The Coach's Corner
Published Oct. 26, 2011 @ midnight
“Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps” - David Lloyd George
Any time that we step into the unknown, be it jobs, relationships, or any sort of life’s adventure we often do so with trepidation and anxiety. Sometimes so much that it paralyzes us or keeps up from doing our best.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a gift, that in certain situations we could receive a wonderful burst of energy, sharpened senses, become more alert, and our body as a whole gets a burst of adrenaline just before we step off into the unknown? Well, guess what? We already have that ability. It is called fear.
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” Erica Jong
Fear? Yep! The only difference between fear and excitement is how we label it. We pretty much get the same physical reaction to both, but in the case of fear we have given in to negativism, “Oh, no!”, but with excitement we are positive, “Oh boy!”
So why do we, well, fear Fear? It probably comes from childhood, when our loving parents ingrained in us the fear for all things new and strange. Don’t touch that dog! Don’t cross that street! Don’t eat that! Don’t talk to strangers! He’ll bite, it’s dangerous, it’s bad for you, and he may be a bad person….
I am sure; fear saved many of our lives. I know it did mine on several occasions. The biggest message I learned was “If you aren’t for sure it won’t hurt you then don’t do it!”
Well, when we did come of age, and become aware of the difference between the seriously dangerous and the mostly intriguing, some of us failed to overcome these fears and subsequently have never experienced what a true blessing natural fear (or excitement) is.
“…Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” -FDR
You can’t learn to ride a bike until you take the training wheels off. There is a certain risk to life. We must learn that, if we do the thing we fear, we will not die. I remember going to six flags when I was eleven years old and going to the double loop, Shock Wave. I must tell you, I am somewhat afraid of heights and the whole time I was in line to ride, I kept telling myself, “I am not going to die, I am not going to die, …” What fun huh? Well, I rode it, I loved it, and I rode it again that day about eight times.
Sure, a person who never gets on the ride will never be killed if the ride fails, but he will also never experience the thrill, the enjoyment, and the confidence I gained from overcoming that fear and the shear fun of that ride.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:20
Psychoanalysts at the turn of the 20th century concluded that it was not normal to overcome fear at all, and risk-taking behavior was in fact evidence of a diseased mind. They could not conceive of any reason why people would choose to risk their lives, and as a result concluded that risk takers were acting without reason. They failed to understand risk-taking behavior. It was therefore proposed that people such as mountaineers were illogical.
Psychological research studies have shown that risk taking behaviors (e.g. ocean sailing) have even been shown to lead to increases in self-esteem. Similarly people who take financial risks in the workplace generally tend to be more successful in their jobs.
Even other animals have been shown to take risks for social reasons; the underlying theory being that by taking risks that a less able animal would have to avoid they demonstrate the superiority of their genes and become more attractive as a mate.
When thinking about people you know well, you will naturally have noticed how they differ, and our everyday language is full of ways of describing and comparing people. People may be "outgoing" or "unsociable", "shy" or "confident", "friendly" or "rude", and
“You can’t seal second if you are standing on first.” –unknown so on.
To prove to ourselves we won’t “die” (of embarrassment, of fear itself, or even physically) it is necessary to walk through the fear. Go to the edge of your comfort zone and if you walk away you maintain that the fear is limitation and not a doorway to illumination.
If you want to learn about fear and its benefits, the next time you come to that wall, just keep on walking through, because fear is not a barrier, it is an emotion. It is not an obstacle; it is a launch pad into a new you. You will learn over time that fear and risk (excitement and opportunity) will become a welcomed challenge!
“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass around it. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it…Meet it as a friend, for you will see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes