Faith and Fear
I’ve been thinking a lot about both of these words lately. Zig Ziglar said that FEAR is “False Evidence that Appears Real.” I get that. Fear is usually something we’re afraid might happen. I think about all the sales people we work with and how challenging it is to muster up the courage to walk into a building or into a networking event where you know no one. That sales person has to overcome the fear of feeling like they might not fit in, wondering if the door will be slammed in their face, rejection, and anything else that might pop into their mind.
How Fear Works
That’s how fear works. Stuff that isn’t real for this moment pops into your mind and, all of a sudden, there is fear. After overcoming through faith all the fear of a lymphoma diagnosis in 2014, we believed that we had conquered the Big “C” thing. However, in the course of ongoing treatment, my husband relapsed this winter, and he/we are doing the chemotherapy dance again. I can tell you first hand that holding fearful thoughts at bay is no easy job.
We certainly have a lot more practice and even experience with this situation. Some things were easier this time around. For instance, the emotionally charged words like cancer, chemo, relapse, and lymphoma seem more normal and don’t create the lump in my throat like they did last time.
I’ve gained a lot of clarity that fearful thoughts have a basis in negativity. I think this is true in any situation. Fear means you’ve allowed your mind to go to that place that’s wrapped in “What if I don’t get that sale? What if they laugh at my idea or think I’m stupid?” Look at how you can feel in an instant, and none of those thoughts are based on any type of reality. It doesn’t matter if you were rejected before. The reality is that what’s in front of you right now, today is a brand new situation and has the possibility of a brand new outcome. But the fear can keep you from knocking on the door.
Listen, I was scared to death of the thought of my husband’s chemotherapy. I had many fearful thoughts until we went for the first treatment and they said that he had to wait on insurance. In an instant, the fear of chemo was trumped by the great fear of what will happen if he doesn’t get chemo. This time around, he had a shot at going into a trial treatment with an immunotherapy drug. That seemed scary because of the unknown. As it turned out, he did not qualify for the trial, and so chemotherapy was the next best option. Immunotherapy now seems like a better option. See how that works? You are scared of the unknown in one minute, and the next minute the option in front of you seems better. Experience teaches me that taking the next step in faith trumps fear every time.
My husband is really GREAT at not fearfully dealing with things. I hope I can be like him when I grow up. He doesn’t worry; he does not make up stories that are steeped in negativity. He’s clear that he would like to live for a long time and so we do the things we need to do (difficult or not) to get the results we want to achieve. He’s pragmatic and optimistic.
He and I were sitting together this spring at a Subway Sandwich Shop waiting for an appointment with the oncologist. There were a ton of unknowns, and he and I were both pretty scared but had brave faces for one another. My beautiful husband looked up and said to me, “Well, honey, I’m going to die someday, but it’s not today.” I think there is so much wisdom in the way he does life. I’m lucky to have him.
Faith is Opposite of Fear
It strikes me that faith is really the true opposite of fear. Like fear, it is intangible, a belief in things that you can’t touch or feel in reality. Unlike fear though, having faith in you, in others, or in a higher power, casts a situation in a more positive light and affects how you feel and behave in a much different and better way.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. If you could, for just a minute, imagine how it might feel to lose the person you love the most. For me, my shoulders immediately sag, all the air goes out of my lungs, tears come to my eyes, and I think I can feel my heart stop. And yet nothing has happened. It was only a thought. JD is alive and well. This kind of fearful thinking creates all that physical and emotional reaction in a second. It stops all the good stuff. It is paralyzing and can keep life at bay.
Does the thought of a sales call that “might” have a bad outcome fill you with immediate symptoms of fear? Think about how that might impact your ability to do what you want to do to be successful.
Take a minute and rehearse in your mind what an awesome outcome would look like. You are walking into the decision maker’s office, your shoulders are back, your head is high, you have a ton of faith in what you are able to provide to this new prospect. Think you could get a better result? Of course, you could.
It matters what you think about and how you choose to live. For me, I pick faith. I’ve always thought I was a very positive person. In the last three years, I’ve learned that I have much more to learn about staying positive. Fear lurks around and can show up in the oddest places. I encourage you to have conversations and deal with people who are interested in talking about how good things can be. There is always a choice in how to think, act, and believe. Since fear is wrapped in all that is negative and faith gives us hope for all that is positive, the choice is easy for me.
I hope you’ll face this next week full of faith in yourself, your business, your family, and even a little faith in others who might be able to help you.