Today, I will not live in fear.
For all too many years, I did. I lived with fear. Even as I write this I can replay the feeling. The tightening muscles. The cold rush of adrenaline. It stops you dead in your tracks.
I won’t say anything trite like “fear has been my friend”. It hasn’t been my friend. It’s been my companion, but never my friend.
What did I fear? The list is endless. I’ll spare you the personal side of fear and for the sake of this piece I’ll focus on the fear that accompanied me in my career.
Would I be passed over for a promotion? Would I make a mistake? Not even real mistakes — I could work myself into a lather just thinking I could make a mistake. I spent time wondering what could go wrong. It wasn’t even fear of big consequences — even the shame, the blow to my ego of a mistake happening on my “watch”. I even feared being wrong.
It wasn’t just the fear of mistakes. There was another type of fear. Fear of loss. I feared losing my status — what if I wasn’t recognized for my accomplishments? I even feared of losing things I didn’t even have — fear of not getting that promotion or that raise, that job I deserved. I could go on…and on…
I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out that I wasn’t alone. If you didn’t feel this way at one time or another, you are in the remarkable few. I applaud you. The rest of us are as described by Thoreau, the poet and keen observer of the human conditions who once said, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation”.
One day, for me, that changed…