Acting in spite of our fears

[I]n truth, fear is a useful thing. Once upon a time, fear was a signal to run from a lion or some other danger, and that was pretty useful. These days, we don’t usually have much physical danger (the lions have more to fear from us), but the same fear signals still happen, even when it’s trying to pursue our dreams or becoming vulnerable to other people. These days, the fears aren’t physical — they’re more about not being good enough.  —Leo Babauta

It’s not that resilient people are fearless.

Rather, they act in the face of the kinds of fears identified by Leo Babauta in a recent survey:

Fear of failure

Fear of being inadequate

Fear of rejection

Fear of not being prepared

Fear of being a fraud

Fear of ridicule

“You might notice,” Babauta concludes, “that they are all really the same fear. The fear of not being good enough.”

He suggests a new mental framework for viewing fear and a mindful approach to facing it.

“Just because fear is present, doesn’t mean we have to run,” Babuata writes. “In fact, we can practice acting mindfully even with fear in our bodies. The practice is to notice that there’s fear, and notice our habitual reaction. Stay with the fear, and notice how it feels as a physical sensation. Notice that it’s not so bad, that we can actually be OK in the middle of that physical sensation.”

What methods do you use to act in spite of your fear?

6 Responses to “Acting in spite of our fears”

  1. 1 jimmi77 May 17, 2017 at 8:06 am

    The contrast between ancient, and modern sources of fear, is a novel and interesting thought Dennis. Thanks!

  2. 3 rickrepicky May 17, 2017 at 8:51 am

    The fear factor is real. Long ago, I used to shake giving speeches. I looked at promotions as having the potential to expose my inadequacies. The two factors that helped me overcome these fears were: 1) Most Important: PURPOSE – The impetus of purpose propelled me over fear. After becoming hooked on professional learning communities, I was sure that implementing them would improve learning for both students & staff. 2) SUPPORT – I was encouraged by those above me to take the chance. Since I was promoted from within, I also sensed peer support. While after promotion I lost some of my former peers’ support, this loss was more than compensated by a core team of leaders who joined me in what became “our purpose.”

    • 4 Dennis Sparks May 18, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Well said, Rick! Having a compelling purpose and the support of others whom we trust and respect are the fundamentals in doing challenging things. Thanks for taking the time to add your perspective, Rick.

  3. 5 Kent Peterson May 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

    This is another excellent set of ideas for leaders to consider, reflect upon, go back to.

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