Date Added: January 2012
Note: This article appeared in the January 4, 2012 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life this month, an odd time to discuss fear. Yet, fear is something we each face – whether we admit it or not.
We face many fears. Fear of asking questions. Fear of being different. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of failure. Each fear has a negative result. We avoid doing something. We may be criticized, unpopular or rejected. We risk losing our job, friends or family.
If fear results in negative consequences, why fear? Why fear asking a question if you believe the question must be asked? Why fear making a mistake if you believe your recommendation is the right thing to do? Why fear being different if you believe in who you are?
Fear is a safe communication method. We avoid things because we fear them. The more we fear, the more we go through life not addressing our fears. As we become more filled with fear, our perspectives are influenced in how we treat others. If we are filled with hatred or jealousy, we treat others this way.
If we are filled with goodness, happiness and joy (because we release our fears); we have a more positive impact on others. Let’s call this a place of Freedom. The more we are in Freedom; the more opportunities we have to use our unique abilities to influence others at work, home and in our communities.
There are many amazing King quotes. My favorite is, “One day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great issue. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid… so you refuse to take that stand. You may live until you are 90, but… you died when you refused to stand up for right… for truth… for justice.”
Said another way, you died when you refused to be You. Face your fears and be in a place of Freedom. Freedom to ask questions. Freedom be different. Freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Freedom to succeed. Freedom to leverage your gifts, live your life and be the greatest form of You.