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Mindful Leadership

What We Need to Fear Is Fear Itself

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As I watched the media coverage of hurricane Irene and the anticipation of what it would do to the markets on Monday morning, I was reminded that the real danger to our well being is that of believing our fears.  There is no denying that the potential for devastation from the hurricane was real and taking the necessary precautions for those in harm’s way was essential and wise.  But what was most debilitating was the fear that was being created about potential future loss.

Fear colours everything.  Once in that state we can no longer make wise and sound decisions.  It is a state of contraction whereby in our minds our very survival is threatened.

As a leader it is wise to notice when we are operating from a place of fear.  To all fear apply equanimity.  Now this does not mean you do not take the necessary action, quite the contrary.  It means that from that place of equanimity you can take the most appropriate timely action.  Very often fear that is unchecked will lead to “churning” activity where we spin our wheels or to paralysis where we do not act at all.  Action from a place of equanimity is very different.  It takes into account the facts intermingled with intuition and results in clear judgment.

Now think of the impact this has on your well being and on the people around you.  If the leader is in a state of unchecked fear everyone reads this.  Don’t think fear is easy to hide.  It becomes visible in our speech, our actions, our body language, indeed our energy.  As this gets picked up by others it merely escalates and spreads, and now those with which we are in contact feel the strain of fear.  It is greatly contagious, like a silent virus.

Instead of getting caught up in fear become aware of it
.  Acknowledge what you are experiencing and do not interfere with the sensations in the body, however uncomfortable they may be.  You will notice that they eventually subside – they rise and fall, sometimes numerous times.  You may need to try over and over again…that’s fine.  It is in the trying that benefit follows.

There is no shame in experiencing fear – it is part of being human.  To be able to be with it, ride it out and eventually transmute it into positive – that is what it is to be Divine.

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One Response to What We Need to Fear Is Fear Itself

  1. Meg Mitchell says:

    What a timely post with some very wise commentary. We live in a time with the 24 hour news cycle that stimulates our small fears into much larger ones. Fear is a natural builder of increased visibility and ratings in our media driven society. What a difficult time to be an effective leader.