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Dr. Bob Wright | June 16, 2022

Don’t Let Fear Stop You: Be Afraid and Do it Anyway

Don’t let fear stop you – be afraid and do it anyway. Everything we want is on the other side of fear. Making friends with fear is critical.


Don’t Be Afraid of Fear: It’s an Awesome Ally

Sure, changing your life can be frightening. There are many reasons why we get sucked back into the status quo. But the biggest reason? Fear.

Fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of rejection, fear of what’s to come.

None of us can predict how things will turn out when we’re making a change. Maybe we’re embarking on a new job, a new relationship, or some other lifestyle change. Whatever it is, there are good reasons why we should approach it with optimism and excitement.

Especially when we learn to make fear our friend.

The Guard Dog of Our Fear

Fear is omnipresent. Like a guard dog.

Sometimes he is asleep and relaxed. Sometimes his ears go up, and he begins sniffing. Danger is being sensed. If no one does anything about it, he stands up. Then he growls. Then he barks.

The guard dog tells us when to pay attention. Maybe it’s false danger. Maybe it’s not. But we want to have a good relationship with that guard dog.

We want to notice when fear tells us to prick up our ears.

We want to pay attention to it because it’s giving us good information about our next move, our next choice.

Me? I’m still learning to pay attention to the nuances of my fear. Too often don’t listen to the guard dog, which leads me into conflicts I don’t need to have. I confuse communication with others. I shut it out and create dangerous situations.

I can’t say this too many times—making friends with the guard dog of fear is critical.

In our work at the Wright Foundation, fear is the most primary of all our emotions. Why? Because it’s about staying alive.

We’re afraid of so much, but ultimately, we’re afraid of being kicked out of the tribe.

So we get defensive and let our guard dog, our fear, go nuts.

BUT imagine if we had a relationship with our fear. Imagine if we could say BEFORE we said anything else: “I’m afraid this might be misunderstood. What I’m really thinking is _______, and I’d like you to be in on this with me. Can we talk about it?”

When we become partners with our fear, we can anticipate what we’re afraid might happen and choose a whole different approach.

And then the guard dog can lower his ears and lay back down.

Everything we want is on the other side of fear.

Jason Silva – the philosopher of our age – talks to us about our fear and aliveness


“I fear the intensity of life lived this close”

– Jason Silva


Our beliefs about who we are and what the world expects of us stop us from living our lives fully and with authenticity.

We make up stories out of our fear about stepping into unknown selves and an unknown.

Think about it. We go into a grocery store and pick the same 50 items week after week out of infinite ingredients and possibilities. Without even knowing it, we have stories about our dietary expectations of ourselves.

What’s that odd-looking fruit? What’s that strange fish? I don’t know about that spice. I’ve never tasted it before, but it doesn’t seem like something I’d like.

And we do the same things with our lives. We pick the same 50 options out of an infinite array of opportunities because we have a story about our lives.

And that story begins and ends with fear.

At the Wright Foundation, we help our students evolve this by teaching them the assignment way of living.

Why? As humans, most of us would rather have known pain than unknown pleasure. We’re afraid to let some aspect of ourselves die or expand.

So, would it be better for us just to ignore the fear and push through?

Where I Should Have Let Fear Stop Me

I had an enormously successful launch of a book on people skills in the beauty industry, and we were selling the book into beauty schools.

I was in a meeting with the heads of beauty schools, and they were all very engaged in the subject. Then one of them said something that sounded like horse manure to me (guard dog lifts his head.) And I immediately got into a debate about it (guard dog stands up,) causing this person to feel embarrassed (guard dog is madly barking.)

But I was insensitive to it.  I was insensitive to the danger. Why did I ignore the guard dog? I was too in love with my own thinking. I wasn’t aware of the danger in the situation. I could have sensitively addressed what was said with a question. But instead, I just went right at it. And that person got defensive, and I got more aggressive.

And I lost the room of about fifty very important people.

I don’t listen to my fear enough. I often don’t even recognize it until I’ve made the faux pas. I don’t adequately sense the vulnerability of other people.

Where I’m comfortable debating something, others find it as a put-down. Freud would call it an ego-insult. They would see me as a punitive parent. That’s where my self-fulfilling prophecy has come in. But that’s another blog.

Listening to my fear has been an ongoing lesson for me throughout my career. My problem is not befriending it to win more hearts and minds.

Rather than learning to meet YOU at your most raw and vulnerable, I’ve managed my fear by testing: will you take me at my most raw and aggressive?

I’ve had some pretty embarrassing experiences that I don’t really want to go into, but I think you get the point.

When we make fear our friend, the ending of the story may be a much more pleasant surprise.

Ultimately, We’ll Face Our Fear and Say the Right Thing, Right?

In 1951, Solomon Asch conducted a well-known conformity experiment. He told the participants it was a “visual perception test.” The participants didn’t know that the other participants were actors.

The test? Visually assess lines to see which two matched in length. The correct answer was obvious, and the rest of the responses were wrong.

When presented with the first few lines, everyone would choose the obvious answer. However, after a few turns, the actors began to select the wrong answer. At first, the participants would go against the crowd and choose the correct answer. But as the experiment went on, their resolve waned.

Eventually, 75% WOULD CHANGE THEIR RESPONSE to match what the rest of the room said—even though they knew it was wrong. Even more shockingly, half of the 75% would eventually perceive the wrong answer as correct—they would see the wrong line length!

Will we ever be able to face our fear and say the right thing, whatever that right thing feels like for us?

Yes, if we let ourselves have a relationship with our fear. If we are in good rapport with our guard dog. If we grow our social and emotional intelligence and learn to listen to our fear—not judge it or ignore it or revise it.

Fear is here.

How much we allow that to be true will determine how long it will be here.

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author, and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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