Friday, August 01, 2008

What Can They Do To You?

Somewhere I read about an executive who calmed the fears of an associate who'd blundered by telling her, "What do you think they (upper management) are going to do? Burn down your house? Take your children? The most they can do is fire you."

And, of course, they didn't fire her, but the exec's approach did put matters in perspective. It is easy for fear to get out of control. Our imaginations can turn on us and generate one fearful notion after another. More than once in my career, I've smiled at one of my father's frequent bits of advice - "Tell 'em to go to hell" - and, being a tad more diplomatic, have altered it to "Be prepared to tell them to go to hell" or "Be ready to walk away from the table."

I've deeply regretted times when that advice left me and worry jumped into the saddle. Excessive worry can freeze judgment, squander time, and destroy pleasure. The extreme negative viewpoint often poses as reality but in fact it is usually a distortion. By caring less, and recognizing that many factors are out of our hands, we regain control and control is the most powerful antidote for fear.


Anonymous said...

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
- Proverbs 29:25

Eclecticity said...

We used to say while unconventionally cruising: "What are they going to do to me, take away my birthday and put me on a ship in the Indian Ocean?"

Unfortunately the fear thing has dominated much of my thinking during my career. I'm much freer when I keep myself from worrying about internal politics and just try to do what's right, what's best under the circumstances.

Fine line though.

I'm reading a book right now by Anthony Zolezzi called the Detachment Paradox. It can be very helpful to me, as well as Nicholas' Bate's books can if I would heed and work at their good advice.