Monday, October 3, 2011

In the Face of Fear

"Fear destroys peoples dreams, it destroys our minds and bodies, it stops us in our tracks like a huge lion in your pathway. Fear stops us from taking the action we need to take in order to be all that we can be. Our potential is so much more than we sometimes perceive." ~ Greg De Tisi.
I remember a time when the slogan "Fear This" could be found on t-shirts and bumper stickers. After 9/11, fear again became a commonly used term. Terrorism has changed our way of life. We realize we have always been, and will forever be, vulnerable.

But should fear impair our ability to act? The heroic efforts of those unselfish Americans on United Flight 93 during that fateful day in September 2001 showed that fear could be realized and turned into a powerful positive action. Their actions to bring down the terrorists in power of the aircraft may very well of saved the lives of many Americans.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a dear friend about how fears effect decision making. She mentioned that most often fear is located in our blind spots. Confronting our fears could very well open doors of opportunites that we felt were previously closed.

In yet another conversation, a coworker and I discussed the recent movement of firefighters commited to balancing work and family. He suggested that this movement may have an adverse effect on the fire organization. He contends that leaders may be becoming more content with their present jobs and becoming less likely to move up the ladder and into much needed upper level leadership positions.

I'm not sure if the last conversation was about contentment or fear. I've talked with quite a few fire leaders who've indicated that they could never fill the shoes of those who came before them.

What are your fears? How can you turn them into a positive action?

Additional information and reading:
Johnathan Fields on Uncertainty - an interview with Steven Pressfield

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