There is a new movie coming out this month called After Earth starring Will Smith and his son Jaden. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic movies it will likely be a hit in your house. It’s right up my family’s alley but I am impacted by the trailer on this one. Hollywood spews out a lot of nonsense along the way, but every once in a while they happen upon something so deep and profound I have to stand back in wonder and awe.
Quite a speech from a father to a son in a dire situation, right? I love the whole trailer but my heart resonates to the portion between 1:24 and 1:57 which says this:
“If we are going to survive this you must realize that
fear is not real.
It is a product of thoughts you create.
Now do not misunderstand me,
danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”
I can’t read this or hear it without getting chills. In a world that is full of very real danger, from natural disasters like the tornadoes that ran over Moore, Oklahoma this week to the agonizing reality of terrorist attacks on our own soil in the middle of the Boston Marathon or the hideous massacre of a London soldier in broad daylight on a London street today, danger is indeed very real.
The power of terrorism is to create a people who live in fear. Fear is future based and the majority of what we fear never comes to pass, but a tremendous number of people live their lives paralyzed by fear. On some days I find myself in their ranks but what I know is this: If I spend my life being afraid of what is to come, I cannot be present in the now of my life. Fear destroys creativity, hope, peace and joy. It destroys meaningful relationships and keeps people apart. We have to commit every day to banishing fear from our lives.
As a business owner, a mom, a wife, a sister, and a friend, there are a lot of things I can live in fear of. Since this is a business blog post, let’s just focus there for a bit.
Anyone out there struggle with fear of failure? Fear of disappointing a client? Fear of not being able to be everything or do everything required of you to “succeed” in business, whatever that actually means? I have a blog post taped to my wall from one of my mentors, Roy H. Williams. Roy blogs his Monday Morning Memo faithfully and I am helped in this business journey by reading what he offers. He isn’t conventional and he is often more philosophical than practical, but if you want to find some weekly wisdom you should subscribe. Roy said the following in a post a number of weeks back called “Becoming Bulletproof.”
“Failure is not an option” is the platitude of people who attended one too many motivational seminars. Failure is always a possibility, whether you admit it or not. Sometimes your very best just isn’t good enough.”
Ouch…brutal honesty but refreshing nonetheless! He goes on to say that success is born out of learning from failure and that the good news is “failure is a temporary condition.” To live life in fear of failure in business means that we will never take risks. Last year we had the opportunity to experience failure in a business partnership we entered into. It was agonizing and costly, but we learned a lot. My temptation is to live in fear of taking any more risks, but playing it safe won’t get us where we want to be in our business. We want to make an impact, and making an impact requires stepping out in ways that are risky sometimes. The old proverb says “nothing ventured, nothing gained” but there are few guarantees and sometimes what you ventured does get lost, resulting in feelings of failure.
Again my friend Roy helps me. He says:
You cannot have humility until you first have confidence.
You cannot fail until you first have courage.
Confidence and courage are not shameful.
Humility is not shameful.
Failure is not shameful.
Fear is shameful.
We live in an unpredictable world and danger is very real in business. The economy is freaking out, the news on economic turnaround is good one day and bad the next. Most of us in business have experienced some impact from the economic depression we are in. Marketing and training are the first things to get cut in a downturn economy so we are walking the journey too.
It isn’t every day my day is interrupted for the sake of a movie trailer, and I have never paused to write a blog about one, but this one matters to me. I can see it showing up in speeches and sermons across the country, a perfect illustration for a concept so many wrestle with.
One more mentor quote on fear as a closing thought from Jesus. Jesus ranks higher than Roy even on Mondays (Roy would be relieved to hear this) and in the more abbreviated version of the Sermon on the Mount given in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 12:25-26 I recently read this:
25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
It kind of made me giggle that Jesus referred to extending my own life span by an hour as a “very little thing” but it definitely gives perspective.
Fear is a thief.
Choose hope instead.