Too often, perhaps most often, fear freezes us. Whether it’s a sudden event that stops us in our tracks, or a nagging fear that seems to paralyze us with worry, it’s our inaction that feeds our fear and allows it to grow. For many of us, our natural tendency is to catastrophize and exaggerate the fear, enabling it to grip us even tighter.
So, if inaction is both the result and accelerant of our fear, it stands to reason that action is the antidote. If fear freezes us, action is our antifreeze.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Translation – you must act!
But if we’re frozen in fear, how are we to just suddenly act? After all, according to Isaac Newton, an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. So, what’s the outside force? In this case, I believe the greatest force to make us act in the face of fear is love. Let me explain.
At BTL, we are committed to our process of building a strong CORE, authoring an authentic OPUS, and PoP-ing it out with a Playbook of Productive Action. And at the heart of your strong CORE are your Passions – your Love-to’s. It’s these Love-to’s that both inform and fuel your OPUS – your BIG dream in work and life.
Once armed with a clear vision of your BIG dream, and fueled by your Love-to’s, you simply can’t resist bringing it all to life with your Productive Actions. To put it another way, when you know what you really want, and know why you want it, it’s your love for it that moves you to act. So, you see, love triggers action, even in the face of fear.
Now, here’s the exciting part. Our old friend Isaac also taught us that an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Translation – once we’ve acted in the face of our fear, even just a baby step, we are in motion! And with a little persistence, we can begin to build momentum. Slowly, our confidence rises and we find it easier to take the next step, and the next, and the next. Before you know it, you’re facing your fear with courage. The fear is still there, but now your acting with courage, in spite of the fear. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
But understand this – courage is like a muscle and must be exercised daily if we are to count on it when fear arises. Don’t wait for life’s events to scare you stiff before you build courage. Be like the athlete or the soldier or the fireman, who trains his mind and his body proactively, in advance of the challenge, so as to be prepared when it arrives.
Mrs. Roosevelt offered this challenge, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
And in today’s BBTL book entry, Chet put it this way, “Life is about learning to do hard things well…by doing hard things not so well, at least at first.”
So, how are you building courage? What hard thing are you learning to do? What scary thing will you do today?