Good Fear And Bad Fear

I had my concerns when I made the decision to leave my previous job to move to a new place and launch my life coaching business on a full-time basis.

I suspect that it was a good kind of fear because the stakes were high. I was venturing into the unknown and I wasn’t sure 100% if the business would be a long-term success. I have always had a job working for someone else and there I was giving up a 24 year career for the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur, and being self-employed small business owner. Under those circumstances, it’s perfectly normal and appropriate to feel a few butterflies (or B-52’s) in the stomach and occasionally wonder if you’ve made the right decision.

It would have been bad fear if I had allowed these concerns to stop me from making a brave decision about my future and just stayed where I was. Looking back now, being courageous and taking the path I took was truly my only option.

When I think about good fear versus bad fear, I can see a few circumstances where we can either experience good fear and take action or allow bad fear to rule our lives which severely limits our options, outcomes, and potential results…

It’s OK to feel a little bit nervous and afraid before you step on stage to deliver a presentation. That’s good fear.

It becomes bad fear when you don’t get up at all.

It’s OK to feel a bit anxious and nervous before a job interview. That’s good fear.

It’s bad fear if you allow it to stop you from applying for jobs and advancing your career.

It’s OK to be a little scared on your wedding day. That’s good fear.

It’s bad fear when you don’t take the risk to commit to someone special for life.

It’s OK to pause before sharing your ideas and opinions in a meeting where you know that not everyone will agree with you. That’s good fear.

It’s bad fear when you feel as though you can’t speak your mind, make valid points, and refuse to make a contribution to a discussion and say nothing.

Fear is a normal and primal emotion that everyone experiences. Not all fear is bad, after all, being afraid is a mechanism that does keep us alive at times, it’s called survival instinct. And it’s okay to feel fear when we are doing something that we’re not used to and in situations when the stakes are high. That’s perfectly normal.

But to be successful in life you have to overcome your fear, especially your fear of being unsuccessful! Remember, those who seem fearless…. they still experience fear, just like everyone else, but they are able to differentiate between good fear and bad fear and they don’t allow fear to stop them from doing what they believe matters.

Don’t let it stop you either.

Good fear and bad fear, which one do you experience the most?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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