Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

#9 – The Fear of Failure and Blame

Hi everyone!  My apologies if you’ve been checking in finding me AWOL.

The past few weeks have been VERY busy.  Plus, I’ve been working on #9 in the ongoing Battle of the UNs, Conquer a Fear.  I had hoped to finish battling the UNs by the end of summer, but the last few tasks on the list are taking some time, particularly #9.

For #9, I did some deep thinking about my fears and determined that I have two.

# 1 – Chatting with someone on the Internet, arranging to meet them in person, and then realizing they are completely psycho.  My #1 fear is getting famous on the nightly news as “Missing Woman Found Stuffed in Port-a-Pot by Internet Stalker.”



I’m not sure how to conquer this fear, so I decided to move on to fear #2.

#2 – Trying to be successful and failing.  I thought about this fear for a while and determined that the Fear of Failure is a misplaced fear.  It’s not the Fear of Failure that I’m afraid of…it’s the Fear of Blame.

There should be nothing to fear about trying something and failing.  You start a business and it flops.  You run and race and come in last.  You publish a book that doesn’t sell.  You put $10 on black and the roulette wheel stops on red.  So what.  It didn’t work out.  Who cares!?!  Just move on and try something else.  Failure not a legitimate fear…it happens all the time…every day…to everyone.  So, what is the real fear?


I think it’s the Fear of Blame.  The fear of criticism.  The fear that someone…or lots of people…will look at our failed attempts and call us out on them…saying the reason we failed is because we’re not smart enough, or not talented enough, or didn’t apply ourselves.

The Fear of Blame has a power over me.  In a good way, it pushes me to do my best at work and to follow through on my commitments.  In a bad way, it terrifies me from stepping out of my comfort zone.

Over the past few weeks, I’m taken a few steps out of that zone.  I agreed to speak at a National Conference at the end of October.  I proposed an idea to a client that was really thinking out of the box.  I agreed to write an article that a lot of my peers will read.  And, over the past eight weeks I’ve been intensely training to get myself back in shape.

If I fail, people might point a finger at me.  I might get embarrassed.  My confidence will probably get crushed.  But, that’s the worst that can happen.  I’m not going to end up homeless and no one is going to die.

If you need to conquer the Fear of Blame, ask yourself this….

“If I try this and fail, what’s the worst that will happen?”  If the worst is that you’ll be criticized and your feelings will be hurt, then don’t let the fear stop you!

On the other hand, if there’s a chance that you’ll lose your life at the bottom of a Jonny-Jon, then give into the fear and run the other way.

What is your biggest fear?  Does the fear of blame stop you from trying new things?

I Fear…Snake Eyes

The weather (sunny skies with a cool breeze) has been GREAT here in Pittsburgh.  Flowers are blooming everywhere.

Flower 1  Flower 2

Flower 3   Flower 4

Today, my dad was visiting so I asked him to give me a hand planting a vegetable garden.  It was small and we ran out of room, so this evening I planted pepper plants in a flower bed.

Planting Peppers Dig Hole for Peppers

While digging holes, I felt someone or something looking at me.  Do you ever feel that way?  Like someone, somewhere, is spying on you?  Was it 80-year old Mr. Powers next door?  Did the creepy window cleaning man who was at our house earlier in the day camp out on our roof?  Is there a Sasquatch in the bushes? 

…and then I saw it…a little head with two beady eyes peeking out from under the sidewalk.   

Baahhhh!  SNAAAAAKE! 

It’s a snake! 

There’s a s-s-snake under the walk! 



Mr. Backbone to the rescue, who took his good old time coming out of the house in response to me, his loving wife,  screaming for help. 

Me – I saw a snake.

Mr. BB – So?

Me – It’s there…in that hole…under the sidewalk.  It was looking at me.  I saw it.  I saw it’s head.

He then casually went to the garage for a shovel. 

We waited and watched the hole.  After a few minutes of standing there in silence, out popped the little head.  I lurched backwards and then it disappeared again, as we discussed the options for dealing with the creature. 

Me – I think you should take it to the woods.

Mr. BB – It will come back.

Me – Should we let it live there, under the sidewalk?

Mr. BB –No, because then you won’t use the back yard all summer.

Me – But I don’t want to kill it.  It’s just an innocent little snake, probably as small as a lizard.

…and then it slithered out of the hole, measuring about 2 feet long.

Me – THE SNAKE!  Ahhhhhhhhhhh!  Kill it!  Kill it!  Kill it dead!!

Looking kind of scared himself, he whacked it with the shovel, then I said a little silent prayer that it would go to snake heaven and we carried it off to the woods for a Christian burial.

Killed the Snake R,I.P. Snake

I wasn’t afraid of the snake itself.  I was afraid of the possibility of what it would do to me…like sink it’s sharp little snake teeth into my flesh or slither into the house and wrap it’s tiny body around my neck , killing me in my sleep.  I sensed danger…and danger fed my fear.

Sensing danger keeps us safe, and it’s instinctual for us to react.  When you get scared, your  brain triggers the release of adrenaline, 8 to 20 times normal levels.  Sweat production increases.  Your heart pumps more blood to the brain.  Your lungs dilate and take in more oxygen.  Your pupils dilate making your vision sharper, like Superman.  And yes folks, your body quickly rids itself of waste to prepare itself for battle, which is why some people head straight for the potty room during a scary movie. 

It is not easy to be courageous when you face danger, but we do it.  Or, in my case, I call for help from a man with a shovel.

Have you ever been in a dangerous or scary situation?  How did you react?  

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!  In my continued quest to battle the UNs, this week’s task #4 is to Celebrate the Happiness of Someone Else.  I’m heading to a wedding and will report on all the juicy details next week.