This week in my business support group we discussed risk. I described myself as “not being risk adverse.” Not to say I enjoy risk or that I am, as some have called me… fearless. I am not without fear. No one is. Any animal, humans included, have three reactions to fear. Fight. Flight, or Freeze.
We can do all three. We can jump around between the options. And we can respond differently to the same fear each time we meet it. But those are the option.
But what comes next?
What you do after that initial reaction is important. It’s what keeps you moving forward and coming back to face your fear again. It’s progress. For what it’s worth, here are the steps I take to move from that out-of-control fear reaction (i.e., being stuck) to moving forward.
- Know your base. What is your instinctual response? Mine is fight. It’s my nature. What’s yours?
- Look at the pros and cons of your base. My base is fight. On the upside, fight is action. It’s quick and decisive. I’m facing my fear head on, in full view. On the downside, it’s reactive, and it can be inhibiting. It’s why I struggle as a voice over actor when a script calls for the character to scream out in fear. (I’d rather just punch them in the face.)
- Temper your reaction. In this case I mean “temper” as in to improve the hardness or elasticity of a metal or to neutralize or counterbalance your base reaction into a tool. Reach inside yourself to find ways to move outside of your base when you feel stuck in a fight, flight, or freeze.
I am driven by curiosity, pattern recognition, and critical thinking. I love to examine things. To see how they work. To figure out how they relate or influence other things around them. And I love to problem solve.
- Blend it all together. I have learned to temper my RE-action, pressing pause on the fight reaction, before taking action. To be thoughtful, strategic, and mindful of how I take action and mitigate future problems.
Moving From Fear to Risk Awareness
What is your instinctual, base reaction to fear?
What are the pros and cons of this reaction?
How can you use the pros to improve your next steps?
What actions or steps can you take to counterbalance the cons?
What other traits in your personality can you move forward when faced with fear?