Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Overcoming fear of Robins

The Robins in our front tree are driving our two-year-old feline Jewels absolutely nuts! While technically she’s higher in the food chain, the rapid chirping and dive bombing flight patterns of the Robins have scared her so much she’s intimidated to go outside during the day. The bark on the Silver Leaf Maple tree she used to scurry up rarely feels the scratching of her claws.

Jewels likes to watch the outside world from the safety of her perch in the front window sill. With fascination her head turns, eyes dart back and forth, and ears perk up as she observes the world seemingly roar by.

Sometimes when she wants/needs to go out during the day she’ll stand at the door, eyes looking up at the handle in expectation as if looking alone will magically open the door. She’ll look around for a helper. If she really needs to go out, she’ll even lightly growl at the door.

She’ll crouch at the threshold when the door opens, watching and observing, making sure all is safe. Too often, however, fear overcomes her and no matter how much she wanted or even needed to brave the outside world, she’ll retreat to the comfort and safety of the indoors. Seconds later she’s often back to try the whole process again.

Sometimes we are a lot like Jewels, afraid of what the outside world holds in store for us today. Perhaps afraid is too strong of a word… or maybe not strong enough. Nervousness, concern, worry, apprehension, fear, panic, dread, trepidation, terror, horror. The range of fear can run the gamut from mild to severe.

Likewise, that which we fear, the “outside world” in our story today, generally is significantly different for each one of us – fear of public speaking, worry about a business presentation, fear of rejection. Perhaps we fear the past, worry about the future or even today.

Fear manifests itself uniquely in each one of us. We may both share the same fear, maybe even to the same level, if it was possible to measure levels of fear. Yet, we will each process the same fear individually and we will each act or react to the same fear at the same level in our own very unique and personal way.

Assuming were sometimes like Jewels and this discussion of fear has some level of relevance, and assuming a level of accuracy in the observation that fear is uniquely manifest, why would we ever think another’s personal story or some generic checklist for “overcoming fear” could help us? Because they both can.

There are millions of checklist and stories you can find; I’ll share a couple that mean something to me. Brian Tracy, who I’ve long been a student off, offers four simple steps for overcoming fear.

1) Define the problem or situation you are worrying about clearly in writing.
2) Write out the worst possible outcome of the worry situation.
3) Resolve to accept the worst possible outcome, should it occur.
4) Begin immediately to improve upon the worst.

Stephen Palmer offers an easy to understand formula for keeping our Lizard Brain, “a chickenhearted little weasel responsible for fear and rage, fight-or-flight,” safely tucked away and keeping our logical CEO and intuitive mentor “in charge of our lives and decisions.”

Stephen Covey shares “The Upside of Fear,” a powerful story of Weldon Long who found a “Freedom in Prison” that allowed him to rebuild his personal and professional life.

You may like to know Jewels has figured out one way to overcome her fear – she goes out at night when the Robins are nowhere to be seen. While the dark of the night may be a cause of fear for some, it’s become a source of freedom for Jewels.

I hope we can each take courage from Jewels and work to discover our own source for overcoming our fears.

Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

Les Patterson

p.s. Take 15 minutes today to read Brian Tracy’s four simple steps for overcoming fear, Stephen Palmer’s formula for keeping our Lizard Brain in check, and Stephen Covey’s The Upside of Fear.

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