FEAR: The Leader’s Four Letter Word

[fa icon="calendar"] November 16, 2015 / by Ray Van Gilst

transform_fear_into_actionWant to know what might be holding back your leadership?


We all struggle with fear in one measure or another. But there is a big difference between struggling with it, and being controlled by it.

Fear will kill your courage, your leadership and any progress you’re making because it knows if it wins it can disable your mission and it can disable you. Leadership is about taking people places, and you can’t follow fear.

Fear doesn’t know where it’s going. 

Fear only knows where it’s not going.

As a result, no one can follow fear, because fear doesn’t go anywhere except backward or sideways.

And yet (be honest) fear is a constant companion for many leaders.

So how do you know whether fear is getting the best of you as a leader?

You avoid doing the right thing because you fear a backlash.

Fear makes you sell your soul. Not all at once, but in little pieces over time. Instead of doing what is right, and what is smart, and what God is calling you to do, you do what is safe, and easy, and doesn’t rock the boat.

You imagine reactions to change more than you imagine the benefits of change.  

If this is true, you’ve stopped running offense. You only run defense.  You stop leading out of conviction. You only now worry about how people will react. When you won’t lead because of any anticipated reactions, fear has won.

You decide not to say something because you are afraid of the response.

Eventually, fear doesn’t just impact your decisions, it cripples conversations that could lead to action. Fear will make you hesitant in your conversations and meetings because you are afraid of the email, the complaint, the gossip, or whatever else might happen because of what you have to say. When that’s true, fear has taught you to unfriend the truth.

You’ve stopped dreaming. 

This is the worst of all. And it’s a sure sign that fear is winning or has won.

You stop leading from what is possible and start leading from what is probable, uninspired as that is. You stop dreaming and start dreading. Hope is a hallmark of the Christian faith, but you don’t hope anymore. Fear killed hope.

If you’re going to be afraid, I suggest you fear this:

Be afraid of never accomplishing your mission.

That will give you courage, or at least determination. And that in turn, will grow your faith.

Unlike fear, courage knows where it’s going. It has a destination. It leads somewhere. It looks ahead, not back. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Every courageous person I know deals with fear. Courage is just a decision that fear won’t win.

So today…be courageous. Tell fear it won’t win. Just lead, as frightening as that might sound. You’ll be so glad you did.

Be afraid of not loving enough.

Loving God. Loving Others because of loving God and what He loves. You can’t go wrong when you are obeying in this way. 

Fear makes everything about you. Newsflash: IT’S NOT!

Topics: Equipping