Ask The Coach — 7 Ways To Re-think Fear

Published on May 1, 2014

Dear Coach:

The bad news about the economy has me completely off my game. I hate to admit it, but I’ve lost my nerve about investing in my practice, hiring new employees, expanding my facility, or purchasing new equipment. I feel like every move is either going out on a limb or throwing in the towel. Do you have any words of wisdom on how to manage this fear that seems to be paralyzing all my decisions?

L.M., lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Fear! It’s the great deceiver!

Listen carefully … fear is energy that comes from inside us, not outside. It is neutral. It is our choice to translate that energy into either panic – or pleasure. It’s our choice to become paralyzed – or passionate – when confronted with fear. You need to remember that the very sensation of fear is miraculously useful!

How so?

Fear is a gift that we humans can examine and become aware of how it serves us or sabotages us. Fear tells us that we’re in a moment when positive action is necessary to repair our own life-support system. Either we raise our understanding of our own wiring and improve our use of it – or we succumb to destruction.

Rather than warning us that something is wrong, fear can also mean that something is just right … that we’re doing precisely what is true for the moment. Fear can be used as information and energy for our own creative ends. We can harness our would-be fears, harmonize our energies, and channel them into courage. The only legitimate “fear” is to live a life without passion or authenticity.

Here are 7 ways to rethink fear:
• It is ineffective to think that fear means you’re in danger, that something is wrong, that you must seek safety. It is effective to think that fear is pure energy and that it is a signal that could mean “stop” or could mean “go.”
• It is ineffective to think that if you stop what you’re doing, you’ll be lost – that you’ll never start again. It is effective to realize that sometimes we have to stop in order to find our path.
• It is ineffective to think that you need to figure it all out before you can do anything. It is effective to realize that you don’t have to believe you can do it in order to do it. Just showing up – even with fear – has power.
• It is ineffective to think that if you act on what you believe, conflict will break out, and that you’ll be humiliated. It is effective to understand that conflict means engagement – something is in motion. It’s an opening, not a closing.
• It is ineffective to believe that your greatest fears are your worst enemies, that they hold us back. It is effective to understand that our worst fears can be our greatest teachers.

• It is ineffective to think if you’re really yourself, you’ll be excluded and alone forever. It is effective to realize that to find real connection, we must risk disconnection. Our courage draws others towards us.
• And it is ineffective to think that you’re just a drop in the bucket, that your efforts might make you feel better but it won’t help. It is effective to understand that every time we act, even with fear, we help others do the same. Courage is contagious.
We agree that the recent economic news has been disappointing, but if there is one thing we’ve learned these past 30 years, it’s that Failure, Adversity and Disappointment are cyclical. We like to keep them in perspective by thinking of them as nothing more than a FAD, which is defined as “an interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal!”

This current crisis will be resolved … and replaced by something new and unexpected in the future. But, for now, the real question is, are you going to allow the external events of today define your practice? Or are you going to take purposeful action and create your own momentum based on an accurate analysis of your staffing model, patient base, facility, and economic considerations, leading the people who rely on you with conviction, confidence, and character?

Your only true fear, dear friend, should be of giving away your power to persevere and prevail in any situation.

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