How do we act, despite fear?

Let’s start with what fear is.

The Cambridge dictionary defines fear as,

An unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful or bad that is happening or might happen.

Essentially, we have 4 core fears being:

1. Fear of failure

2. Fear of success

3. Fear of rejection

4. Fear of uncertainty.


All 4 of the above have and continue to play out in my life, over and over again. I used to run away from it, procrastinate, make excuses, bury my head in the sand, simply because as human beings, we do whatever we can to avoid pain.

It is only fairly recently in my life that I have fully grasped the fact that,

Success and failure go hand in hand. 

Consider the great Babe Ruth for example. Yes he held the record for the most home runs but many people do not know that he also held the record for the most strikeouts.


What can we learn from this?

Human beings progress by acting, making mistakes, learning from them and trying again.

This is the recipe for progress:

  • Learn
  • Unlearn
  • Relearn

I love how William E Gladstone speaks to fear saying,

No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes. 

Samuel Smiles says something similar,

We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success; we often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he whoever made a mistake made a discovery. 


Fear is the greatest obstacle that holds us back from our potential and what we desire in life so it makes sense to give it some thought.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson says,

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.

How can we respond when fear shows up?

One of the best and easiest strategies I work with my coaching clients on, is responding to fear by asking yourself, 

‘What if….?’

For example, 

  • What if I do not succeed in getting the job?
  • What if I am turned down for the promotion?
  • What if people judge me?
  • What if I fail?

When we respond to fear with curiosity, we face the fear head on instead of running from it.

We confront our fear which will help us get to the other side of it.

As James Stephens says,

‘Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.’

Ask yourself the following questions, 

  • What is fear holding you back from?
  • What scares you most about this?
  • What is at stake if you continue to focus on this fear?
  • What will help you act, despite it?   


The best way out of your fears, is always through! 


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James Correy, Leadership Coach, Trainer & Speaker