I live in fear every day of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You wouldn’t expect many professionals to think that, much less admit it openly. To do so in a society that promotes the culture of a “NO FEAR” mindset would be breaking the rules.
I’ve always been a huge fan of “breaking the rules” and I’m about to do it again. Moreover, I’m inviting you to join me and we can do it together.
Fear can have either negative or positive consequences depending on how we approach the topic. In the negative space, fear creates false barriers that serve to limit our growth and success. In the positive space, fear is a healthy response that serves to keep us alert and alive.
That works well for the garden varieties of fear being discussed on a daily basis. Jumping out of a plane from great heights, diving in an ocean to great depths and publicly speaking to crowds of great numbers all fit neatly into that category.
I don’t fear anything of those things, and neither should you.
The things that cause me to live in fear each day – the fears I’m asking you to embrace with me – are much more insidious, invisible and incremental. Over time, these conditions dull even the most razor-sharp competitive edge of both our minds and spirits.
I live in fear every day of my life, and these are the 4 things I fear the most:
#1) The fear of believing I’ve learned enough.
In the early stages of our careers we pursue every academic degree, professional certification and organizational membership imaginable. With luck, our technical competence reaches a level that affords us a successful career. Somewhere along the line we lose our time to study and attending training seminars becomes a chore.
Lifelong learning is a continual process that never ends, and the thought of uttering the words “I know all I need to know to do my job well” terrifies me.
#2) The fear of believing I’ve contributed enough.
In the early stages of our development we tend to be idealistic, optimistic and enthusiastic about making a positive change. With luck, those who possess this motivation are elevated to the highest levels of their professional domain. Somewhere along this path phrases such as “I’ve done my good deed for the day” and “I’ve paid my dues” sneak into our conversations.
Contributing to the betterment of those around us never ends, and the thought of uttering the words “I’ve given enough … I don’t need to give any more” terrifies me. Unless, of course, I’m donating blood.
#3) The fear of believing I’ve accomplished enough.
In the early stages of our professional life the sky is the limit, anything is possible and a world of opportunity exists for the taking. With luck, our successes outnumber our failures and we manage to attain a significant portion of our goals. Somewhere along the line progress starts to drain us, failures lead to disillusionment and the prospect of gain simply isn’t worth the effort.
Rejecting our intrinsic human desire to grow as individuals leads to stagnation, negates our relevance, and the thought of uttering the words “I’ve accomplished enough … I’ll quit while I’m ahead” terrifies me.
#4) The fear of believing I’ve competed enough.
In the early stages of our careers we’re highly competitive and strive to become renowned subject matter experts in our respective fields. With luck, we attain that level of expertise and provide guidance to those who seek to follow in our path. Somewhere along the path we believe our success is preordained, we focus inward on our accomplishments and lose sight of the competition.
Having people say success is a given – and the act of actually believing it – are two very different things, and the thought of uttering the words “I’m the best … they can’t compete with me” terrifies me.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt
until they’re too heavy to be broken.”
~ Warren Buffett ~
I live in fear every day of my life, and I pray that never changes. Healthy fears are a propulsion system, not a prison. I invite you to embrace healthy fear, propel yourself forward and WIN.