It's About Time
A little fear can help get things done
Fear, I've decided, is a funny thing. For most of my life, I've thought of fear as a foe that prevented me from doing things or trying something new.
I remember when I bought my first computer years ago. I didn't use it because I was afraid of breaking it. That intimidation prolonged my learning process.
I've since concluded that there's another type of fear, one that, instead of stopping us, can actually spur us into action. I call this helpful fear.
I recognized this upon working with a new client a few years ago. To learn more about his organizing needs, I faxed him a questionnaire to fill out and return to me. To my surprise, he completed it and returned it to me the same day! In my experience, it was unusual to receive such a prompt response, and I called him to tell him how impressed I was.
He replied that he did it promptly because of fear, fear that he'd lose it on his desk if he didn't do it promptly.
We both laughed, but I thought, "Now that's a good kind of fear if it spurs one into action!"
Here's my acronym for this helpful type of fear: Fear that Encourages Action Resulting in peace of mind.
Since then I've been more aware of the voice of helpful fear. It's not a voice I hear every day, but when I hear it, I try to listen.
» Fear of forgetting to do something important: To avoid memory lapses, I'll either respond to tasks on the spot or write memos in my time planner to be sure I remember what needs to be done.
» Fear of forgetting to bring something important: Even if I'm in bed for the night, I'll get up and put an important item in my tote bag if there's a possibility I won't remember to bring it with me in the morning. That puts my mind at peace so I can sleep soundly.
» Fear of being late for an important appointment: Not knowing what the traffic will be like or if I'll be able to find parking easily, I always plan to leave early to allow a margin of peace.
» Fear that there won't be enough time to complete a project: To avoid running out of time on a project, start working on it now.
» Fear of not getting a reservation for a flight, hotel or restaurant: If you wait until the last minute, it might be too late. It's best to call and make reservation as early as possible.
This voice of helpful fear is one I hear only occasionally, but I do try to heed it because I've found it tries to protect me by urging prompt action.
How about you? Can you remember times you've heard the voice of helpful fear? I encourage you to listen to it, then enjoy the resulting peace of mind.
See you in two weeks!
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813, call 488-0288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org