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Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 11:17 AM
Action is the antidote to fear
Curt Rosengren on Passionate Work

Have you ever noticed how much bigger our fears often are than reality? They take on monstrous proportions, keeping us stuck in place when we really want to be moving forward. Then when we finally start taking steps towards whatever it is we fear we say, "Oh, that wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought. Why didn't I do that sooner?!"

In my article in Worthwhile, The F Word, one of the things I talk about as an antidote to fear is action. It never ceases to amaze me how starting to take steps towards something is like letting the air out of a big fear balloon (complete with ppphhhhhtt sound effects - but maybe that's just in my head).

So much of fear's energy comes when you're in stasis. When you're sitting there and staring at the thing you fear, the energy behind that fear builds and builds. It's like a pressure cooker - the pressure builds and builds. When you start taking steps you create a release valve for that fear.

Some of that release comes by equalizing the pressure inside and out. The intensity of the fear was never in line with reality. Part of it comes because taking action and seeing success - even in small steps - builds your confidence to do even more. And part of it comes because taking steps brings you further down the path. What was unknown becomes known.

So what step can you take today? And then tomorrow? And then next week?


Janet Auty-Carlisle - 4/30/2006 11:07:19 PM
Hey Curt, Again, nice work. I want to be the Canadian correspondent for Worthwhile...so, my next step is putting that intention out there...Kevin? Anita? are you listening? Living la vida fearless, Jan
Jason Feldman - 4/27/2006 9:20:14 PM
Eddie I have read David Reynolds too. You are right to recommend Constructive Living. As for fear, I have found it only resides within and can consume me. Nobody knows my fear and I try that to remember that. It helps me keep my fear in perspective. I'll go check out The F word.
Tom Seymour - 4/26/2006 4:51:35 PM
Curt, I went clicked over and read your piece from the magazine and it was like you told my story: Everyone else's career risks were small potatoes compared to mine. (Or so I thought.) As a result, I slogged into my job each day (at a telecom reseller), knowing it was the wrong fit but too afraid to change anything. I felt almost paralyzed. Then one day, I decided I couldn't be worse off. Just like that, I had an epiphany -- how could what I might be doing next be worse?? I can't say I had any kind of magic decison process. I just did it. Like Will Hewett in your story, my decision to quit could have been "an invitation for all the critics and demons to party in my head." But once I made the leap, I felt an anchor lifting -- it was amazing. Really amazing. Anyway, forgive the long comment and thanks for taking on this important issue.
Eddie Friedman - 4/26/2006 3:58:52 PM
Excellent observations ! Along these lines, see any of the work of David Reynolds, who developed a philosophy he named Constructive Living. Best, Eddie
Lori Richardson - 4/26/2006 12:40:40 PM
Curt, this is so true. In working with sales professionals, many newer reps and entrepreneurs are fearful to follow up with prospective customers - thinking they don't want to "pester" the prospect, and don't want to be rejected, when in actuality, the worst thing that can happen is that they just say "no" for now. Fear can be a very negative force in selling. Once you are committed to the value your products or services bring to the world, allowing fear to hold you back keeps those that could benefit from your services and products from getting their problems solved.


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