Heading out for our Whiteboard Wednesday photo events is one of my favourite parts of contributing to this blog, not only because I love to have a chance to chat with folks from all over campus, but because of the amazing answers to our questions that some of you come up with. After the photos are taken, when we’re mapping out which posts will be written and by whom, we often look for overarching themes in the answers that we’ve been given in order to show what many of you are thinking about. But sometimes we find a single photo with an answer that really hits us, and so we feel the need to write a post about just that one image. That’s what happened this week, and here’s the photo that inspired this post:
‘I am motivated by… Fear’
Fear is an interesting thing. It has the ability to completely shut a person down and stop them in their tracks. But it can also be used as a motivator, as these two pointed out.
Everyone is afraid of something. Actually, most of us have more than one something that has the ability to make us feel anxious. Fear is normal; an evolved response in our primitive lizard brains that’s supposed to keep us safe. Being in a scary situation brings out our old fight-or-flight response, most commonly the half that makes us want to run away. The first thing we want to do is rush back to our comfort zone, because nothing is more uncomfortable than being afraid.
We tend to view fear as a weakness. We focus so much on the fact that being afraid can hold people back, that we often forget about the ways that it can move them forward.
‘Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.’ Source: Pinterest
It takes a shift in mentality to be able to use fear as a motivator. You have to acknowledge that you are afraid (which in itself can be a little bit scary), and then you must step back out of the place where you feel comfortable to face your fear head on. When you let yourself see fear as a source of motivation, you give yourself a challenge, something to beat. For those of us who have a competitive spirit, it’s situations like this that can allow us to thrive, because we get to compete against ourselves to get through what we are afraid of. Bill Cosby sums up what I’m trying to say really well with this fantastic quote:
‘Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it’ -Bill Cosby Source: Pinterest
People are constantly talking about the importance of taking risks in leadership and in life, but it is often overlooked that more often than not, real risks involve fear. The point isn’t to eliminate fear, because that’s pretty unlikely to happen. It’s important to remember that courage is about going out and trying your best even when you feel afraid.