Back in the days when we had our gift basket business, my business partner Tauron and I had a big sign in our office that read, “Fear is a great motivator.” And boy, was it ever! The proverbial wolf was always scratching and pacing at our studio door, and great were the days when we could lock up knowing we had vanquished and sent him packing. Over and over again, we were able to harness our fear and channel it into productive action, which benefited our business. If fear soup was on the menu, we would try our best to push the bowl aside.
Over the years, Pete and I’ve seen fear soup served up in many a situation. We have worked and dealt with folks who routinely had a belly full of fear soup, and we can tell you: the indigestion fear soup inevitably causes creates the worst kind of repercussions for others who haven’t had so much as a spoonful.
Who would heartily consume such a baleful entree? People don’t willingly seek fear, do they? Well, it turns out they do! When I began to look for wisdom regarding fear, all sorts of items popped up. Let’s have a look at some conclusions:
Fear soup is eaten by people who are feeling powerless. In business and personal relationships, fearful people often resort to deliberate inertia or feign helplessness. This strategy gets other people to do their work for them, getting them off the hook if things go wrong. In business and life, many of us assess that it’s too risky to call attention to ourselves. We keep our heads down, and make our way unobtrusively through the situation, letting others stick their necks out – an exposed neck, after all is the one that the guillotine slices.
Fear soup is warmed up and re-served by manipulative people. This one is pretty obvious. Someone who wants to take advantage of us is going to go to their favorite recipe in the file under “F.” What we may not realize, however, is that someone who has already eaten a generous helping of fear soup is going to do their best to get us to try it, too. Misery and fear are sociable – they love company! Leave this dinner party and don’t look back!
Fear soup spoils a courageous main course when it is ingested and digested by people who care too much about what other people think. They let the opinions of others diminish their self-worth. In business, effective positions and opinions generally require understanding and cooperation from others. In personal relationships, eating fear soup will result in the inability to fully commit, whether it’s to a partner or merely a night out.
Mainly, eating fear soup creates a lot more work for everyone. A stalled engine requires more energy to get it going again, and even then, it can easily flood. Making a decision for people who can’t or won’t creates a relationship imbalance. They’ve signaled they aren’t reliable or dependable. In business or personal circumstances, this can be fatal to a team or partnership.
If you’ve been eating fear soup, recognition of these harmful effects can help you decline when it is served to you on subsequent occasions. Even better, you can avoid establishments where fear soup is on the menu and there isn’t a healthy alternative.