Fear’s Long Stride

Some years ago, I worked for a small company that did good work. It hit a rough patch, and the president decided that we all had to help the company save money. We had to be frugal with office supplies, print on both sides of a page, keep the lights off in our office when the sun was on that side of the building.

2765415-paper-clip-pile-on-a-white-backgroundI spent a lot of time scouring the hallways looking for dropped paperclips. Probably enough time to cut into the time I could have been working productively. I saved the company about $0.75  on paper clips that quarter, in several hours of looking for old ones.

The cutbacks became serious. We lost some benefits. And eventually, the company stopped paying its contractors on time. The time went from 30 days to 45, to 60. I spoke to the president.

“We have to pay the people who contribute to customer satisfaction, to bringing new clients into the company.” The president looked at me as if I were a simple child.
“We have to save money to make the company last long enough to get out of the problem.”
“We can’t save our way out of a growth problem,” I suggested. “Pay the people who are keeping us competitive, they are keeping us alive.” It was useless. The president believed that not spending would save us. It did not. You can imagine the rest of the story. It was an inevitable downward spiral.

Finding your purpose in life and finding satisfaction follows the same plot line.  We listen to our fears, giving more value to our biggest fears, based not on outcome, but on how scared we are.

We avoid the work that would bring us success, we run from the decisions that demand us to face down fears. We think of it in terms of “being safe,” or “avoiding risk.” That’s the same mistake the company president made. The company couldn’t save its way out of a growth problem, we can’t get satisfaction, joy and energy in our lives by avoiding fear.

We reach satisfaction in our life and we realize the purpose of our life by facing

fear, and making choices that free us from fear,  not those that avoid fear. When we act with courage, face our fears, refuse to quit just because it’s hard, that’s when we can see the purpose in life.

Running away from fear is not the path to your destiny. Staying on the path to your destiny with determination and courage will bring you light and clarity.

—Quinn McDonald is plenty scared creating her next course, but she is beginning to think it may be worthwhile. And that, right now, is enough to keep her writing.