Several years, I was listening to a radio talk show hosted by a psychologist. A young woman caller said, “I just got accepted to medical school!”
“Congratulations!” said the host. “That’s terrific.”
“And,” the caller admitted, “I’m scared to death.”
“Of course you are!” said the host. “Just don’t be paralyzed.
Keep going. Work in and through the fear.”
I was reminded of that call recently, when someone said, “People who go through transitions are fearful.”
“And well they should be!” I replied. “There’s a lot to be afraid of in a transition.”
“During a transition, you’ve got lots of things going on. And lots of people are standing by, waiting to take your money. You’d do well to be scared.”
“But fear is bad.”
“No. fear can be your friend. Fear is a signal from your intuition that you need to be vigilant.”
“But you can’t make decisions based on fear.”
“No. But if you’re feeling scared, pay attention to what’s going on.
Deal with the fear first.
If you’re trying to decide whether to quit your job,
fear can help you make a good plan.
Fear of getting sick can lead to a healthy diet, exercise and insurance.”
“What if you’re paralyzed?”
“When you feel paralyzed by fear, take some action. Any action.
Start moving. See if you feel the fear easing up. You can also work on your
anxieties by writing in a journal or talking to someone you trust. As you
write or talk, you may feel less scared.”
“What if you don’t?”
“Full scale panic attacks call for professional treatment from a
If your fear is holding you back from reaching your goals,
you need to seek professional help.
For instance, if your job calls for driving and you’re afraid to drive on the freeway, you need to talk to a psychologist who deals with phobias.”
“What can a coach do?”
“A career coach or consultant can help you look at the facts in a new way. I can
help you decide if your fear is realistic and, if so, how to deal with it.
I can remind you that most people entering a transition will be scared.”
“Yes. Don’t let anyone dismiss your fears. Only you can tell if
fear comes from your intuition or if this particular fear is blocking your intuition.”
“So fear is not something to be afraid of.”
“I believe fear is a friend, a message from intuition.”
“Or as Franklin Roosevelt said fifty years ago, in a whole different context, ‘The only
thing left to fear is fear itself.’”
“You got it.”
Thom Rutledge’s book, Embracing Fear offers a well-written, down-to-earth perspective by a Nashville-based counselor.
I offer one-to-one consultations on career strategy.
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“Ten secrets of mastering a major life change” mailto:email@example.com
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