How to Find Energy to Move Closer to the Edge

Spiders, snakes, and bears are scary.

I had a dream about a bear on railroad tracks when I was a kid. I don’t know if I’m afraid of bears because of the dream or I had the dream because I was afraid of bears. In either case, bears are really scary.


When we get past spiders, snakes, and bears, what really makes us afraid?

  1. Humiliation. Dishonor. Disapproval from self or others.
  2. Insignificance. Life without purpose or value.
  3. Aloneness. Betrayal. Isolation. Rejection. Disconnection.


Fear is energy to act.

People ask how I manage to write every day. Part of the fire is fear. Writing helps answer anxiety that I might not matter in this life. (#2 above.)

Your boss might say, “Improve or you’re fired.” Chances are you’ll do your best to step up. You might see yourself in new light after fear pushes you. Fear works. 

Apply it:

Fear and risk are oars on the same boat. 

  1. Who are you afraid to connect with? Address your fear of rejection by reaching out to someone for advice.
  2. How might you risk embarrassment? You have to try things you haven’t done in order to achieve things you haven’t achieved.
  3. How might you nudge your team closer to the edge? Ask, “How can we push ourselves on this project?”

A little risk makes the chili spicy.


Turn toward the future when taking risks.

You might say, “I’m working to lead meetings everyone loves to attend. I’m not sure how to do it. Here’s what I’m trying. What do you suggest?”

If you remove the forward-facing orientation from the above paragraph, all you have is, “I’m not sure how to lead meetings everyone loves to attend.” That’s weak.

A forward-facing posture makes vulnerability noble.

What role does fear play in success?

How might leaders use fear in their own life or in their leadership?