Faith & Fear: You Need Both to Succeed
I was standing in line at the butcher when I overheard this:
Wife: So Helen is thinking about going to Spain in the new year. She wants to see historic Europe. The only thing holding her back is that she is afraid of being converted.
Wife: In her words “I fear for the eternal condition of my soul.”
Wife: She is afraid she is going to be converted from her faith. She told me “Maybe if I don’t go into any churches or talk to any priests then I can’t be converted.” Apparently she thinks you can catch religion like a virus.
How solid is your foundation?
I concealed a laugh behind a cough but the more I thought about this story the sadder it made me.
Poor Helen is shackled by a tragic condition:
she believes in her convictions, but she is not convicted by her beliefs.
She knows where her faith lies, but she doesn’t know whether her faith can stand.
I wonder how many of us struggle with this very fear condition:
- in the leaders we follow,
- the organizations we join,
- the teams we lead,
- the life choices we make.
Is our faith, belief, fortitude strong enough to carry us through the inevitable valleys?
Or do our emotional knees buckle under load, leaving us lying face-down in the muck of life?
Without Faith there would be no Entrepreneurs
I love working with entrepreneurs as they start their journey into the world of business.
One of the most wonderful attributes of all new entrepreneurs is their self-confidence, that innate self-belief telling themselves that they will succeed where everyone else has failed.
And they must believe, for without that abiding faith in themselves there would be no entrepreneurs at all.
And so it is with this courage and strength and fortitude they take that bold first step.
And then Reality Raises Its Head
It doesn’t take long – it never does – before the unwavering self-confidence starts to flag.
…The first month revenues come in at half of the most conservative projection, the expenses come in at twice.
……Their contractor finds asbestos (or a cracked boiler, or structural damage) and the renovation costs end up grossly over budget.
………And their printer just misspelled the street name on all of their flyers, sending all potential traffic to the other side of town.
Right about here is where the questions start:
- Do I believe in what I’m doing?
- Is my belief in this vision enough to see me through?
- Do I believe in this more than I’m afraid of failing?
Fear sets in.
Understand, this is a reasonable fear.
This is a healthy fear.
If properly channelled this can even be a motivating fear.
But if left unchecked it becomes a paralyzing fear, preventing you from seeing the beautiful sights of Spain.
The Choice is Yours.
Fear and doubt are not optional.
They are part of the journey.
It is the ability to fully see, accept, and manage them that affects the outcome.
Unbridled optimism to the exclusion of pragmatic fear leads to disillusionment.
Unchecked fear to the exclusion of courageous optimism leads to paralysis.
Understand your faith, understand your fears.
Leverage both emotions to maximize your chances for success.
Helen will never know how strong and abiding her faith may be unless, and until, she is willing to test it.
It’s ok to be afraid. It’s not ok to be too afraid.