How to be Fearless and Fear Less

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Susan Chambers of SAGE Editing and Research Services.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unjustified, unreasoning terror which paralyzes needed effort…”  (Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1st Inaugural Address, 1933)

Did you know that 12% of Canadians (source: Canadian Mental Health Association) and 18% of American adults ages 18 and older are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in a given year (source: National Institute of Mental Health)  When you convert the abstract numbers to real people, these findings translate as a distressingly large number of individuals suffering the often debilitating impacts of fear and anxiety; health concerns, a sense of being overwhelmed and helpless, an inability to take action or make changes, and a reduced quality of life.  My guess is that it was in fact the side effects of overpowering fear, the “…nameless, unjustified, unreasoning terror which paralyzes needed effort…” rather than the emotion of fear itself that concerned Roosevelt, back in 1933.

According to an article in Psychology Today by Gordon Livingston (2009), a psychiatrist, the inaction that stems from excessive, irrational fears or fear-based thinking often shows up as a decision to live life from a “safe” position and not take risks, even if that means forsaking opportunities that might provide greater joy and expansiveness to one’s life.  But what are these fears—or perhaps more accurately, anxieties—that keep so many of us immobilized to some degree or another?  How are they triggered? And how do we overcome our fears or at least control them so they don’t take over and imprison our spirits and minds, leaving us depressed and further discouraged (a loss of heart)? Let’s start with human nature and the nature of fear.
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Why You Must Learn to Accelerate Emotional Space

Have you ever been so caught up in your anger that you can’t let it go?

Your anger, if unmanaged, ages you faster, slows the healing process, and gives you trouble developing friendships.

Most of us have some anger issues, especially when we are around people that annoy us. I have a friend who can’t stand a client that he works for. He tells me about his annoying voice and all his stupid requests. When he retells his stories we laugh about his client’s personality.

It made me think about how my friend uses our conversations to create emotional space. Emotional and physical space are really all about perception.

Back in 1910, people thought New York was so very far from Paris. It takes 5 days to travel by boat in 2010. In 1910 it must have taken over a week. Now it’s a little over seven hour plane ride. That’s 1/24th of the time.

I used to think that the day was so long when I had to work side by side with an annoying co-worker; now an annoying person can actually be fun. You will learn a few techniques that will help you accelerate your emotional space, teaching you how to improve friendships and your happiness.
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The 100-100 Divide

face-offIn a perfect work environment we give 100% and our company gives 100%. Of course this never happens because we make choices based on how well we think we are treated. If your company didn’t give you a promotion, that you thought you deserved, would you still work as hard the next day?


Wow, big shock.

When your manager/boss sees that you just don’t have the pep that you once had, they also pull back their desire to help you. This creates a divide that leaves everyone searching for answers

You may pull back and only give 75% of your energy, maybe taking slightly longer breaks or surfing Amazon for a new book. Your company wants you to work harder, but they’ve seen this reaction 700 times before and they don’t try to open a conversation to improve the disconnect.

Now that you’ve pulled back to 75% and no one cares, you realize that you can pull back to 50%.

You’re now working at 50% of your capacity because you can. You avoid work on some days and accomplish a lot on others, but on average you are giving 50% of your energy.

Your employer is troubled, but thinks it’s probably just a phase and before they do anything about it they realize that they’ve just created your expectations about what kind of work you need to do to get by.
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When Do You Decide Whether or Not You are Happy at Work?


When you just got a raise?

When you had a fight with a co-worker?

When a client tears you a new one because they had a bad day?

When you completed a tough project?

When you slept 4 hours the night before?

There are so many ways to judge our happiness at work, but it really requires a focused mind to reflect and decide on the right things.
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Your Emotional Boxes

(email subscribers: click here to go to Work Happy Now to view the video)

True happiness grows within us when we are able to let go of our attachment to pain. We should all practice this vital skill in order to bring consistent joy into our lives.
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