March 12, 2011

Finding Courage in the Face of Fear

Day 71: 32.5 miles/2:04

“Having the courage to fail facilitates the opportunity for your success.”

Very little is accomplished without first taking risk.  Despite the frustrations and failures that many of us have experienced the past few years, there is no way around the task of pressing forward to get where we want to be. For if we do nothing, nothing will happen.  And, in the long term, doing nothing is worse than failing again even if taking no action feels acceptable right now.

I am struggling with this reality with Brandon and he continues to move forward with his progress.  He is having difficulty finding the confidence and energy to take action finding work.  The fear of rejection, the challenge of creatively explaining the gaps in past employment and merely having the confidence that someone would be interested in hiring him, all prevent him from assertively taking action in finding work.  His fear of failure – in this case rejection – is preventing him from discovering someone who wouldn’t reject him.  As a result, he is frozen by his fear and is doing nothing which actually feeds the beast of a growing lack of confidence – not battling to improve his confidence.

When fear causes us to freeze in our place, it prevents us from taking the very action we need to take to overcome our fears.  The courage to fail has to be stronger than the fear itself in order for us to find the increased confidence to conquer our fears.  Otherwise the fear of failure keeps us in place and nothing happens.  That occurrence actually adds fuel to the fear and makes things even worse.

The best way to overcome our fears is to simply face them; however, not everyone is wired or capable of going on the offensive.  If facing your fears head-on is not plausible, face your fears by taking action toward your goals.

Brandon needs a job.  The only way he will be capable of finding work is to talk to people about work.  However, that prospect terrorizes him.  Instead, he needs to focus on what he is really working on accomplishing – accumulating the resources to pay his legal obligations, eliminate his debt, and save enough to move back to California or Chicago.  He is not really looking for a job.  He is looking to facilitate a transition to regaining control of his life.  With both eyes on his mission and his goal – regaining control of his life — he can become more focused on working through the activities necessary to get there.  In this case, one of those activities is work.  Remember, it is the accomplishment of our goals that drive us anyway.

The more committed we are to our goals and our mission, the more passion and courage we will apply to getting there.  Facing our fears and our willingness to fail is not about the task at hand; rather, it is about continuing to take the appropriate and necessary actions to help us get where we desire to be.  Failure will always be part of our journey; however, it is the clarity of our mission that provides is with the courage and the energy to keep moving.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.