Feeling consumed by fear? You may have heard the old saying:
Fire and fear – good servants, poor masters.
Whenever I hear this quote, I always am struck by how much fire and fear have in common.
It’s easy for both to get out of control and maim or damage. Most of us have a healthy fear of both. Both can be hard to capture or contain, much less extinguish. Both can be controlled and made to serve us, if treated respectfully and knowledgeably.
We are currently in a business climate where fear is an every day companion for many of us.
We may be at a crossroads. Our friends, business associates and clients can seem to take an almost ghoulish delight in sharing the latest business horror story. Even the strongest of us can find ourselves nibbled at by fear. From there, fear can start to grow like a virus. It starts to permeate every task, every phone call, every prospect interaction or interview.
Inoculate Yourself from the Fear Virus
So how do we inoculate ourselves from the Fear Virus? How do we keep it from destroying our peace, sapping our energy and stealing our motivation?
You may have heard “What we resist, persists..” This is definitely true for fear. We can fear any number of things in these challenging times, many of which are beyond our control.
To start turning it around, begin by asking yourself these key questions:
- What can I affect?
- What is within my ability to change, control, or manipulate, even minutely?
- Am I willing to take the effort to do so?
- Do I have the courage to give myself permission to stop worrying about things I can’t control, so I won’t be devoured by fear?
Five Quick Steps to Make Your Peace with Fear:
- Honor the fear. Acknowledge it. Thank it for showing up. Do not deny it, stuff it away, or anesthetize it with food, alcohol or drugs.
- Be aware that there is no shame in being afraid. Fear is a natural response. It means our systems – body, mind, spirit, and emotions – are working the way they are supposed to.
- Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” One client came to me with only six weeks of savings left before he needed to get a job or start selling the family silver. Was he right to be afraid? Absolutely. Was his situation serious? Again, absolutely. Was it life and death? Not like waiting for a liver transplant, but on par with being to buy groceries and keep the heat on in winter. Are you blowing it out of proportion? Have you been through something like that before? Are you willing to deal with the situation? If not, what ARE you prepared to do? What are you prepared to change and how quickly?
- Understand that fear is not a signal to stop, not a red light. Fear is a yellow light, telling us to proceed with caution and awareness.
- Give yourself permission to move forward cautiously, with the fear. Consider fear an informative traveling companion, not an adversary during these challenging times. And certainly not the thief of your peace of mind and your future security.
If stepping back from the situation is difficult (as it often is when you’re in the middle of the fire), get perspective from a trusted buddy, colleague or coach. Let them lead you through the above questions. Make sure this person is emotionally neutral, neither a cheerleader nor someone with their own agenda.
You can also check out this related post:
Share a comment – what helps you move forward in spite of the fear?