Posts Tagged ‘business’

Facing fear, confronting weakness

December 13, 2009

I remember a few years ago when our oldest son was scared to go to bed because of what was outside his window.

I knew what laid in wait out there, just beyond the window sill, stretching far as the imagination could contrive, was of course the scariest beast of all: the unknown.

I took him, a then reluctant but curious three-year old, to the window to show him. I made a big, slow, suspenseful, and overly sarcastic deal out of it as I pulled the curtain back to reveal … Voila!

(cricket chirp)


He was relieved to confirm the back yard hadn’t been transformed into a ghost and monster free-for-all, but instead it looked normal even in the blue glow of moon light.

Once satisfied and tucked into bed, he listened with great interest to my bit about facing our fears, and how most of the things we’re scared of aren’t real.

We just think they are.

Once we face and expose them, the fear is expelled like air from an untied balloon, I said.

“Sometimes, it even makes the same silly sound,” I added before giving him a final kiss good night on the forehead.

Fear has come up a few times since then, and each time I watch him carefully but confidently advance, rather than recoil, toward things that scare him.

I’ve been thinking about that night alot these past weeks, as I find myself – reluctant but curious – waist deep in a pair of business classes I am taking.

It’s not so much the fear of them, as it the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy most aspects of business. Actually, what I feel is resistance, which I suppose is fear in disguise.

To me, a creatively driven person, the pragmatic study of business is about as dry as a popcorn fart not very exciting. But the older I get, the more I come to appreciate the things that make me want to run the other way. They’ve become my version of the bedroom window, dark with an imagined demon assuredly lingering on the other side. Only by forcing myself to go toward it and pull back the curtain, do I see there is nothing to fear out there.

The things we fear are the things we should face.

And yet, as I’ve learned many times from personal experience, we usually don’t face them squarely. Instead, we often turn toward our strengths and focus our energy on them. Or we reach for our crutches, whatever they may be, and lean on them.

Rather than brave the path that leads to the inner battle ground, we construct elaborate psychological structures that go up and over  – towering and rickety scaffolds of behavior patterns and habits – upon which we do everything in our power to avoid facing those things that scare us. The very things that once overcome, can propel us forward to a higher level of being.

I am lucky to have had a diverse corps of mentors in my life, some of whom have nurtured my innate creative strengths, while others have forced my look inward and face my weaknesses head on and overcome them. It is in the former that I have found great comfort, and in the latter, incredible personal and professional growth. From them I have heard such brave musings as, “Sometimes, you climb the mountain just because it’s there,” or “you have to work hard at the things you’re good at, and twice as hard at the things you’re not.”

It is especially wonderful to see these insights and philosophies take root in my children. My greatest hope is that they will forever strive toward their fullest potential.

Still, I’ll be glad when these classes are over. I’m taking them to help me corral my seemingly endless string of creative ideas.

I just don’t enjoy business. I enjoy working, I could do it 24 hours a day. But not business.

All the more reason to face it.

Both classes end this month. When they do, I’ll have nine business research papers, two midterm projects, and a comprehensive business plan for my family portrait photography under my belt.

And from where I stand now, that all looks mighty nice by the light of the moon.