The Bear – Conquering Your Fears

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 17, 2009 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive |

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There’s a famous fable about a skunk, a lion and a hawk who debated as to which of them was the most dangerous and feared animal in the jungle.

The hawk claimed to be “top dog”: “I win because I hit ’em from above, and from above, I have the best view of all. I can see things nobody else can!”

The lion rejoined: “Nonsense! I’m the most powerful animal of all, with the longest, sharpest, teeth and claws. I’m the most dangerous, for sure!”

Then the skunk said: “I can stink up the whole jungle and run out every man or beast in the territory.”

And so they argued, on and on, until a big old bear came along and swallowed the three of them, Hawk, Lion and Stinker!

With the uncertainty we are all faced with every day, losing your job is high on the list of people’s fears right now.  Anxieties are high in both the executive office and in the sea of cubicles where all the work is actually done.  Here are a couple of tips for quelling your anxieties so you can conquer your fears so if the Bear (layoffs) comes along, it won’t kill you.

  • 1. Start by identifying the source of your worry.   In the case of your job is it the loss of pay or the dreaded job search that you just don’t feel like doing right now? Talking to someone about your fears or concerns can help differentiate between the products of your imagination and those things truly deserving of worry. It helps to know if the source of your worry is something you can control, or something over which you have no control. If the cause of your worry is something you can affect, then channel that worry into action.
  • 2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if my fear becomes reality?”  Think it through logically.  If you are prepared for the worst, you can make a pro-active plan for dealing with the cause of your worry and then carry it through. Such a reaction is a positive use of worry helping you to overcome potential problems and threats. However, if there is nothing you can do about the source of your worry, it’s just as important to act to counter that worry, rather than letting it build up harmfully inside you. You need to learn to let go. If something beyond your control might happen, it either will or won’t. Worrying about it will produce only harmful, not positive results.
  • 3. Another strategy is to simply switch gears. Think of something over which you do have control. Turn to an enjoyable activity, perhaps with a friend, and focus on that rather than the source of your worry. Look to exercise, a fantastic way to relieve stress, burn calories, decrease depression and refocus your attention. Your goal is to stop the worry before it has the opportunity to take control of your emotions and thoughts. You must work quickly and strike when you first become aware of the negative thoughts that fuel worry. Do something, no matter how small, to help you refocus: exercise, splash cold water on your face, snap a rubber band, call a friend, or even imagine a big flashing stop sign in your mind’s eye.

Admittedly, it does take practice to refocus your thoughts away from worry to something positive. However, it can soon become second nature to relax, exercise or change thoughts, rather than resorting to counterproductive worrying.

And sharing your worry in the workplace with colleagues is just like putting leftovers in a trashcan at your campsite in the jungle…the Bear will come straight to you if you invite him!

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on!

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