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.

13 thoughts on “Fear’s Long Stride

  1. This post just nailed my feet to the floor. I’ve been working hard on the fear element in my life. The Brene Brown class on “The Gifts” brings the awareness of fear and how it can be the 20 ton shield we hide behind to keep from getting hurt, or the 20 ton anchor that weighs us down and keeps us from realizing our dreams. I just wrote in my journal about fear, my fears. I named each of them and wrote them down, I’ve been doing pages for my Inner Critic journal on fear. Thank you for the visual imagery to go along with the fear piece and the reminder of how useless fear really is.

  2. That was excellent, Quinn. Much good advice, and many good things to ponder. I’m afraid of very few things, but those that I do fear are hard as the dickens to deal with. Thanks for the pep talk.

  3. Dear Quinn, Every time I think I should unsubscribe to your email message, “Quinn Creative” you write something that gets me to sit up straight and think “whoa” or something like that. Message on fear is just such a one. Keep writing, keep writing. I will keep reading. Thank you. Jeanne Cronin

  4. Quinn, your post hit the nail on the head for me yet again. Yesterday I accepted a new job that involves a move and a huge learning curve. Scared? Yes absolutely. But I know I can do this, all I have to do is to stay positive and focused on one thing at a time in regards to the move. It also means leaving a job I just started that I quite like. It is a huge opportunity for me and one that I feel compelled to take. It also seems to be in alignment with my word for the year which is Dare. Praying that next years word isn’t quite so demanding of me 🙂

    • When we chose those challenging words, we already know we need them. And moving into something we love, from something we also love is a big challenge that involves change. Good for you–let us know how the new jobs works out!

  5. The thing I’m most scared of is having to make a living doing a dreary, beige, exhausting slave job with no energy left to be creative. Are you saying I should seek that out?! 😉

    Funny how I just saved a blog draft on this very subject, musing on my keywords etc. Love it when things come together like that.

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