Fear, What is it Good For?

What Are You Afraid Of? I spend very little time being afraid. It’s not a good or bad thing, just the way I’m wired.  I’m not afraid of being hurt or dying. Not afraid of heights, crowds, spiders, water or anything else I can think of in the physical world.  I used to have a fear of success and a fear of being alone.  The former I got rid of in my mid 20’s, the later in the last few years.

At least I thought I’d gotten rid of my fear of success.  It’s apparent to me now that my fear of success is still with me to some degree.  I used shoot myself in the foot just when I was about to have a win. What’s happening now is I seem to be shying away from seeking or accepting help.  The resistance is trying to use this old fear to keep me from reaching out and taking chances. So screw you fear of success!  I’m going to get over myself and ask for help and accept it when it’s offered.

I went to a talk on the new book, ‘The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion’ at the Commonwealth Club last night - expect a review soon. At the Q and A someone asked, “why do we let fear control us” or something like that.  Michael Myer had an interesting response. He said if you’re afraid of failing in front of the boss, not conforming or making the boss mad, those are the wrong kind of fears.  If you’re afraid of your work not being great or not being passionate enough, those are the right kinds of fears because they will help you improve your work and who you are. 

Another way to look at having the right kind of fear is to have goals that can never be achieved; they can only be strived for.  Things like mastering the guitar or being an amazing copywriter. The more time you spend reaching, the better you’ll get at whatever you’re doing.  But there’s always room for improvement and ways to improve.  

One trick I’ve used to get myself to ask for help is to flip the equation.  To ask myself, how do I feel when I help someone?  That’s an easy question, I feel great!  So, if I don’t let someone help me, I’m being selfish. I’m robbing them of that wonderful feeling of being helpful.  Go forth and let someone help you!