C-Suite Network™

To Fear or Not to Fear

That is the question.

With the changing leaves and days shrinking into night, collectively we celebrate fall and all things spooky. Dark forests, the space under your bed, the idea of a dark cornfield, are all tropes to incite fear. And while it’s fun to ‘escape’ into the scaries that October brings, it feels like we have already been navigating a dark corn maze for months not knowing what is around the corner.  

We fear what we don’t know.

COVID strikes and we arrive at the cornfield, ok. It’s just a cornfield, we think, we’ve done these before. We start optimistically, prepared for the challenge ahead, turn a corner, and another and even though they were in opposite directions, we are back where we started. Decisions start to feel random and impulsive, we are no longer able to keep your bird’s-eye view on the big picture. Now we’re sweating and suddenly there seem to be a lot more spiderwebs. Just when we think we have our footing, the space narrows and we arrive at a dead end. 

We hear voices around us, and think “if they can navigate, so can we.” But then the voices dissipate and it’s becoming dusk. We thought we’d already been out of this maze by now. The impending dark makes us uneasy, fearful.  Fearful that there is no end in sight. Fearful of not making it to the end before pitch black. 

Fear of failure.

The Answer to the Fear or Not Question

The current business climate is wrought with threats that leaders have never faced. Every day, headlines above the fold are reporting social unrest, chaotic governments, conflicting virus data, the upcoming high-stakes election, economic downturns, businesses failing. And if those threats don’t generate enough fear on how to lead and be productive during these chaotic times, there’s more at stake now. 

It’s no longer enough to keep your team productive and motivated but now you need to know how to get you and them out of the maze, alive

Courage is knowing what not to fear – Plato

Let’s talk about that fear of failure. Perhaps it’s questioning the premise of it. What if there is no fail? What if failure isn’t real but a construct of the mind? What if every turn you make in a corn maze that doesn’t get you directly out isn’t a mistake? What if every “mistake” is just one in a series of consequences? What if we stop thinking in black and white terms and reframe the whole idea of failure. 

The reframe is this – the right thinking is that there are no mistakes, only consequences to actions. And if your actions are motivated by courage, action for good, there can only be good outcomes. 

Mitigate the wrong thinking, you mitigate the “mistake”. 

Courage is not the lack of fear, courage is taking action despite the fear. 

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of mind next to honor – Aristotle

What if that corn maze was meant to be burnt to the ground after you successfully found the exit or not? What if your birds-eye view found a better way to create the next maze? What if you realized the maze wasn’t the puzzle you were supposed to solve in the first place? 

If you lift the veil of fear and instead navigate with courage knowing that there are no mistakes, just consequences of actions, you will know what needs to be done and what does not.


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