Before we go any further, take the 4 minutes to watch this video where Will Smith talks about his experience of skydiving. There's humor, honesty, and hope shared within it: What Skydiving Taught Me about Fear
Did you catch these powerful quotes he offered?
The one that hit me hard was the 2nd bullet as he asked a question (and left it unanswered). I do not know his intent there, but I think it was intentional to force each of us to answer the question. What do we need fear for? At its most natural element, fear is a survival instinct that, when triggered, produces a fight or flight reaction. For us, however, we far too often use it for other purposes. We use fear to keep us comfortable by excusing away things that may be difficult. If you doubt that statement, answer this question - why do you put off difficult conversations? Yep, fear and discomfort!
There is an ancient Hebrew proverb that says this: "the eye is the lamp of the body." In other words, what we focus on regularly will create specific follow-through later. What we "see" in our minds and what we think about determines actions and outcomes. Right here, this point, is where the question about fear becomes vital for our lives. If we primarily "see" fear, we will shape our actions accordingly. Instead, we need to acknowledge the presence of fear BUT no longer use it as a lens through which we "see." As Will Smith alluded to, we have to see past the fear by focusing on the bliss that is merely beyond it. Fear, when left unchecked, gets us to forget that joy that life affords to us - if we would only choose it.
Here is a personal example: while in graduate school the first time, I spent a year getting to know a young lady. She and I corresponded regularly and I really wanted to date her. My problem was FEAR! As an avowed introvert who never had many girlfriends and was just considered an "average guy," all I could see were reasons why she would have no interest in me. While out of state and working at a camp during the summer, I wrote her a letter asking her interest in dating me. I put that letter in the mailbox and would then take it out only to put it back in and then take it out. A colleague working at the same camp took the letter and drove it to the post office to remove this burden from me. She said yes! We dated for several years and have been married almost 20 years. I focused on the rejection that was possible instead of the reward on the other side of the risk.
As you think about your life and leadership, are you running or are you rising? Has fear captured your attention or has faith changed your action? Are you seeing the present worry or the possible win? Have you chosen to passively exist or purposefully endeavor? Your outlook, as the Hebrew proverb states, determines your outcomes.
Live like you want to lead...