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  • What If Fear Didn’t Matter?

    I’ve started thinking of fear as a malaria-carrying mosquito in Africa. They are tiny and lethal and impossible to escape. And as far as I can tell, there are only three real ways to deal with them.

    1. We  can freak out and launch a frantic attack on any mosquito we encounter — which is exhausting and futile and terrifying in its own right because for every one we kill, there are thousands more lurking. 
    2. We can choose to do nothing and let them bite and infect us (or spend our life huddled under a mosquito net, which is just as deadly). 
    3. We can take malaria pills and then ignore them and go about our business – knowing they can co-exist but can’t hurt us.

    Fear, if left alone or combatted with more fear (my automatic go-to), sucks the life out of us. It keeps us trapped in miserable jobs or relationships, and prevents us from taking risks. It stops us from pursuing the passions that make our heart sing and in my case — it’s even caused me to forgo sugar, dairy, or even an occasional IPA and basket of French Fries because I was terrified anything that tasted good would kill me.

    As a recovering fear addict, I know inoculating ourselves against it isn’t the easiest thing to do. It requires being aware and constantly monitoring our thoughts and self beliefs. But I know it’s possible to neutralize fear because I’ve managed to do it from time to time. And the rewards have been life-changing.

    It’s what enabled me to travel to the middle of a war zone in South Sudan at the age of twenty six to write about the civil war for a small NGO. It’s also what enabled me to walk away from my lucrative but soul-destroying PR business in my early forties to pursue my book writing dream — which has led to teaching workshops, coaching writers and becoming a motivational speaker.

    The magic pill, as I’m continuing to learn, comes down to being laser focused on what we want rather than what we fear — and trusting that if we keep feeling and visualizing our desired outcome, it will materialize. When every thought and every part of our being is focused on what we want, there is no room for fear and its power is zapped. It can buzz in your ear and make that annoying mosquito noise, but nothing it can do can limit or hurt you. Fear becomes nothing more than a nuisance to be swatted away or ignored as you soak up the sun and sip champagne while enjoying the safari called life.

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