I asked Ironman Lou “Why do you hesitate?” with respect to his girlfriend. He replied:
“Fear…Fear that there is someone better out there for me, fear that it will end in divorce, fear that I’m taking on a liability and not an asset. Concerned that I do not have that head over heels feeling (which I’ve never really had with anyone), concerned that I am not 100% and they say you need to be 100% or that you’ll know when the time is right.”
Ironman Adam sent me this to an email exchange about fear and excuses:
“When I encounter a barrier, I often think about what I am afraid of; what is the fear. For example, I have been doing a great job with planning out my work/life to meet my goals; such that, when I plan a week and do it, I have a really fantastic week. I move things forward substantially. However, I don’t always execute. I would say 1/3 of the weeks I kill it with doing 90% of my tasks. 1/3 of the weeks I do terrible with maybe 20-30% of the tasks. 1/3 of the weeks I do maybe half. I haven’t figured out this execution piece, but it caused me to think of what is my fear in this excuse of not doing it. One thought was fearing what state I would be in if I do 100% execute and then I didn’t get what wanted. By not giving it my all, I always have an out of: “well I didn’t really want it, otherwise I would have given it my best; like I always do”. Even though I have only given my best in a very small subset of my life. I hope to start asking myself more explicitly: did I do my best today?”
Fear, we all have it in one or more of its many expressions. Fear of failure. Fear of Success. Fear of making permanent mistakes. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of lost opportunity. Fear of incompetence. Fear of being thought less of. Fear of becoming someone not desired. I won’t waste your time on discussions of how a healthy fear can save your life by not jumping off the cliff or staying out of the bull ring. There’s a difference between feeling a rush of adrenaline and being an idiot. Alcohol blurs that line. Fear is a God-given tool to help us pause and reflect since there are no mountain lions chasing us anymore. Today’s discussion is about the balance between healthy and unhealthy fear in everyday life.
Because fear makes us pause, it can also freeze us in place which can be a general problem. Take Lou’s dilemma. He doesn’t want to make a permanent mistake that he’ll come to regret later. Fair enough. Will he find someone else after he marries that could have been a better fit? Maybe. The grass always seems greener elsewhere. But importantly grass grows where you water it. There are thousands of women Lou could love, but for some reason God has placed this one in his midst. The issue could be hesitation over growing up and moving to the next level. Lou has no idea who he’ll be in 5 years, what challenges he’ll face, and how competent he’ll be when the time comes. It would be great to have a partner that will grow with him suitably sharing the load. In all the unknowns of tomorrow, a degree of faith is required. Faith in God helps. Faith in self is always good.
So too, in life’s many decision points it would be nice to have a conviction that your actions are destined to turn out great. Lacking that feeling, it’s easy to interpret uncertainty as fear. And with that uncertain feeling as a starting point, you try and put words to it and come up with reasons. Feelings first, rationale later. But the essence remains “Do you have faith that it will work out?” Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway is a great book I read in my 30’s that helped me overcome hesitancy. Should Lou marry this girl? I don’t know. I think one’s partner should be a great friend and enjoyable partner; but putting the question into context of faith in his future and in himself that he can create a great partnership would be an important starting point. In the end, no matter which woman is in front of him, Lou will need this as a starting point.
Adam’s situation is every man’s plight. The Apostle Paul (Rom 7:19) struggled with this 2000 years ago in not doing what he sets out to do, but instead does lesser things. Adam is ahead of the game by making a plan, but he is inconsistent. Anyone relate to that? Are his expectations too high? Or does he fear success so therefore is inconsistent? Probably a little of each and more. However, how is he characterized? If he is performing 50% of his tasks, then he’s on a trajectory of being…what? — Average? So in that sense, Adam is also at a fork in the road yet to decide if he’s going to be that guy that just misses opportunities because he’s not fully prepared or that guy who is well prepared because he was harder on himself when he had the chance. That’s what’s key about this time in all your lives; now’s the easiest part of your life to grow and get ready for the next level. Do it now because later won’t be easier. I had the same feelings, but step by step was able to overcome.
In the end, fear was my friend because it provided useful information from my subconscious and God about who I wanted to be. And importantly it provided useful motivation to keep me on track. As did my Ironmen group.
To feeling the fear and doing it anyway,