Thanks for the insights and giving us something to think about today.
Recently I asked a group of people over 65, "If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?" There were three answers:
- I’d take the time to stop and ask the big questions.
- I’d be more courageous and take more risks in work and in love.
- I’d try to live with purpose - to make a difference.”
What if there was no such thing as fear, what would you be doing today? How would you be living – or doing business – differently?
You aren’t afraid of what you think you are afraid of.
You are afraid of what you think.
In reality, the only thing that prevents us from succeeding is…ourselves! We are excellent at procrastinating and not asking for what we want or need. And having sabotaged ourselves, we use excuses and blame for not creating the behavior or not taking the action necessary to learn and move forward. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." By allowing ourselves to be fearful, we set ourselves up for future regrets.
What can we do? We can start by recognizing what the enemy looks like – the 10 most common fears that control people:
- Fear of failing Some people would rather do nothing then risk looking bad, making a mistake or not completing what they start. Perfectionists fall into this category. Growth and true learning are frozen because of this fear.
- Fear of success This fear is a little more subtle. To many people success means more stress, pressure, work, responsibility, attention, etc., rather than ongoing fulfillment and satisfaction.
- Fear of rejection For many people this is the #1 fear in their life. They don’t understand that it’s not the rejection that matters, but the understanding that there will always be differences and preferences in life between people and ideas. What does matter is how we learn from, and deal with, and respond to the rejection in a healthy positive manner.
- Fear of the unknown We have the highest rate of poverty, physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse in the history of this country. Yet we also have the lowest rate of taking positive healthy action to stop or correct these circumstances. Why? Because most people would rather live with, and deal with, what they have and know now, than to take a risk with the unknown.
- Fear of change This is a sister fear of the fear of the unknown. Most people talk about changing but few do it. It is not easy to acknowledge that something is wrong or not working in their lives, and they don’t like feeling clumsy or embarrassed at not doing something new perfectly.
- Fear of intimacy Many people equate intimacy with sex. Wrong! In fact, many people use sex to avoid intimacy. True intimacy is the ability to openly express and communicate lovingly, honestly and unconditionally to those who are important in one's life, community, and work. This kind of communication is vital if one wants to learn to be a tolerant, non-judgmental person who respects the needs and wants of those people in their lives.
- Fear of expression This fear prevents people from experiencing real creativity. It also prevents good, clear honest communication. Lack of expressing true feelings has ruined so many personal, professional, and business relationships. The challenge to many is to discover how one really feels and then to communicate those feelings in an effective, non-abusive manner.
- Fear of abandonment This fear keeps people in relationships or jobs that are not nurturing, healthy and supportive. They would rather be miserable and suffer in their current situation than be alone and unwanted or unneeded. Even so, they feel no “real” connectedness socially or spiritually.
- Fear of emotional pain Most people will do almost anything to avoid “feeling the pain.” We live in a society that incessantly promotes taking drugs, legal or illegal, as well as alcohol or food to avoid feeling emotional pain. Not dealing with this pain it will eventually bring on even more of life’s painful lessons, both personally and professionally.
- Fear of taking risk This fear keeps 80% of our workforce in their place, even though they wake up every morning hating their jobs, bosses, careers or professions. Their work environment is negative and debilitating. Their superiors give only lip service to change and innovation. Yet these people will not take a chance on themselves for fear of being judged a failure!
That's a lot of fearfulness…but it's not permanent. Every one of us has the ability to break away from the fears that hold us back from growing and achieving. We do not have to reach a point in our lives that is shadowed by regret for what we did not do.
What are the strategies that will take you out of fear and into the future? That's the subject next time, so stay tuned….
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