The other night Terra and I were up talking about some exciting shifts happening in our lives right now, both on the personal side and in our business. Almost simultaneously, we realized that we were standing together at that familiar intersection where fear meets the opportunity to deepen faith. There’s a nervous energy at that intersection isn’t there? Have we thought this through well enough? If I make this decision to step out in faith (for really good and grounded reasons), will it work out? Yikes! What if it doesn’t and my hopes are dashed?
In his book How Successful People Grow, John Maxwell addresses the relationship between the faith factor and the fear factor: “We all have fears. But here’s the good news. We also all have faith. The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Which emotion will I allow to be stronger?’ Your answer is important, because the stronger emotion wins….Feed your faith and starve your fear.” The assumption here is that we have a choice in whether our fear wins out or our faith.
How can I feed faith in my life and starve out my fears?
One of best ways we know how to do this is a quick three-step process. First, identify the beliefs you hold about something you fear. Then, evaluate how those beliefs affect the actions you take. Lastly, determine how your actions impact the way you feel.
For example, if I’m standing at the intersection of faith and fear about a job change, I’ll start by checking my fears about this idea. In taking personal inventory, I realize that hidden in my heart and mind is a fear-based belief I wasn’t even really aware of. The belief is that even though I want to change my job, my chances are slim because I’m overly-qualified and need to make more money than a prospective employer could pay a younger and less-seasoned candidate. What will I do about this belief? Though the belief may not even be true, if I believe it to be true, it will likely keep me stuck in the current job I have, making the action I take resemble INACTION more than action. INACTION is still an ‘action’ for the sake of this process. Step three leads me to conclude how I will feel as a result of my action: Frustrated, resentful and wishing I was doing something else are all likely feelings that would result from my initial fear.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, our beliefs shape the actions we take and the feelings we end up having.
So, let’s flip the scenario. The moment I identify that I have given room to the belief that I’m overly-qualified and will be too expensive for a prospective employer to consider, I pause to ask myself if that’s a true belief or not. In this case, I determine that I don’t really know if it’s true or not, but I consciously choose not to let that belief take any more root until I can get more information. I get serious about researching the job market and what employers are actually looking for right now in my area (geographically) and the demand for my skills. I explore what researchers are saying about the generational gaps and trends that exist in the workplace today. As I take these actions, my fears lessen and my faith grows. I learn that my experience and skills are actually in higher demand than I originally guessed, and that employers are actually willing to pay higher salaries to those with more experience. The reason employers are willing to do this is because they are trying to curb the hard costs they experience from the trends of a millennial workforce (now the largest generation in history). This new workforce is arriving to workplaces with higher levels of entitlement and lower levels of
emotional intelligence than any other previous generation. (Note: this is not a knock on Millennials, and certainly there are exceptions here. But there is a growing body of research illuminating the reasons why this trend is occurring).
With this intel, my new (and more accurate) belief is that I have a strong chance at landing a new job that I will enjoy, doing something I’ll be good at and that will meet my compensation needs. This belief (based more on faith versus fear) translates into actions like applying for the job, getting interviews, and a hopeful attitude that I’ll land a new gig! The feeling, optimism (faith rooted in facts), is the motivation I’ll need to sustain me through the grind of the application and interviewing process. God knows I’ll need it!
So, are you at an intersection of faith and fear? What BELIEFS do you have about the matter? How are those beliefs impacting your ACTIONS? And how have the actions you’ve taken impacted the way you feel right now FEELINGS?
See what happens when you FEED YOUR FAITH and STARVE YOUR FEARS.
Written by Jeff Mattson, Co-Founder & Owner of Living Wholehearted, LLC