Fear as a Compass

As people like Steve Pressfield and Seth Godin have pointed out, fear can be a powerful guide to the work that really matters.

The more it matters, the more the Resistance or the lizard brain will try to sabotage it.

But it occurred to me in a recent conversation that fear may also point in the direction of our greatest gifts.

We were talking about fear, and someone noticed that the fears each of us were sharing seemed to be coming from precisely the place the others saw as our biggest strengths.

I kept sitting with that observation afterward, and it struck me that this is simply a sign of our instinctive trembling when we we channel powers that feel greater than our own.

Imagine how you’d walk through the world if you knew you could lift a car. How, then, would you lift a child?

If you did manage to lift a car — especially if you lifted it over and over again — other people would no doubt point and cheer. But you’d be shaking on the inside, wouldn’t you, doing something even you didn’t think possible in your model of everyday reality?

The fear isn’t that you can’t lift cars or jump buildings. The fear is that you can.