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How to Use Your Fears to Win

Jan 04, 2023

Your fears are holding you back.

You know it and I know it, so what can you do about it?

If you take a moment to do some honest self-reflection on your past success and past failures, you’re likely going to find that in times where you had success you acted courageously. While your times of failure are likely rooted in allowing your fears to dictate the outcome.

It’s an important point to be aware of, especially if you want to find more successes in the future, and hopefully less failures. 

An important place to start is to understand exactly what courage is; the opposite of fear (right?). If you decided to take to a dictionary, you’ll be sorely misguided to where many people start to fail. For example, is going to tell you that Courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

This is where you start to go wrong. You’re led to believe that to be courageous, you need to be without fear. This is false. Courage is a virtue that enables a person to face difficulties well, but it does not mean that you face those difficulties without fear. 

You may have picked up on the use of the term ‘virtue.’ This is another important point to understanding courage as compared to some misplaced cousins such as being brave and bold. You see, courage is a virtue because it’s about putting a greater good before a lesser good. Right or wrong, anyone who is bold will be considered brave by someone. For example, if you were to pick a fight with the biggest guy in a bar, that’d be bold; but there’s nothing courageous about it. There’s no good in it. Boldness can be bad just as it can be good. Courage, however, is about doing the right thing despite the obstacles, challenges, and your fears.

Mark Twain is quoted to have said, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." Fear can be debilitating without courage. It’s a see-saw balance slash boxing match that you want to see courage show up as the heavier contender over its rival fear. As with any bout, it’s important to know your opponent. 

Outside of fears for physical health in dangerous situations, what we most often fear are three things:

First, Loss Pain - that by changing or advancing in our lives we will lose something important to us. Second, we fear process pain – that the mere act or process of changing will be too hard for us. Third, we fear outcome pain – that all the effort we put into changing may not lead to a better outcome in our lives, that the “grass might not be greener.

So how do you use fear to win? You use it as a call to action! If you’re feeling that anxiety of fear, start by asking yourself, “What is the right thing to do?” Remember that courage is a virtue to choose a greater good over a lessor, so by clarifying what the right thing to do is then you know that fear is summoning your courage.

Your fear is summoning you to show up, to be strong, to be courageous. Use it to forge a better future for yourself and contribute to your community. Confront your fears honorably and honor the struggle. To be afraid is to be human. You are perfectly human! 

No, it won’t be easy; but you will be courageous!


About the Author

Dale Walls has been on a life-long path in leadership and high-performance. Following an honorable U.S. Marine Corps enlistment, he returned to his small-town home where he founded an IT Service Company (Corsica Technologies) that grew to be one of the best in class in the United States. After nearly two decades of growing Corsica to eight-figure revenues and making multiple acquisitions, Dale sold the company and founded Lions Guide. He now spends his days fulfilling his passion to help other business-owners and organizational leaders achieve their goals.

About Lions Guide

Lions Guide is a performance and leadership development company that provides services that help business-owners and organizational leaders strengthen their performance and leadership skills so that they can show up confident in their ability to execute.

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