Fear is a choice – I can be afraid and paralyzed or I can be afraid and act. The test isn’t being fearless it is being courageous. I heard Jamie Clarke @JC_Climbs and Suzanne West @IamSuzanneWest speak today about failure and the mountain climbing adventurer confessed that he wavers from cowardice to courage in situations that have too many variables. Some days he courts failure as a lover so he can learn from her and other days he hides from her because she can be cruel and unrelenting in seeking accountability. When he faces her she teaches him important lessons.
Suzanne, who is one of the most self aware people I know, is courageous in her actions, big and brash in her approach and relentless in learning from her failures. They are both inspired by people who are courageous against all odds – Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, Laurie Kresslet… Fear is a choice – easy to say, harder to do. Making a choice to move when the mistress is coaxing you to hide, urging you to retreat, inviting you to make excuses is really hard. But when you opt to act, her power wains and yours increases. Even if you fail after facing a fear, you are better off than failing to act and living with the fear and the unknown.
I choose to let fear compromise me sometimes. On the days that I only give 75% (really anything less than 100%), I am preparing a justification for not reaching the goal. “Well I didn’t really work that hard.” as if to justify the limited progress. Fear and failure are about limits. Fear sets a limit, usually way inside our maximum performance or ability and then convinces us not to near that line in the sand. Failure is an accumulation of errors until you reach a limit. If you have an exam in front of you and you haven’t done the preparation. Fear might say ” If you get 60%, that is okay” Failure occurs when you answer too many questions incorrectly and the accumulation drops the percentage below a prescribed pass/fail level.
What if we approached tests, prepared and ready, but also prepared and ready to accept nothing less than our best effort and prepared and ready to learn how you can approach the next exam? Would we move closer to our best? Are you demanding the best from yourself? Is anyone seeing your best work? If the answer is “no” then you might have something to really fear. And another choice to make.
I know I write a lot about risk, courage and taking action. Know that these posts are as much for me as for you.
Make Today Remarkable, by acknowledging fear and acting anyway,