When you’re really scared, step forward

If you run forward, at least you have a chance

Fear comes in many forms and many guises. Do you ever get scared of a particular challenge? Of doing something that will test you physically, emotionally and spiritually? Every year I find a challenge for myself – something that will push me, that will hurt me and which I will overcome. I’m yet to fail a challenge I have set myself, but only because I have planned and been well prepared. Sometimes life doesn’t give you those opportunities, but we have to face the pain anyway and move on. When I first saw ‘Saving Private Ryan’ I sat in the cinema transfixed to the battle scene at the start of the film; I couldn’t believe the ferocity and sat asking myself ‘what would I have done?’ After the film I phoned a friend of mine who served in the first Gulf War and many other campaigns. I asked him ‘what do you do in situations like that ? When you are under heavy fire and you are certain you will die’. He said ‘you have to move forward, it’s the only choice you have. If you stay where you are, you’ll die. If you run forward at least you have a chance’.

Living without fear

I learned massively from that conversation. It’s true; if you stay where you are, you die. This is true of every sphere of your life. If you don’t attack hard when under threat you will lose. If you don’t nurture your relationship and make it grow, it will die. If you don’t work on your business, other people will work on theirs and your business will die. If you don’t strive to improve at work either the company will die or your position in the company will. If you want to progress then you must move forward, you must train harder and smarter and you must face life without fear.

The courage of your convictions

Easier said than done. We worry about what might happen if we take a stand, if we say something we believe in, but many do not. Winston Churchill had this challenge in the 1930’s when talking about Hitler. At the time no-one wanted to listen to ‘Churchill, the war mongerer’; he was proved right though. Often we believe ourselves to be right about particular issues. We have to be congruent with our convictions and so we move forward. We’re not always right though and we can worry that we are going to make a ‘bad decision’. You can even see this at a restaurant; people will sit and look at the menu for a few minutes and then ask ‘what are you having?’ They can’t even make a decision about food. What chance do these people have in the real world? It’s not about getting it 100% right, it’s often good enough to have a go at 50-60% as long as some positive action occurs. people who describe themselves as ‘perfectionists’ are often too scared to make a decision of any sort. They’ll wait until just the right moment, except that rarely are there ever any good moments, we just have to trust our instincts and go with it.

Making decisions

In my last blog I talked about ‘consistency’. This comes into play again with the fear of being made to look a fool, or of people looking at you, ¬†preventing you from training in martial arts. The truth is you just have to make a good decision. A decision that moves you closer to your ultimate goal – if you don’t know what that goal is then it is no wonder you’re having problems. Remember, no matter what background you have, some success that you are trying to achieve, everything happens because you faced your fear and made a decision. This spreads across your life: the girl or boy you chose to spend your life with (how long will it last?); the job or career decision you made; the shoes and clothes you wore to your last interview. 80% is enough to become a raging success. If you’re only getting it wrong on 20% of the time, you must hit it big, by sheer statistics. The old 80-20 rule. The video I’ve included this week is a little long; if you want to skip to the truly brave part go to 7.19 and watch it from there. To get the complete metaphor watch how the officer’s weak decisions got people killed by watching the whole video.. It is when you are at your lowest point that you will often find how strong you are. Your worst day can often be your best day, when viewed in hindsight. You can also re-examine a mistake from the past to see the way forward as well. Have courage, be brave, be scared and do it anyway.

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