I was petrified of stepping out on a limb in an effort to do something that I would truly love. Fortunately, my wife loved me more than she loved money and gave me the encouragement I needed to take a chance.
On my 52nd birthday, I turned in my notice and cashed out my 401k. I grabbed fear by the horns. I threw myself into studying meditation and life coaching to work through my own issues and unresolved pain. Along the way, it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of other people who were exactly like me. They were scaling their own meaningless mountain and unsure how to change course…and I genuinely wanted to help them find their own path, too.
This leads me back to today’s topic and another type of fear that I’ve been wrestling with. I mean…who am I? Why should anyone give a flip about what I have to say? I’ve messed up a lot in my life. I’ve let people down. I’ve been a jerk. I’ve been full of myself. Where do I get off being a coach? You know, the ever-popular “I’m not good enough” complex.
Then I realized that my heart for helping others wasn’t just based on philosophy or academic exercises. It’s quite firmly rooted in the real world. I’ve been there. I’ve climbed my way out of those dark places. I learned to stop living in the past and remain in the present moment. You see, no matter how far we journey on the road to self-improvement we’re ALL still going to have our challenges and fears. It’s about what you do with them. I’m sharing mine today and facing it head-on. That’s really all that any of us need to do when fear comes knocking on our door…open it up, stare it down, and say, “Screw you, fear…I refuse to allow you to control my life anymore.”
If you’re familiar with the Law of Attraction you’ve heard that “energy flows where the focus goes.” What possible good can come from focusing on your lowest expectations and fears? Very little. How often have you wasted time worrying about some potential calamity which never came to pass? Probably a lot. Instead, why not focus your energy and attention on the infinite amount of potential there is for something wonderful to happen! That is the ONLY thing truly worthy of your precious energy.
Don’t let false evidence appear real. Go out and get busy. (But please stay 6 feet apart)