Tag Archives: fear

It Resides Between The Ears


Annie

Annie

I noticed our dog, Annie, was avoiding our home’s wood floors. Being a cold day, I thought she was warmer standing on a rug.  However, there was more than a chilly floor on her mind as she danced nervously on the rug’s edge, instead of making a mad dash to her food dish.

A strange thought had taken residence between her ears: she is frightened of wood floors.  You can see her trying to figure out how to maneuver from one area to another.  To get to the kitchen she will run from the family room rug to another under a game table, only to realize she is further away; return and try again.

For some reason, the hall between the dining and living room is dangerous but the one from the dining room to the kitchen is okay.  Entering through the front door she rushes to the dining room rug; from there, through the “good” hallway, to the rug in the kitchen; then to the rug under the breakfast table; to the rug in front of the door to the utility room and finally to the utility room and her dinner dish.  With a pause to build courage at each stop, it is a somewhat sad but hilarious process.

Annie is not alone in being afflicted by unshakable thoughts.  My golf game was pretty good until I shanked a short-iron shot.  I realized, not turning my shoulders occasioned the problem so I became conscious about making a good shoulder turn.

The next Saturday, I met my buddies on the first tee and foregoing any warm up, hit a good tee shot. On the fourth hole, while swinging my sand wedge I wondered if I was turning my shoulders.  At that time, I should have quit and gone to the clubhouse for a beer—stick a fork in me, I was done.  Like Annie and the floors, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.

Fears and beliefs, residing in the mind, can prevent success. Ideas—such as the fear of failure or the mindset of there being just one way to do a job.

I have an acquaintance who hates his job. He complains about his boss, pay, hours and lack of advancement.  He has developed a plan for a new business venture—one I believe will succeed—and funding is lined up. However, as much as he hates his job, he fears failure more.  He hasn’t recognized the misery accruing from failure, could be no worse than the unhappiness he is enduring.

It took drastic action to convince an employee there was more than one way to a job. A mechanic in our sheet metal shop invented excuses not to use a new piece of equipment. Accustomed to the old machine, he did not want to change. To no avail, I begged, I cajoled and I threatened.  One night, using a length of chain and a padlock, I rendered the old machine inoperable; forcing him to use the new device.  A few days later, he thanked me for making his job easier.

Behavior, how someone responds to problems, challenges and opportunities, is part nature and part nurture. Some people are bold and fearless; while, others are timid and cautious. A bold/fearless person, might have a tendency to make precipitous decisions; while a timid/cautious person might miss out on opportunities.

An understanding of behavior, allows one to adapt his or her responses: a person who understands his tendency to make precipitous decisions will be cautious; conversely, a person who understands he might miss an opportunity due to his tendency to be cautious, will be bolder. An understanding of one’s behavior can be obtained through experience. Another, and often less painful than experience, is through a behavioral analysis, such as a DISC profile.

Success in life, work and relationships stems from understanding and having a sense of self—of deeply comprehending who you are, what you do and how you do it.

For more information go to www.e3-consulting.net.

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Fear Can Drive Success


Every Halloween one of my favorite videos is shown on America’s Favorite Videos. Dressed as a scarecrow, a man sits on his front porch, in a rocking chair next to a box containing trick or treat candy. When someone reached for the candy, the costumed man jumped to his feet scaring the unsuspecting trick-or-treater. The joke worked until a large man reacted by delivering a punch knocking the scarecrow to the floor.

The “Fight or Flight” syndrome describes how someone reacts when they are unexpectedly frightened.

Taking a walk, my wife Terri and I came across a neighbor’s yard sale. The man hosting the sale told Terri he had a special memento she might be interested in. She watched as he slowly opened a box; suddenly, without warning a fake squirrel sprung out. I grabbed her arm as she was starting to swing at the guy’s nose. “Fight or Flight,” Terri’s instinct when startled is to fight.

In a magazine survey, respondents were asked which golf shot they feared most. I expected a difficult stroke to be the number one answer: out of a sand trap; over water or an attempt out of deep rough. Surprisingly, the top answer was “The first shot off of the number 1 tee.”  The fear of failing in front of  people waiting to tee off gave rise the response.

The fear of failing in front of others is responsible for one of people’s greatest terrors, the fear of public speaking. The trepidation engendered from speaking in public is not limited to addressing a large audience; it prevents people from expressing their opinions in small meetings. I have  heard people utter, “I wanted to say something but I was afraid someone would find my opinion to be stupid.”

There are people who seek out situations that others dread. They thrive on  success: a place kicker called upon to kick the winning field goal with only seconds left in the game; a political candidate addressing an audience of thousands of people; a fireman rushing into a burning building. 

I am not convinced you ever truly overcome a deep-seated dread of something; I do believe you can learn to harness and use it to drive success. When you recognize and accept a fear you can take actions overcome it: golf lessons, Toastmasters and the list goes on.  Whatever you do will pay off in ways far beyond overcoming your fear.

Fear

It is not a matter of being fearless. The fear is sometimes constant, but it’s about moving forward regardless of the fear. Courage means feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” -Gillian Anderson