A couple weeks ago, I heard a speech by Bill Diffenderffer, the Chief Executive Officer of Skybus, a wonderfully innovative, low-cost startup airline.
Among his comments, I was struck by his practice of Zen Buddhism in his work, as described in his book The Samurai Leader. He acknowledges that his job offers great opportunities for fear, because at most any time of the day, he has thousands of customers and employees flying through the air. But, he said, he does not fear. “I can’t live my life in fear and still get done what I need to get done.”
And he challenged us:
Let me ask you, by a show of hands: How many of you would say that your ability to function during the day is hindered by fear? None of you are raising your hands, so I think I can assume that you don’t think of fear as a limiting factor in your work.
But what if I change the question: How many of you would say that your ability to function during the day is hindered by stress? Hands are now up. Here’s my point: stress is fear. They are the same thing.
I’m still pondering that. Most of us are limited by fear, even though our worst traumas are paper cuts not plane crashes. Folks seem to be courageous in many ways, addressing risk. But when faced with opportunity for achievement, they are hobbled by fear or stress. Is it because they lack self-confidence? Do they think they do not deserve greater success? Has content made them lazy?
Our prosperity has made us masters of managing downside. But what of achieving the upside?
How can you remove fear (or stress) from your life? What can you do to live without fear?