What Are You Afraid Of?


This week’s post comes from Dave Crumrine.

It’s not quite Halloween, but there still seems to be plenty of stuff around to scare us.

Recently I have had a number of opportunities to reflect on why I’m not moving ahead on something or why I’m simply slow to act. When kicking this around with a trusted colleague, they asked “what do you think you are afraid of?” 

After thinking about this a little, it was pretty obvious why I was dragging my feet…and pretty obvious that I really hadn’t acknowledged it. I think much of this comes down to awareness. There are things most of us don’t even know we are afraid of. Our self-defense systems start working, our brains classify something as “dangerous” and it doesn’t make it out of our “lizard brain” to the rational part of our brain where we can really think about it. We filter it…somewhat automatically.  

Since watching this a little more closely for myself, I notice it happens quite a bit. I have found a few tricks that help me get past being reluctant to act or to not get certain things done. When I feel this is happening,  I ask myself the question “what are you afraid of?” and almost magically…it becomes clear. The question seems to move the fear from the subconscious part of my mind to the rational, thinking part. After that, I can make sense of it and it almost always becomes more manageable. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) I end up feeling silly about what was slowing me down. 

If it is bigger than that, or a “repeater” (something I keep avoiding), I have learned to make progress by asking “what is the worst that can happen?” or “how likely is it that this will turn out poorly?”.  Again, this rational effort works great for getting me to be real about the fear and the importance of what I am avoiding…and then more active at moving ahead.

Are you resisting change? Are you not “leaning into” your challenges? Is your progress not satisfactory in your mind?

Simply ask “what am I afraid of?” and see what happens. When you get that mastered, you can start helping other people question what they are afraid of.

Continue Leading the Interstates Way!

Dave Crumrine