How to face and fight your fears

Concern, worry, and confusion? Or fear, panic, and hysteria? You’re probably feeling some of those things right now.

Re-thinking your life, your future, your career, and your relationships? And re-directing your daily life in dozens of new ways? You’re probably doing some of those things as well in this midst of this COVID-19 crisis.

But let me remind you that we’ve always been somewhere on that emotional spectrum, dealing with some concerns and fears. And we’ve always been forced to make some changes in our lives, whether or not we liked it.

Of course our present situation may seem scarier than the Big 4 Panics of the last twenty years … 9/11, the tech bubble, the housing bust, and the Great Recession. But I believe the skills and strategies that got us through those crises can help us today.

In addition to the 4 tips I’m going to give you, I want to give you one more resource … me. Hundreds of thousands of people have been following me for years, some of you 10 or even 20 years, reading my Tuesday Tips, hiring me to speak in your organizations, or attending my programs. It is a privilege. And it is my prayer that I’ve been helpful in lots of ways.

If you want to reach out to me, feel free to call or email. If I can be a helpful resource,

I would be glad to respond. No strings attached. Okay?

Now on to the Tuesday Tip.

► 1. Let creativity rule, rather than fear.

Some of your fears are normal and healthy. They point out the dangers in life. They protect you from harm.

But too many people are saddled with abnormal fear, a fear that is strong and pervasive. It’s stopping them from thinking clearly and limiting their lives much more than it has to.

It’s like the slogan of Paranoids Anonymous; they don’t tell you where they meet. Or as someone else said, “Why should I waste my time reliving the past when I can spend it worrying about the future?”

Seriously, abnormal fear is prohibiting. It stops you from being creative or trying new ways to cope, relating, making a living, and getting through this crisis. It encourages you to make excuses rather than make progress.

Shakespeare knew that. He wrote, “Our fears do make us fail to try and gain the heights that are possible for us.”

When human potential researcher Napoleon Hill asked how many times the average person will try before giving up on a new goal, he was shocked by what he discovered. The answer was less than one. Most people quit before they even try something new.

This is a time for you to harness your abnormal fear and let your creativity rule. How can you live your life and do your work differently but still effectively?

You might want to join me for my live webinar on April 9, 2020 on Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do.

► 2. Stay calm.

It’s a natural tendency to panic when you face a crisis, but panic is very dangerous. When you panic, you can’t think straight, so you won’t act smart.

So stay calm, but mind you, I said stay calm — not feel calm. To deal with your fears, you need to behave with poise and composure. Your behavior will ease your fears, open your mind, and fuel your progress.

For example, way back in the 1700’s on a particular day, about noon, it became very dark and eerie outside. The sun was blotted out and stayed that way for some time. The Lower House adjourned in disorder, believing the world was coming to an end.

The Senate was more orderly because Abraham Davenport stayed calm. He arose to address his colleagues, saying, “If it is not the end of the world, we do not need to adjourn. If it is the end of the world, I would rather be here doing my duty when God finds me. I move that candles be brought and that we go on with our business.”

I think all of us could apply a bit of Davenport’s example to our present situation. Act calm even though you may not feel calm.

► 3. Remember the Law of Averages is on your side.

In other words, most of the horrible things you’re afraid might happen won’t happen. Don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of many fine books on positive thinking, once interviewed an elderly statistician. The older gentleman, at age 85, said he figured out over the course of his lifetime, 92% of the things he had worried about had never happened. He said, “It was foolish of me to be so anxious and full of fear about things that were never going to happen.”

Perhaps you’re afraid of making the wrong decision. So you spend tons of time putting it off. But you need to remember what David Mahoney, Jr., a corporate executive said, “You’ll never have all the information you need to make a decision. If you did, it would be a foregone conclusion, not a decision.”

You need to remember the law of averages is on your side. Of all the decisions you could make, you probably won’t make the worst possible decision.

And once you make a decision, you’ll feel a lot better. Author Rita Mae Brown says, “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one,” because a decision is better than living in agonizing limbo.

► 4. Apply a law of physics: Momentum equals Mass times Velocity.

In other words, fear can be a mighty mass, pushing you to panic, shut down, or make excuses instead of progress. You may even feel weak and powerless in comparison to your fears.

But if you are bold, if you follow the equation and throw yourself into all the new challenges that have been thrown into your life as a result of this virus, you will be much happier with the results.

Cory, a football player, knew this. He was small compared to the other players. Frankly, he was afraid of some of the other great big athletes. But in one of his classes, Cory learned this law of physics.

In one game he saw an enormous fullback coming down the field toward him with the ball tucked under his arm. Cory knew that the only thing between him and the goalpost was himself. Remembering this law of physics, he hurled himself like a bullet shot out of a gun at the great big fullback. He hit him with such force that the fullback lost his grip on the ball. Cory recovered the ball and ran for a touchdown.

These are unprecedented times for all of us. So please, please, please decide who’s in charge of your mental and emotional capabilities. You or your fears. Every minute you spend in fear is a minute controlled by something that hasn’t happened to you … yet … and hopefully ever.