Archives For Fear

We get to choose

June 17, 2017 — Leave a comment

Sometimes it comes down to which fear we allow to win.

  • The fear of failure.
  • The fear of what others will think.
  • The fear of how we will look.
  • The fear of the unknown.
  • Fear of the difficulties we could face if we take certain steps.

Versus:

  • The fear of living a lie.
  • The fear of living as under achievers.
  • The fear of not doing the right thing.
  • The fear of living a life of regret or of not being all that we could be.
  • The fear of letting our parents or our kids down or letting our maker down.

Which fear we allow to win makes all the difference.

“You’re going to teach on integrity?”

That thought jolted me out of my sleep one Sunday morning in the summer of 1998. I was going to be teaching an adult Sunday school class on the subject of integrity that day and it caused me to make some major changes. 

I was working for Prudential Insurance Company at the time and was holding on to the security of representing a well-established company. My family had great health insurance at a very low cost; we were contributing to an employer matched 401K and purchasing additional mutual funds without any fees; we had the BIG name company that helped open doors and close sales and an established book of business that generated residual income each year. These were just a few of the benefits we enjoyed.

Five years prior to that however, Prudential stopped writing Homeowners Insurance because of the catastrophic losses caused by hurricane Andrew, but they allowed their agents to continue to write policies through a state run insurance company (now known as Citizens Property Insurance). Writing these policies no longer benefited Prudential but had become the major focus of my business. 

That morning, I realized I wasn’t giving Prudential what they were due. I spent more time building my business and less time selling their Financial Services; but I stayed with them because of the fear of losing the big name and the benefits.

It became quite clear that morning that I was not living a life of integrity and it was time for me to make some changes.

I used my dilemma as an illustration to the class that day and made a declaration to ‘no more’ playing it safe and to do the right thing. The class supported me and I handed in my resignation and left Prudential to focus more on my insurance agency. My District manager respected my decision and though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, my business has grown beyond my expectations! 

Jack Canfield summed it up very well when he said,

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

I wish I could tell you that I have conquered this but that wouldn’t be true. There are times since then that I have allowed fear to hold me back and times when I made progress by taking action in the midst of fear.

Everything you want really is on the other side of fear. I’m learning to dance with it…

I was inspired to write this after reading a great post from Seth Godin.  I found myself confirming the validity and significance of what he wrote, yet also the opportunity for improvement in my life.  Here is an excerpt from the article,

“Genius is actually the eventual public recognition of dozens (or hundreds) of failed attempts at solving a problem. Sometimes we fail in public, often we fail in private, but people who are doing creative work are constantly failing.”

If this is true and I believe it is, what should we do about the two major stumbling blocks to greatness?

  1. The fear of failure.
  2. The fear of what others might think of us.

The answer: Keep the right perspective.

John Maxwell said, “A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.”

This perspective provides the motivation necessary for us to rise above the fear, to get back up after we fail, learn from it and move on.  We must do our best to clarify, review and renew our commitment to that purpose. When the purpose is more important than our fears and when we realize that accomplishing it requires us to courageously face our fears and  fail over and over and over again, we will welcome those fears and failures.

Learn from it but do not get discouraged because of it.  Keep swinging the bat, making the call, serving others, doing the research, writing, reading, making the speech.  Keep kicking, shooting, throwing, hitting or catching the ball… keep trying, keep learning, keep getting back up, do not be discouraged.  Every time you fail you are one step closer to winning!  One step closer.

It’s just as important for us to instill this perspective into our children and those we influence.  Be an encourager.  Discipline your children and those you love as you must, but do not discourage them.  Do not make their mistake seem so big that they fear failing, more than they want to try again and again.  Practice the art of helping them to learn from their mistakes while encouraging them to be resilient and to retain the conviction that their existence holds a purpose and to be bold and courageous in the pursuit of it.

The point is, greatness comes through failure.  Go fail yourself to greatness while encouraging and inspiring others to do the same!