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How to Control Your Fear and Make it Work for You

I’m not talking about intimidating your peers or bullying your employees. I’m talking about the fear that you feel when your life or your career is hanging by a thread.

Remember the scene in ‘Rocky Balboa’ when he’s about to fight the heavy-weight champion Mason Dixon? Rocky asks the champ “Are you scared?” to which Dixon responds “I’m never scared” (or something like that). And Rocky whispers to his son, “Too bad, fear makes you try harder.”

I like that.

Fear is probably the most universal and ubiquitous emotion. I suppose that’s why the bible tells us to “Fear Not” 365 times (once for each day of the year). It’s what everyone feels when they’re in unfamiliar territory. But it also compels you to figure a way out!

If your fear causes you to act decisively in order  to avoid a detrimental situation, that’s a good thing.  And if you’re already in a detrimental situation, fear motivates you to find a way out!

Here’s how to make your fear work for you and not against you:

  • define the problem;
  • define every possible consequence to the problem;
  • determine if the problem is within your control;
  • when it is within your control,  document the action(s) that you will take to fix it;
  • even when it is beyond your control, there is something you can do to be better prepared for the consequence(s);
  • write down the pros and cons if each action;
  • write down the pros and cons of inaction;
  • review your documentation, and critically evaluate all your options;
  • act decisively to eliminate the problem.

There’s something about writing things down that helps you to gain a better perspective of what you’re dealing with. It forces you to think more clearly and reason through your muddled feelings, rather than react impulsively.

Finally, it is important to understand that the thing that causes you to fear will not go away unless you tackle it. That requires courage. But it also requires a plan. What I have shared with you is a simple but sure way to get started. If you don’t make your fear work for you, it will work against you.

What other methods have you tried to make your fear work for you?

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