Facing Fear

I gave myself a rule to restrict “Teagan’s Books” to writing and indie publishing related topics. However, with a previous director at work, one of my tasks was writing a motivational message every week. During the past few days one of those messages has repeatedly come to mind.  Maybe, I said to myself, someone needs to hear it.  So I’m making an exception to my rule.

TooncesFor me, the past eighteen years has been a constant exercise in improving my situation in life.  That has forced me to be constantly ready to tackle obstacles that are all but insurmountable for one person; alone.  I mean things like driving all the way across the country with only my two cats for moral support — cats who, unlike Toonces in the old Saturday Night Live shows, cannot help with the driving!

But I digress.  Here is that message.

Facing Fear

Last week I was stuck inside an elevator for a while.  That circumstance made me think of the countless things we all fear.  Many people have one particular fear that holds them back in work and in life – they are afraid of doing something they think they can’t do.  We often hear the terms “fear of failure” or “fear of the unknown,” and I guess those are pretty close to the same thing.

If you’re afraid you can’t lead that project, so you don’t try, then how do you gain the experience you would have gotten by doing it?  Whether or not the project was a success you still would have learned things.  If you’re afraid to swing the bat at that softball, so you don’t even try, then how are you going to get into the game?  If you’re afraid you can’t remember the words to a song, so you never sing it, then who will hear your voice?  If you’re afraid to dip that brush into the paint, so you never create the picture, then who will see your vision?

Was there ever a time when you were terrified of doing something, but somehow, you gathered your courage and did it?  No matter how it went, I hope you were proud of yourself for trying.  There is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. 

You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” 

Isn’t that a powerful thought?  Look fear in the face.  To grow strong, courageous, and confident – look fear in the face.  If you think you can’t do something – do it.  Wow.  It would have been interesting, even fascinating to have known Eleanor Roosevelt.

Cow-Fear Yes, fear has its value.  It prompts us to protect ourselves in dangerous situations.  However, the wrong kind of fear becomes corrosive.  It eats away at our ability to think clearly, prevents us from trying new things, testing new ideas.

So I ask you, what are the things you think you can’t do?  Make a list of them and look at it.  Now, isn’t there at least one thing on that list that you really, really think you should be trying to do?

Yes, I thought there was.  Are you ready to look fear in the face?

9 thoughts on “Facing Fear

  1. Thanks for sharing Teagan. You’re so right. And I love the cow! There was an add about a cow that believed it was a horse and dared to go… (can’t remember what it was advertising). We’re never done discovering new things. Never.

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  2. A couple of questions have been asked in direct emails. I thought maybe I should answer them here as well.
    1. Do you still write motivational messages at work?
    No, I’m sad to say that is no longer a part of my job. At times it was challenging, but I enjoyed it. However, new managers sometimes want new things from employees.
    2. Will you make those messages into a book?
    Yes. I wrote one message per week for about 18 months, so that’s a good start on material from which I can choose. I have them collected into a document. For now, I consider that to be the draft.

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate your interest in this topic.

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  3. I know we all have fears. The ‘baby steps’ is perhaps the best way of dealing with them. Face them outright and you lose and never face them again, but in stages there will come a time you know you’re ready and it will be a major hurdle jumped. It all depends on what those fears are and whether they’re based on reality. Falling from a height may give you a fear of heights, fear of dogs may stem from having been attacked by one. One of my own fears is people, new people more than people I’ve known for years. I can’t face them and have no idea what that is based on. I know I don’t want to tackle it. I haven’t answered a telephone in years because doing so makes me stutter badly and yet I don’t do that at home unless there’s a stranger in the house- though I try and stay out of the way when that happens.
    One day this fear will need to be faced and I will go out again freely.But baby steps may be the best approach.
    xxx Hugs xxx

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  4. We all do have at least one fear–probably many we don’t acknowledge, so your advice to make a list is a great idea. Not sure I want to realize ALL of my fears.

    I can tell you one is a fear of heights, but it never stopped me from climbing the tallest lighthouse in Michigan, or going to the observation deck at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas which is something like 898 feet or something close–even the Hancock Building in Chicago. Maybe I like the rush that came with the fear.

    But, I’ll never be able to drive over the Mackinaw Bridge, although I did walk over it. Bridges, yes, that might be another one. Let’s not even talk about being a self-published author where each new step is fearful.

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    • I enjoyed your comment, Mary. And I applaud you for “defeating” towers and bridges!
      Like many of us, I have my own big fears, that I won’t address here. I don’t encourage anyone to go way beyond their comfort zone — that can also be harmful to the spirit. Not everyone grasps that.

      Facing a fear, even a small one, is not an easy thing. My thoughts with this were more along the line of “baby steps.”
      Since this post was originally from a business missive, it was meant to be more about the lesser things that we let defeat us. I know you get that — I guess I’m just clarifying for everyone else.

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