Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What’s Fear Got to Do With It?

We welcome a new contributor Jeremy Bennett to the blog. Jeremy is the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Regional WUI and Prevention Specialist, Midwest Region and BIA representative to the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee.

A Lesson from Fear

What motivated me to write this? For many years I have been writing short stories in my journal (not imaginary stories, but significant events in my life, questions, experiences, and expressions of gratitude), documenting my ideas and thoughts, which to me, seem profound lessons or moments of understanding. I enjoy writing (when I can get my thoughts to come out like I think them in my head), and have a deep aspiration to someday write a book. I have also received great feedback from my annual Christmas letter (often bringing family members and friends to tears) and other “stories” I have written. But there has always been something holding me back, a fear that I don’t exactly know the origin of. It is a fear of being judged, a fear that what I say or write is not good enough. Whatever the cause of this fear it has held me back, it has blocked me from sharing my ideas and stories which may have impact on someone else, passing on information that could be useful to someone.

Fear is a very powerful negative emotion. Fear can inspire people to do bad things, it breads ignorance, can be a huge motivator, but also can cause paralysis or inactivity. Overcoming fear, to turn away from fear and ignorance, is an important step for a developing leader. It is often noted that we fail at the fringe of our experiences, accidents and fatalities are often tied to “missing slides,” not having the experience to make timely or adequate decisions. Think about what you are not good at, what makes you uncomfortable, what are your own weaknesses, and the things or situations you want to avoid. Many of these are somehow tied to a fear of some sort, at some level. Many times this fear is the root of our failures.

Writing this brief blog article is for me overcoming a fear that has been blocking me. I can thank a guy by the name of Tim Ferriss and a video I stumbled across of him telling a story about his own fears and his process for overcoming them. This story inspired me, it motivated me, and gave me enough confidence to turn fear in to a learning opportunity (turning a negative into a positive and using this as a powerful learning experience).

My plan is to write a series of articles or stories about my journey (thus far) towards becoming a “student of fire.” I hope to inspire some thought in others about what it means to them to be a student of fire. More to come…the pressure is on!

What fears are holding you back? Face those fears and expand those fringes of experience.

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