This morning I woke up anxious. I don’t know why. I just had that unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong. Not knowing what only made it worse. Instead of avoiding it I call it what it is… irrational fear.
Now you may, or may not, have this same experience regularly or every now and then. The truth is that we all get afraid at some point. My little bout with feeling afraid could have been a reaction to launching a new program in my business. It could have been a reaction to a memory or a particularly emotional conversation. It might have just been caused by the absence of an ’emergency’ to deal with. As business people we can easily get conditioned to thinking that progress is really running around putting out fires (which I often call managing by fire hose), and when there are no fires we get uncomfortable.
Regardless of what caused it I felt it. I’ve learned over the years there’s no unfeeling it once it is there. So, I just let it be. I took a few extra deep breaths, I slowed down a little bit and acknowledged that something was wrong. I gave myself permission to feel scared for a few minutes. Then it drained away and I was able to move on with my day. Fear happens… I’ve learned to deal with it pretty effectively when it does… and it can happen a lot as an entrepreneur.
When I sat down at my desk I decided to do a quick search on what other people say about fear and overcoming it. So here is a short list of my 10 favorite quotes about fear. Hopefully they will help you when that sinking feeling starts to rise in your belly, or when your pulse starts to quicken.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“When you do what you fear most, then you can do anything.” – Stephen Richards
“I have accepted fear as a part of life- specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back…” – Erica Jong
“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” – Mark Twain
“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert in “Dune”
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” -Henry Ford
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay…. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda in “Star Wars”
Leave a comment and share your own experience of dealing with fear. I’d love to hear about it.
Feel free to connect with me directly at www.linkedin.com/in/ericbyrd.