Fear at Game Time

“Imagine that you’re a team coach and you’re giving your emotions a pep talk before the game. ‘So how’s everyone feeling about the game?’ you shout.

Enthusiasm shouts back, ‘I am stoked! Can’t wait to get on the field!’ and pumps the air with his fists, smiling, looking to everyone to smile. Anxiety is pacing in the back of the room, in his own world, and looks up briefly to say, ‘I am so scared I could puke,’ and keeps on pacing. Abandonment Issues says, ‘Look, if we don’t score in the first quarter, we should take the ball and go home– end it before they do, you know. But, hey, I’m in!’ As the coach, you’re nodding, listening to each player intently, and assessing which players to put in the lead for your best chances of victory.

Fear stands up. ‘Are y’all crazy? If I lose this game, I’ll never play in this town again.’ And then Fear starts picking on the other players. ‘Enthusiasm, it just ain’t natural to be that happy; you gotta get real. And anxiety! Shit, if you get on the field and have a freeze attack, we all go down.’

Finally you step in, ‘All right, McFearstein, we appreciate your point of view, and you’ve got some good points. Now let’s listen to the others.’ Just like all of your emotions, Fear just wants to be seen and heard.

Confidence (who is also the team captain) says, ‘I’m feeling steady. If we stay focused, this win is ours. And when we win, the offers will start pouring in.’ Insecurity says, ‘If you want me on the bench, I, I understand, Coach.’ Well, if that’s where you want to be, then that’s where you’ll be, you think to yourself.

Pragmatic shrugs and nods at the same time: ‘Odds are stacked in our favor. Anything could happen.’ Love raises her hand, ‘Listen you’re all fucking amazing! And I believe in every single one of you!’ Woot.

Time to drop some truth bombs Coach. Time to lead, not accommodate. You can’t let Fear steal more air time. And Anxiety is hanging out on the edge distracting everyone. Here’s how it’s got to go down: ‘I echo what Love said. You’re all amazing. We’re contenders. Enthusiasm, you’re in front; Confidence and Pragmatic have got your back. Abandonment Issues, your job is to trust your instincts. You will know when it’s right to pass the ball– we trust you. Anxiety, you’re alert, and we need that on the team. You need to stay close to Confidence. The important thing to do is just stay in the game– keep playing.

‘Fear, thanks for looking out for us. Yep, we could fail, it’s possible. This is risky. But we’ll come out on top no matter what, because that’s who we are. You’ve done your job, and now you’ll be playing from the bench.’

When you can see fear as just an emotion that’s hanging out with all of your other emotions, you gain some clearer perspective. It’s not superior, and it’s not even inferior. It’s just an emotion that you can choose to focus on or not.”

This is an excerpt from Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions. It’s one of the best things I’ve read about dealing with fear. Plus I was cracking up as I read it. Good information, inspiration, and humor. Can’t beat that.