There is a Chinese proverb that says:
“When I was afraid, I was foolish. I am still afraid, but now I am wise.”
Well, not sure if it really is a Chinese proverb, I heard it Cantonese while in Hong Kong from a gray-haired, goat-teed, street-chess player as his opponent was pondering the next move. It sounds like it should be a proverb though, maybe it is…
Foolishness is acting immediately on impulses; acting on what we think is easiest. Foolishness comes by not learning from our mistakes. Fear can drive success or fear can encourage foolishness. Fear is evidenced in letting our actions be determined by outside influences.
I was afraid so many times in my life. I was afraid every time I tried out for sports teams from junior high through high school. I was afraid when I tried-out and made the BYU football team as a walk-on. I was afraid when I moved to Hong Kong, London, New York, Yuma, San Diego, and Houston. I was afraid when I wanted to ask my future wife to dance. I was afraid when I got fired. I was afraid when I became a father. I was afraid when I was promoted to lead a sales team. I am still afraid. I am afraid when I talk to customers. I am afraid when I teach classes. I am afraid I will not add value. I am afraid I will not serve enough.
Fear is the number 1 reason we do not achieve our potential. Fear kills success. Fear prevents action. Overcoming fear is a skill all of us can learn. Just like a muscle, the more we use it, the stronger it gets. Overcoming fear is not a race. It takes time.
Successful people understand that fear can be used as a tool to drive success. They have experience. They are have done it before. They are WISE:
W: Welcome The Fear
I: Interrogate The Fear
S: Separate The Fear
E: Employ The Fear
Fear is often an obstacle. Overcoming obstacles increases our confidence. When we are W.I.S.E. with our fears we are in control. When we are W.I.S.E. we are becoming the masters of our own emotions and more importantly, the masters of our actions. Embrace your fears. Interrogate your fears then separate your fears from your own sense of self-worth, and finally employ your fears to help motivate you take the needed action that will drive you to success. I am proud of my fear. Now, I let my fear serve me. Success is always found on the other side of fear.