This is an excerpt from the book I am writing called, “Living Your Purposeful Life”.

What is your relationship with fear? I am not talking about the fear for your life because you hear a strange noise in the house. I am talking about the fear of taking action in your daily life. For example, are you afraid to raise your hand in class or in a meeting, because you “might” have the wrong answer, or you are afraid of what people “might” think of your suggestion?

Think about fear for a moment and ask yourself, “Is fear holding me back?” Is it? It fear preventing you from raising your hand, or speaking out, because of what “might” happen to you? I do not believe the fear is something that we have to eliminate from our lives, because fear does cause us to pause and think before we take action, which can be very helpful as long as we do not let fear rule our lives and prevent us from experiencing what life has to offer us.

I know there are times where I have had fear rule parts of my life. When I was wrestling in my senior year of high school, the fear of losing caused me to perform terribly and though I did not lose, I did not win either. In work, the fear of how I might be judged has held me back in taking a leadership role I should have taken years ago. I know the fear of failure has prevented me from taking some chances in my life that might have lead to something wonderful.

When you get fearful of something, sit back and think about it for a moment. Ask yourself, what is the fear here to tell me? What outcome am I fearful about? May be fear is telling you that there is another option you need to consider, before taking action, or another question that needs to be asked before you present your opinion. May be fear is telling you that instead of making a statement, you need to present your opinion in the form of a question. For example, instead of saying, we should do “X”, may be you want to say, have we ever considered doing “X”?

Once you know what fear is there to tell you, are you willing to live with the outcome? Really look at the outcome. You may have to ask yourself, “what is the possible outcome?”, several times to really get the true outcome. Once you really get to the possible outcome, in most cases, the outcome of taking the fearful action is not as terrible as the fear lead you onto when fear first came up. Sometimes stepping out and stating your opinion will endear you more to the people you are having the conversation with. They may respect you more for sharing a different perspective. They may still disagree with you, but they will look at your differently for having a different opinion. They might start asking you for your opinion just to get a different perspective.

Somebody once said, “If the two of us always agree, then one of us is unnecessary.” Do not let fear keep your opinion to yourself.

Just for some fun, I looked up some of the acronyms for f.e.a.r. and here are some of the ones that I found which might be holding you back.

  • False Evidence Appearing Real

  • Forget Everything And Run

    • This might be good if you are facing some danger.

  • Finding Excuses And Reasons

  • Future Events Already Ruined

Here are some positive ones.

  • Fail Early And Responsibly – By Robert Kiyosak

  • Face Everything And Rejoice

  • Face Everything And Recover

  • Feeling Excited And Ready

    • This is the type of “fear” that I feel when I am getting ready to do something, like a presentation. It is an indication to me that I am ready, but not overconfident.

And some fun ones that represent something.

  • Flexible Embodied Animat Architecture

  • Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002

  • First Encounter Assault and Recon

  • Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

So, what is your relationship with fear? Do you use it to move you forward, or hold you back? There is no right answer. I would just like you become aware of what your relationship is, so that you can make a choice on what you want the relationship to be.