How to avoid fear when every­thing seems scary
Jeff & Lindsay Sage / 12 February 2021

Fear. 

We’re not born with it. But we encounter it in a hurry. 

We hold our breath. Paralyzed. Frozen in a moment and unable to move forward. But it’s not the jump scare from the ghouls and goblins under our beds that fuel our fear.  

It’s the extraordinary intrusions on our everyday lives that terrify us most.

Take it straight from the literary icon of our time:

I don’t think there’s anything I’m not afraid of on some level. But if you mean, What are we afraid of, as humans? Chaos. The outsider. We’re afraid of change. We’re afraid of disruption, and that is what I’m interested in.

Stephen King

The mob that stormed the capitol feared the truth. They lost and change was inevitable. That’s the thing about the mob, it’s a great place to hide from the truth.

But head in the sand is rarely a good long term strategy, as many leaders can attest.     

Instead:

  • Get to know the thing you’re afraid of. The monster in every movie gets less scary once he’s clearly defined.
  • Give it time. The work you do as owners, artists, entrepreneurs, non-profits, community organizers needs time to evolve from a place of tension to a place of value and impact. 
  • Don’t waste time insulating yourself from experiencing fear in the first place. Dealing with what arises is always more productive than the endless gauntlet avoidance serves up. 
  • See fear for the temporary, emotional condition it is. You aren’t a headache - you have a headache - it’s temporary. If you’re afraid to write, afraid to share your thoughts online, to launch the next big project, to tell my boss he’s wrong...you’re not afraid, you’re experiencing fear. And it’s usually fleeting and can be overcome. 

We’ve certainly entered an era of extraordinary intrusions on our ordinary lives. And that’ll be with us for the foreseeable future. 

Feel the fear. For sure. 

But consider that the thing you might actually be afraid of is an internal emotion, not an external threat. And it’s the first step at managing through a world that seems scary at every turn.

Boo! 👻


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