To be fearful can be portrayed as a weakness. To be scared to try something different or new. I am afraid of dogs. People laugh when they see me squirm when I am around one.
But the weight of fear is something I want to write about today. The weight of fear that only occurs when you truly feel responsible. It carries with it a seriousness and commitment that goes far beyond whatever you feel responsible for.
I first sensed the weight of fear during my difficult times. During separation and divorce. Another time when my business was headed in the wrong direction towards bankruptcy. The weight of fear appears during these times portraying a bad ending to the mess I found myself in each time. The weight of fear is that snapshot of failure. Of what might happen unless we do something different. That never leaves the back of our mind in both bad AND good times.
In both cases of my life, I was accountable. I was responsible. There was not a 100 person organization that I could blame things on. Being accountable is the closest thing I know to actually being an owner of a business. Where you can’t run away or simply change the channel of your life. You must stay put and work through things.
The weight of fear, that I am describing, is not paralyzing but rather energizing. It is the reminder, when both accountable and responsible, that failure is not an option. The weight of fear is what keeps you up at night. For it is heavy, burdensome, and unpleasant.
The weight of fear, is what slows you down. It makes you pay more attention before deciding. Yet it also forces us to keep moving by deciding what to do next (even if we are not sure if it will work or not). The weight of fear makes us take small steps rather than large, big jumps into more uncertain territory.
The weight of fear is what helps to make you strong. To give you the push into the deep end of the pool when you are not sure if you can swim because you have made up your mind that you will not fail. That you will do everything and then some to make sure you survive.
Its absence in a person also stands tall in difficult times. The absence can be seen in no decisions, little extra effort when things are not good, and a strong denial of the way things really are. Those who have no concept or experience with the weight of fear, continue their daily routines as if nothing is wrong.
Only the weight of fear brings a solid presence to those asked to lead. To those that understand what it means to be accountable.
Many want to be responsible, and love the glory that appears to come with it. Few understand that it is understanding and embracing the weight of fear that can make all the difference in improving both our lives and the organizations we participate in.