Resolving Our Fear

By Tobi Schwartz-Cassell


We all face it.

Maybe your Achilles’ heel is elevators. Maybe it’s public speaking. Or fear of bugs or snakes, or worse–fear of not fitting into last year’s swimsuit. Hey, guess what? It’s real, and it’s deep.

And, okay, I’ll be honest. One of my greatest fears is medical appointments. And by writing this article, it occurred to me that this fear is most likely based on events from my childhood. Spanning ages five to 10, I was in and out of the hospital, and there was a lot of poking and prodding involved. So, I’m guessing that fear has hung on through the decades, which is why I have doc appointments all stacked up. But they are stacked up in my mind, not on my calendar.

In his book, “The Bravest You, Adam Kirk Smith wrote about the top 10 fears that hold people back. They include:

  1. Fear of Inadequacy
  2. Fear of Uncertainty
  3. Fear of Failure
  4. Fear of Rejection
  5. Fear of Missing Out (also known as FOMO)
  6. Fear of Change
  7. Fear of Losing Control
  8. Fear of Being Judged
  9. Fear of Something Bad Happening
  10. Fear of Getting Hurt

After spelling out the 10 fears, he details his five-step Bravery Process™ which includes:

  1. Complacency
  2. Inspiration
  3. Fear
  4. Passion
  5. Bravery

Smith, a life coach, also first encountered fear in his childhood. But instead of experiencing it in a hospital like I did, he observed it in church. As he matured, he was able to see things from a different perspective, “When I finally understood that fear was the one thing keeping me from fully connecting with people and giving more of myself to the world, I began to understand why the angry man who scolded us in church all those years ago was disgusted with fear. His message that had since haunted me was completely wrong—fear will come, it is necessary, and is many times an indicator that we are on the right track—but telling us to fight fear with everything inside ourselves was a message that we all need to hear.”

Mo Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer at Google (X). He wrote the book, “Solve for Happy,” and offers his take on fear, “Many kids cry on the first day of kindergarten. They stomp their feet and scream because they’re afraid.

“Then, a few hours or days later, they’re okay. They even like it. What’s the magical transformation that takes place? Does kindergarten change to match their expectations? Not at all. Nothing changes. But when they face their fear, they realize that playing with other kids all day is not bad after all.

“We do this over and over. Some of us fear confronting a bully; some fear making our first presentation; some fear leaving a bad relationship; some fear walking up to a stranger and saying hello. But when we act in spite of our fear, we realize that there is nothing to fear. It’s challenging at first, but once you overcome your fear, you realize it was well worth the effort.”

I’ll keep that in mind as I start making phone calls to all those doctors. Tomorrow. 


best girls night out

PS: I shared my fear with you, and if you are comfortable, I hope you’ll share yours in the comment section below. If it makes you feel better, you can start it out with, “I have a friend who is scared to death of…” Don’t worry. I won’t tell. 😉