Grapple with Fear and Live Boldly

A person oblivious to fear doesn’t enjoy the thrill of achievement. But anxiety gone mad rejects exploring all together.

Fear makes us like, “the farmer is endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself.” (Apologies to Henry David Thoreau for misapplying a brilliant sentence.)

Simplicity offends anxiety. Complexity comforts fear by providing excuses to play it safe.

Complexity comforts fear. Image of a timid dog.

Fear endorses:

  1. Inaction.
  2. Avoidance.
  3. Conformity.
  4. Self-doubt.
  5. Withdrawal.
  6. Negative self-talk.
  7. Procrastination.

“It’s ruinous to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery.” Seneca


You might blow yourself up if you were fearless. But imagine living boldly.

#1. Bold flexibility.

Confidence steps into uncertainty prepared to adapt. Anxiety requires perfection. Perfectionists live small lives.

#2. Realistic decision-making.

Dread lives to avoid. Courage seizes opportunities.

Stop living to prevent things from happening.

What future can you create today?

#3. Deep insight.

My wife planted a small garden this spring. She comes in some days saying, “Next year I’m not going to plant herbs in the garden.” Or, “We need to stake the tomatoes better next year.”

Inaction gives the illusion of knowledge. Action promotes insight.

The person with dirt under their nails really knows.

Act boldly today:

#1. Don’t visualize success.

Visualize the steps toward success.

You can visualize a garden all you want but nothing happens until you get dirty.

#2. Forget about bold moves.

When anxiety has you by the throat make a series of small moves. If you don’t die keep making small moves.

#3. Reject the myth of quick success.

Embrace effortful effort.

#4. Jettison the need to feel confident.

Our need to feel confident while filled with anxiety multiplies discouragement. Embrace lack of confidence. “Well, hello there Mr. Anxiety. I’ve been expecting you. Fasten your seatbelt. We’re moving forward.”

What are some ways to tap into boldness?

Still curious:

The Real Advantage of Fear and Anxiety in Leadership

7 Ways to Find Graceful Boldness

What is the Function of Fear in Leadership?

John David Mann and I invite you to pre-order our new book, The Vagrant: The Inner Journey of Leadership.