Making Decisions Out of Fear - How Fascinating!

Making Decisions Out of Fear - How Fascinating!

In the midst of a difficult conversation or conflict, and even sometimes when I’m simply pressed for time, I often make a snap decision that is often a result of some latent fear. Were I more conscious of that fear, I’d likely be less reactive and may even make a different decision, but that’s seldom the case.

Recently I was triggered by a comment someone made during an intense conversation. Nearly in mid-sentence, I chose to walk away to get some fresh air so that I didn’t spout off something I’d regret later. That’s the good news. However, when I thought about it later I realized that I was triggered because the comment made me remember a way I used to be treated by someone else and I was probably afraid that this conversation would go that way too. I made a decision based on my fear of being rejected.

I’m beginning to recognize when my decisions are made out of fear – and little by little choosing something different. The same goes for bigger business decisions. Are they made because I fear being wrong? Or because I fear failure, rejection or being uncomfortable? These are the “Four Fatal Fears” according to Larry and Hersch Wilson in their book, Play to Win.

I’ve found that an easy first step to making a more mindful choice is to say with objective lightness, “How fascinating!” Then, identify the latent fear operating in the background and ask if that’s really the criteria that is best used for this decision. Sometimes it is, and more often there is a more thoughtful alternative. This is an opportunity to have more compassion for myself and for those who are affected by my behavior.

Give it a try this month… watch what you’re saying and the decisions you’re making. Are they made from a place of fear? How fascinating! What might be different if you were able to name the fear and choose something else? And what might happen to the conflict or hesitation as a result? Better decisions are ahead!