The Lesson Fear Taught Me

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Today, I’ve learned the lesson fear taught me. I’ve learned that fear is my friend.

What is it that frightens you? Typical answers for me include:

  1. Failure
  2. Feeling isolated
  3. “Drops of Jupiter” one more time, and of course
  4. Anything by Coldplay

All kidding aside, I have realized that fear is my friend. If something is challenging, I tend to fear it – especially something that I really want to do….but I’m not sure if I can.

Sometimes that fear can be paralyzing, I think I might have an antidote. I mean, I could offer up some tough-guy explanation, but let me instead just be honest. The things that challenge me, the things that I need to do the most, are often the things that are the most frightening. Giving a great keynote presentation, or a funny keynote, or just any kind of keynote can be a scary thought!

I mean, even success can be scary, if we are being honest. But the scariest thing is having a great idea, and no one will listen to it. Great ideas don’t matter much if others can’t get engaged, and that’s what happened in Mann Gulch.

I’ve decided that fear is not going to be an inhibitor for me. Fear is not going to keep me from making the connections that matter.

You’ve got to turn to others when times are tough – and you’ve got to be clear on your message. That’s the lesson that fear taught me.


Fear is my friend because it lets me know what’s important. Giving a great keynote presentation to a group is a privilege, and an opportunity. I’ve watched so many butt-numbing speeches in meetings that I have made it my life’s mission to make sure you avoid numb-butt. Or something like that. (I’m an elevator pitch guy, not a poet. What can I say?)

I’ve discovered a new way of looking at things, thanks to my fear. For me, giving a presentation is an opportunity to help people to make real connections. Making a difference is important to me – even more important than my fear. I owe it to my audience (whether 1 or 1,000) to deliver the best possible presentation I can.

I’m not afraid of getting better, so I’m not afraid to try.

What do you fear, when you really should embrace it? Doesn’t a little adrenaline let you know that something’s really worthwhile? Maybe you’re afraid of making that important connection. Whatever the case may be, remember this: When you make a real connection, you can make a real difference.

My friend taught me that.

Main image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography. Used under creative commons license, some rights reserved.

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