23 Jun Fear is Your Friend

My alma mater, Knox College, has had a slew of incredible commencement speakers over the years: Barak Obama, Stephen Colbert, Bill Clinton, and Madeleine Albright, to name a few. In 2013 none other than actor and funnyman Ed Helms graced the stage with a talk that was simultaneously entertaining and heartfelt.
Ed’s speech focused on fear, the effect it has on us, and the role it should play in our lives.
I encourage you to watch his entire speech, but here are some of the gems…

"One of the most valuable and life-informing things you can experience is, in fact, FEAR."
"...let it be a trigger for curiosity"
"Looking deeper into my fear revealed something I truly wanted""Looking deeper into my fear revealed something I truly wanted"
"Success lies in the tension between fear and discovery"

His words really made me think about the moments when I come across fear and resistance in my professional life. WHY is the fear there? What does it stem from? It made me realize- the fear is there because the stakes are high for me. I’m afraid of failing, but WHY am I afraid of failing? Because I care more about the outcome. Because I want it more. And while fear may not be a particularly fun emotion to experience in the moment, what a great compass it is to feel fear and be able to translate it to mean “this is important to me.” The big potential projects I feel fear about are the things I want most. And that tells me I am on the right track 🙂

"When you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self."

I’m trying to make it a practice to step into that fear instead of shying away from it. Only by investigating and exploring the things I fear can I get closer to the things I really want and begin to work towards them. Instead of fear being an enemy that prevents me from moving forward, I am making fear my friend.

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