Monday, February 28, 2011

The Fear Cycle

As mentioned in a previous post, I began reading John Maxwell's book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success as part of my "continuing education".

One of my favorite topics thus far is the "Fear Cycle" he discusses in chapter 4.  The cycle begins when a fear of failure develops due to a previous negative experience. 

"The fear creates inaction.  Because the person doesn't act, he doesn't gain personal experience in that situation--which is key to learning and overcoming future obstacles.  The lack of experience breeds an inability to handle similar situations.  And that ultimately feeds and increases the fear.  The longer the fear remains unchecked, the harder a person has to work to break the cycle." (p.39)

Maxwell discusses that the inaction which occurs when people are stuck in the fear cycle can take on these most common forms:
  • paralysis
  • procrastination
  • purposelessness

Other negative side effects of the fear cycle include:  self-pity, excuses, misused energy, and hopelessness.

Here is what John Maxwell says about breaking the cycle:

"People who want to get out of the fear cycle often spend time feeling guilty for their inability to change.  But one of the reasons they are stuck in the fear cycle is that they focus their energy on the wrong part of the cycle.  Since they know that fear got the cycle going, they believe that they have to eliminate the fear to break the cycle.  Yet most people are unable to do that.  You can't avoid fear.  No magic potion will take it away.  And you can't wait for motivation to get you going.  To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway." (p.40-41)

No one is without fear and it can strike any aspect of your life.  When your business is a "one man show," fears can create a lot of damage and hold your business back if allowed.  I have seen it in myself and in others.  A fear can keep you from achieving dreams, finding success, and reaching your potential.  It all comes down to your determination to act inspite of the fear.  It is a mind game!  You need to change the recording in your head to positive, encouraging thoughts and keep your own thoughts from discouraging you.

With so many powerful points, I am loving this book!  If you haven't read anything in a while or you need to pick yourself out of a rut, I highly recommend this book.

Inspirational quotes have always encouraged me and John Maxwell uses many in each chapter to emphasize his points.  I'll be sharing some with you later this week.


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