Your Biggest Enemy: Fear

by | March 10, 2009

Fear is a career changer's greatest enemy.

We're not born with either fear or courage. We develop both as we go along. I remember, as a child, being afraid to get out of bed during the night. I knew there were monsters under my bed waiting to grab my ankles and ... what?

I don't recall what was supposed to happen after they grabbed me. Perhaps my child mind couldn't even go there. But I had a solution: Jump quickly out of bed landing as far as possible from their reach. I was always successful. They never got me. Apparently my monsters had pretty short arms.

And isn't it odd? They didn't scamper after me as I walked down the dark hall to the bathroom, but they were still lurking under the bed waiting for my return. Their power came from being unseen.

I never looked under the bed to make sure. Didn't have to. I knew they were there. No confirmation needed, thank you very much. And it would be way too scary to see them.

I also knew they weren't there during the day because when called upon to clean up my room, the quick and favorite option was to push things under the bed. Where did the monsters go during the day? With that much power, I guess they could go wherever they pleased. A trip to the beach? Camping? What do monsters do for fun where they're not scaring us?

Jon Carroll, a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, formed an interesting principle about fear while feeding pigeons at a lake with his nearly 2-year-old granddaughter:

"Lauren did not like the pigeons when they gathered too thickly around her feet. She sometimes wanted to flee. I pointed out that if she walked toward the pigeons, they would fly away. She was bigger than they were.

"It was a new concept. Last week, as I saw her stamping her feet and watching the birds hurry out of her way, I thought that maybe I'd hit on a good principle: Walking toward the fear is always a good idea. You're bigger than it is; you just don't know it yet."

You are bigger than the sum of your fears. Stomp your feet. Turn on the light. Look under the bed. Face the fear and walk toward it. The power of fear is the power you give to it.

Filed Under: Job Search


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