Don’t Be Afraid, Use Afraid

‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’

It’s a question I hear a lot (especially in motivational posts on LinkedIn). Often, the questioner wants to inspire the audience they are engaging with, to push them to see a world without limits bounded by fear.

In my opinion, the question implies a false truth. It signifies fear as a negative, as a debilitating factor which, were it to be removed from your sphere of influence, would allow you to pursue your dreams and find happiness in life.

But do we need fear? Fear is defined as ‘The unpleasant feeling you have when you think you are in danger’. For me, the presence of an unpleasant emotion acts as a driver to change the factors which are creating that unpleasantness. Without fear of the status quo remaining in place, would any of us break the mould and try to do things differently?

Of course, not all fear can be used motivationally. When fear is so extreme that you are in danger for your life or your liberties, it is next to impossible to harness the fear as energy. It is a contained kind of fear which allows you to find motivation and inspiration from it. Thankfully, this level of fear is accessible in our everyday lives for the majority of people in the UK, which means most of us are able to take control and use this ‘unpleasant feeling’ to our advantage.

Is it not fear that no one would address the disgustingly unequal representation of women in board rooms that motivated Helena Morrissey to found the 30% Club?

Is it not fear of rampant sexism and misogyny going unchecked which inspired Laura Bates to found the ‘Everyday Sexism’ project?

Is it not fear of monotony and continuing to flounder in an unfulfilling career, which inspires thousands of women, and our very own FL members, to leave the 9-5 grind and begin their own businesses?

Do as these inspirational women do and don’t simply be afraid, use afraid.

The mother of all awards #FLNationalAwards & Summit 2018 is coming to your region with events in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds! It’s an inspirational programme showcasing diversity in business, recognising the doers, trailblazers & inclusive leaders across the UK. Join the conversation and don’t miss out – HERE