The upside to fear


This week we have been talking in the office about the role of fear and how it can fester and get in the way of so many great outcomes. But what would happen if we didn’t have fear? Can a bit of fear be a good thing? Is there actually an upside to fear?

The first time you tackle a big project, step into the unknown, there is so much fear and uncertainty that often we make sure that nothing slips, because we don’t know the impact that might occur if we do. But doing something similar for the second or third time can see complacency creep in. 

When I finished my second marathon in Sydney which was an amazing experience, sensational scenery, and an achievement I am stoked about, it was TOUGH!! Being that the second I rested on the fact that I’d done it once, brought a sense of ‘I’ll be right’. This meant that I didn’t train as hard, therefore the run was tougher to get through. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but without the total fear of the unknown, it meant that I was more susceptible to training if I felt like it, and sleeping in if I didn’t.  

Compare this to the training for my first marathon, which involved sticking strictly to the training program, and if I missed a day I had to make it up somewhere along the line. The fear of the unknown brings with it a positive nervousness to do what has to be done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. 

It seems that there is an upside to fear, it focuses you to turn up and put the work in, to step up to the mark. Acknowledge it, embrace it, and the next time you are sensing you or your team are a bit complacent about an outcome it might be time to set a higher target or dial up the pressure and the fear just a tad.

Anyone up for an ultra-marathon??