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Fear Not

Chemmy Alcott skied in her first race when she was only 3 years old. She had talent and promise. When she was 11, she broke her neck in a skiing accident, which resulted in having two vertebrae permanently fused together. A few years later, she suffered a horrible double fracture in her right leg. Still, she didn’t let fear control her comebacks. Even after breaking 42 bones throughout her career, she is a four-time Olympian, a seven-time British National Overall Champion, and the only British female skier to win a run in a World Cup. She says:


“My motto is, I never lose – either I win or I learn – and that’s kind of what I go through every single day. It’s about saying yes to opportunity and knowing that somewhere, physically and mentally, you will get broken, but that’s OK. That’s absolutely OK.”


Fear is a natural and necessary feeling. It’s the deep instinct that tells you not to walk down that dark street alone or to stick your hand in a wasp’s nest. Fear can be protective, and it can also be hindering. Instead of steering you away from danger, fear may cause you to avoid risk altogether. It may prevent you from applying for a job you really want, from having a difficult conversation with an employee, or from going on a first date.


Whether it’s fear of failure, change, or rejection, or it’s fear of flying, germs, or enclosed spaces, allowing fear to make decisions for you can severely impact your personal and professional life. What if, rather than fear holding you back, you learned how to embrace it? What if instead of fear being debilitating, you use it as motivation? How can you learn to leverage whatever it is that you may be afraid of?


When it comes to your career, shifting your perspective from “what if I lose?” to “either I win or I learn,” acknowledges the fear of the failure, and also encourages growth. When you recognize the fear (failure) and investigate the root cause (disappointing your boss or loved ones), the grip on your guts lessens. Granted, facing and embracing your fear is difficult and lengthy work, but doing so will help you know that 99% of the time, what you’re afraid of is not going to kill you. Unless you’re afraid of spiders. Or snakes. They might kill you. Most other things, though . . . probably not. Do the work associated with identifying and unpacking the unknowns that are preventing movement forward. Put yourself out there, breathe deeply, take a chance, and go watch Arachnophobia.

businessman and monster


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