Are you scared? Good!


There are two categories of things we worry about in life: things within our control, and things outside of it. 

The good thing is, there’s nothing to do about the things in the second category, so let’s spend our precious energy on the first: the things we can control.

The things we can control happen when we make the decision for them to happen, even if the resulting action is to not act on them. Either way, we make a decision.

And a lot of these decisions can be truly scary. You know, the kind that keeps you up at night, that gives you a knot in the stomach and makes you obsess over. Moving house, having this big dreaded chat at work about your promotion, or deciding which schools would be best suited for your kids - you name it.

The dread you feel about the decision you are faced with is often the root cause of our common enemy: procrastination. It’s the fear that keeps us from taking action, from making that decision and moving forward. Sounds about right?

I think Fear is actually a good feeling to have. It doesn’t have to be a roadblock. 

I believe Fear is the sign that you care. If you didn't care about the decision or action ahead of you, you wouldn’t be scared, correct? 

Too often we are afraid of what we have to lose by making a decision, or taking action. When we do this, our brain focuses on the things that will not happen as a result of decision, or about the things that could go wrong once we take action. The negative aspect of taking action.

This is one side of the coin of every action: the negative consequences, the scary “what-if” scenarios. And as we know, to every negative side, there is a positive one. So it is totally within our control to ask ourselves this question:

Yes, it is terrifying to think of what could go wrong if I act, but what could go right? 

Instead of letting the fear of having something to lose take control of your action (or lack thereof for that matter), recognise the Fear, take control and focus on what you have to win.

It might not look obvious at first, but in every decision we make there is something to win and to look forward to. Take the time to acknowledge how you feel - terrified? good! - and ask yourself what is there to look forward to in this action. If there is nothing good for you, for anyone else, then by all means drop the action, and decide to move on. Even there, you have made your decision. If you know you want to act, but are afraid and therefore you keep postponing, look for the bright side of your action. Why do you want to do it in the first place?

Sometimes it might be something amazing and life changing, like a house move, and sometimes it will be something less grand but still full of reward, like having a difficult conversation with a team member about their performance. 

Sometimes the benefits will be clearly seen, and in other instances, they will be more discreet to everyone else, but you will feel great and proud of yourself for having faced a difficult moment head-on.

The moment you ask yourself this, your brain will have to think positively, and this will get you solidly excited and motivated about taking action. Thinking positively about your decision also makes you think much more long-term, and opens up your mind about all the good things that will happen as a result of your action. In addition, it also means that your energy when you take action will be much more positive than if you go into it only thinking about what could go wrong.

So, next time you feel Fear about a decision in your life, don’t let it hold you back and instead ask yourself: what have I got to win?