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March 31, 2021

The Context of Fear

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Fear is very contextual. It’s not the act itself that is fearful, but it’s the potential consequences of the act that make us feel fear. These consequences are heavily determined by our environment, so in understanding that fear means just as much about you as the context around you, you may be able to better separate yourself from the emotion and take decisive action. 

For example, last week I was invited to be on a TV show pitch competition to talk about my social impact company For Purpose. I rehearsed, memorized, and did everything I could to try to simulate the nerves and fear I would feel during the pitch in order to best prepare myself. That’s when I realized, whether I was practicing the pitch in front of the mirror or performing it live for the judges on the TV show, the task was the same - Just go through my memorized speech. But, the context was very different, and it was “doing it live” that evoked so much fear. 

I mention this all to provide a new context to fear. Fear isn’t about you, it’s about the way you feel in an environment. In the moments before giving my pitch I used Josh Perry’s life mantra - “Fear is a thought and thoughts can change.” So whether you’re afraid of standing up to your boss, or disciplining a child, or trying something new, recognize that it’s the context of the activity that provokes fear.

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