The Opposite of Fear

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Most people think that the opposite of fear is courage.

Courage is what allows people to act, even when they are afraid. Courage and fear co-exist, as you will see in this story. So, what exactly is the opposite of fear?

Kevin Molitor is a firefighter and EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) in the suburbs of Chicago. He’s not famous; he’s not a politician, preacher or rock star. He’s a guy whose business is saving lives, every day. Kevin typically rides with a special ambulance crew that can be dispatched to traditional medical emergencies, or to fire and accident scenes. On a regular basis, his job requires him to:

  • Put himself in danger to rescue people who have been injured in car crashes or fires – including underwater rescues (he’s certified for SCUBA)
  • Make decisions about how to treat traumas before putting a patient into the ambulance – decisions that, if incorrect, could cause harm, injury or even death
  • Enter into burning buildings, frozen rivers and other extremely dangerous places in order to save lives

Firefighter imageWhile Kevin has undergone extensive training for a variety of emergency situations, there is always an ‘x-factor’ of unknown potential harm. Kevin often finds himself in clear and present danger, and yet he has to move forward. “You see the slogans on t-shirts,” Kevin says, “you know, ‘We Fight What You Fear’. But, without any fear, you’d get yourself into situations you couldn’t get yourself out of. There’s always fear, anybody who says they aren’t afraid isn’t telling you the whole story. But you focus on your training, you focus on the job at hand, if you want to save a life (including your own).”

According to Kevin, focusing on your fear only makes it stronger. Overcoming fear is a matter of focus, and reliance on expert training. Here was his secret to turning fear into action:

Make the other person’s situation more important than your own.

By focusing on others, and believing in our talents, we find the opposite of fear:


Where there is trust, there is no fear. Trust in yourself, your talents and abilities – and make the other person’s needs the most important thing in your world.

The NEW Elevator Pitch by Chris WestfallIn The NEW Elevator Pitch, I talk about the best way to overcome the number one fear: the fear of public speaking.

You have to trust in yourself and your abilities.  But that trust doesn’t mean filling yourself with flimsy self-esteem or unearned confidence.  It’s possible for you to feel great, and still fail at delivering your message.  The key to trusting yourself and your abilities is to understand how to tap into your talents.  And how to make the audience – your listener – more important than any nerves you may be feeling.  You’ve got to have a process for telling your story, especially when the stakes are high.

Trust me, that’s the only way to overcome your fear.

An excerpt from The NEW Elevator Pitch, due out May 7, 2012 from Marie Street Press

To find out more about this book, and how you can reserve your copy today, visit

Images courtesy of wickked and stopthegears. Used under creative commons license, some rights reserved.

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