Fear Asks Questions

Fear is an interesting emotion that I feel is largely misunderstood. In fact, I think it’s one of the most productive things that if you get the right perspective on it, it can actually become more of a friend than it is a foe.

In February of 2020, I was down in Dallas attending a real estate convention and it just so happened at the exact same time I was there, Oprah was doing her 2020 vision tour. So one day I snuck off from the convention, and I spent the day sitting in an auditorium filled with 16,999 women and me. In fact, there were so many women there that they shut down the men’s bathrooms. Oprah said something that prepared me to coach people through the pandemic. The next month is when everything started shutting down. She said that she learned in her life that fear asks questions, and they typically start with “What if?” What she learned is rather than allowing herself to live in the loop of an unanswered question, she started to write the question down, and used thinking time as a means to actually answer the question.

When the pandemic hit, and I’m coaching people who run pretty sizable real estate businesses, there were some very good questions that their fear was asking. “What if the real estate market closes down?” “What if I can’t make payroll?” “What if my closings don’t close?” I could have been Pollyanna about this and said, “Oh, don’t think that way, it’s all gonna work out”, and yet I knew I was guided and that I had walked over to that seminar for a reason. So what we started doing is writing the questions down. What if the real estate market does close down? What if your closings don’t close? What if you can’t make payroll? Those are very real possibilities.

Over the years, I came across this article about how the military runs an operative. According to this article, they create a four layered plan, and the acronym is PACE. They have a Primary plan, an Alternative plan, a Contingency plan and an Emergency plan. What we started doing is. Rather than my clients living in the unanswered loop of a question like, What if I can’t make payroll, we started to write the question down and creating a primary, alternate, contingency and an emergency plan.

It hit me that most of us have a guardian angel, who sits up in the clouds and text messages these questions. Questions like, What if I can’t make payroll, because questions control focus. We aren’t taught to use fear is a friend, we’re taught that fear is a foe. So we take our guardian angel, and we convert it into a guardian asshole. We think that those questions are simply doubt and then we live in an unanswered loop that ultimately keeps us from taking the actions necessary to move our lives, our business, our health, our relationships, whatever forward.

So my challenge to you moving forward is whenever you find yourself in the loop of fear, rather than interpreting that as doubt, rather than converting fear and making it a foe, write the question down and then do your best to answer it. This is the equivalent of turning on the light. If you have children, sometimes they get a little scared in the middle of the night or before they’re going to bed and they want you to turn the light on in the closet so they can see that nobody’s in there. And you can tell them there’s nobody in there, don’t worry, you know daddy’s got you but the end of the day, they want you to turn the light on. That’s what this this process does. It converts fear into a friend. It keeps your guardian angel as an angel instead of an asshole. So remember, fear, ask questions. Typically it starts with what if questions, write them down, and then do your best to create a plan from what that fear is trying to tell you.