It has been said that fear is a sign that something is important to you.


Ted Gonder, director of MoneyThink, a Chicago-based non-profit that teaches financial skills and entrepreneurial thinking to urban high school students, assures us, “If we think of fear as an accomplice rather than an enemy, then we can be free to lean into it, and pursue our dreams, ideas and projects freely.

This counterintuitive mindset does actually make sense:  If the thing you are most afraid of is also the thing you really and truly want in your life, then you are actually a very lucky person.

You have a built-in guidance system that will tell you when you’re moving in the direction of your dreams.

(You’ll know you’re on the right road when your head tells you everything is just fine, but your stomach drops to the floor and you’re shaking very badly and there’s a no-no-no-no-no chant cycling in your head.)

If you are able to twist your head around enough so that you can see this, then a number of other ideas arise.  You begin to understand that:

  1.  Fear is a tool.
  2.  Fear is fuel.
  3.  Fear is to be partnered with.

You may even get the idea that you are going to have to walk into your fears and through them in order to get to where you really want to be.

You get to understanding that you have to want your dream more than you fear it and you’ll use the fears to help you keep on moving towards your dream.

GPS by Hernan Pinera via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]


Here’s a YouTube video by Eddie Pinedo, “The Other Side Of Fear” with another take on fear.   Pinedo is a sought-after motivational speaker who focuses on athletic performance.  He also writes a blog, “Your World Within” and publishes weekly You-Tube videos with almost 11 million views, it says here.  (They are excellent.)

So, how do we do that?  How do we get to the “other side of fear?”

Twyla Tharp, in her book, THE CREATIVE HABIT, suggests that you look at the things that make you shake and shiver and that shrivels you into a quaking nubbin, and think about answers or antidotes to them that work for you.

Here’s me doing yet another Un-Seeing exercise:

“I’m not sure how to do it.” 

 [Ummm….when has that ever stopped you?  Babe, you don’t know how to do lots of things.  The things you do know how to do happened because you started doing them and then just kept going with it until you got good.

We are not talking about building a dam across Maliko Gulch or something.  If you try and it doesn’t work, you can try a different way the next time.  And the time after that. And the time after that.  If you do something badly, you will learn one way not to do it and that’s a start towards learning how you do it right.]

“People will think less of me if I screw up.” 

 [Not the people who matter to you.  Your friends will hug you.  Your kids will still call you “mom.”  Your parakeet will still sing to you.  It’s all good….]

“People will laugh at me.”

[So?  Laughter is a kind of communication too.  And if the people are laughing with you rather than at you, isn’t that a good thing?]

“It may take too much time.” 

[Could be, might can.  Putting it off doesn’t make it happen faster.  If it’s something you want to do, then make the time.  Ho’omanawanui, bebe…make time big!]

“It’s going to cost money.”

[Just living costs money.  Is it something you really want to do?  That’s the question.  Think of it as an investment in yourself.  It never goes to waste.  Even the things that didn’t work the last time turns out to be useful for the next project.]

“Gawd!  It is SO self-indulgent.” 

[An’ den?  What’s your point?]

“Somebody has done it before.”

[Uh-huh.  It’s all been done before, hon.  Nothing’s really original and every idea ever thunk will be thought again.  You can join the line.  Get over yourself.]

“I have nothing to say.” 

 [Now, that one is a lie!  You have lots to say.  Maybe nobody wants to listen, but that is not relevant when you’re just starting out the gate.]

“I’m going to upset somebody I love if I do this….”

[That could happen.  You’re still a good person and you have good intentions.  Your loves will understand or not, and you’ll do what you need to do to make it right if you make a misstep. 

But, not doing something because maybe somebody important to you will be upset  is giving that person too much responsibility for you and your life.  Why are you piling on your regrets on somebody else’s back, silly git!]

“I know that when I do it, the thing is never going to be as good as this idea in my head is.” 

 [True.  Toughen up, baby girl.  It’s better to make an imperfect dome in Florence than build cathedrals in the sky.  A dream that has stepped out of your head and is real in the world has more weight than all the ones that are still floating around in your head. 

Plus, if it doesn’t work, you can always try again to get it right.  And if you keep trying to get it right, eventually there it’ll be and then you can go share it with your friends.  A cool thing….]

“If I do it well, somebody will copy it and I won’t get what I deserve for it.” 

 [Ack!  That is so disgusting, Netta!  The whole point of making stuff is to get people to like it, use it, do whatever.  So what if other nimnuls copy?  It’s not like it’s your one and only idea, f’r pity’s sake!]

Twyla says, “There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks.

So, what are your shadows?  What fears pop up every time you start dreaming a dream?  What would you say to them?  What might they say back to you? Play with it…and keep on walking.

Here’s a poem:



Fear it is that

Keeps us going back

To oracles and them

And trying to make

Sense of a future

That’s obscure and dim.


The mists of time,

We think, hide monsters,

Even though we know

That probably they really

Aren’t under the bed.

Daddy said, Mommy said.


We have to SEE.

We WANT to know

How this thing or that

Will flow, can grow.

Desire, doubt and fear,

The three, stomping feet.


And we forget again

What we always knew:

Change is the rule and not the exception:

Up and down and all around, it changes.


We go on despite…

We go on because…

‘As how…we go…

And change’s alchemy works

Its magic once again

And we go on.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Signpost by Anthony via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]



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24 thoughts on “MAKE FEAR YOUR FRIEND

  1. I know what its like to be trapped in a certain mind set, like something is out of my reach.

    Everyday is a struggle for me but I try not to let my fear of learning new things that seem complicated and the unknown in general stop me from moving forward and succeeding.

    Great post, it made me think.

    1. Hey Lorenzo…thanks for your visit and your comments. I’m glad the post helps! Please do come again….

  2. Any advice that helps you to step outside of your comfort zone, where most of us live most of the time, is good advice. Most steps forward are taken when fear is faced and is essential to progress in any chosen direction.

    I have to admit that any time I have failed in my life it is because I refused to face the fear and sometimes all you need is a small nudge that posts like this can give you. Many thanks

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Dean. I do appreciate it. Please do come again….

  3. Wow, what a powerful article.

    You are so incredibly right about fear! It is that boundary between our comfort zone and everything the world has to offer us.

    I’ve found in my life that facing fear is never a bad thing. Either you mess up and go again with more knowledge or you’re successful in seizing an opportunity for yourself.

    There have been so many times I’ve let fear be my reason, my excuse, and I hated how that made me feel.

    But there have been so many more times where I’ve recognized the fear as a tool towards my own success. Whether it is an increased heart rate during an interview or when I’m nearing a steep cliff, fear has always prepared me for the present.

    I forget where I read this, but somewhere someone said (that’s super credible, I know) that it isn’t the anxiety itself that causes the body stress and harm over time but the way we think of that fear and anxiety as something bad. It’s not! It’s perfect!

    Thanks for the awesome read.



    1. Hey Helen:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story as well.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  4. Strahinja says:

    I loved this inspirational article. Fear is usually what keeps from growing, learning and becoming a better peson. We feel better when we face our fears and we almost always go out as winners.

    I forgot who said the words “You have nothing to fear about except fear itself”. This one is so powerful.
    If we could really treat fear as a fuel, as a way of motivating ourselves to be the best we can be this world would be a better place.

    1. Hey Strahinja:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I think it was Winston Churchill who said, “You have nothing to fear…” etc.  It got England through a major war and it has inspired all of us who keep on trying ever since.  One of my favorites!

      Please do come again….

  5. This is one great article you’ve put up I must commend that. 

    Fear, I believe it come from the consciousness of getting something we feel we are not capable of, or losing something we feel we can’t do well without. 

    Like I’ll keep telling everyone, fear is an allusion in the mind of humans. It only come into reality when we give it the space. 

    Lessons learned from time is; no matter what you’re faced with, it only become bigger than you when you run from it. 

    I’ll say I’ve attained a level of success today because I gave  to my fear. 

    1. Hey Dane, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I especially like that last:  “I’ve attained a level of success today because I gave to my fear.

      And that’s the thing isn’t it?  When you give honor to your fears and use them as advisors (but not the bosses of you), all kinds of good things become possible.

      Please do come again….

  6. Thank you for another great article. 

    I agree with the concept of embracing fear. People sometimes try to push fear away or deny that they are afraid or something like that. But I realize that fear is an emotion that is designed to help us with stuff. 

    So I decided to embrace fear and like you said make fear into my friend. That’s what I believe about most emotions, integrating them into your total self.

    I think one place where I feel the most fear is before a heavy set of squats. But then after I do my squats I feel great. 

    I think my body just knows that it will be a high level of exertion and the nerves are just a way of my body preparing. So I practice just being accepting that there is fear there.

    1. Hey C:  Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  I do think you’re right.  Our emotions are our right brain’s way of communicating with us.  (What else can it do?  It doesn’t have words, after all?) 

      Integrating your emotions into your total self is definitely the best way to work with them.  

      I do think that studies have been done that show that the energy fear generates does help to prepare you for what comes next.  You get an extra boost of energy along with the fear.  You just have to quit letting it fog your left brain and use it like an energy drink or something.

      Please do come again.  

  7. RoDarrick says:

    This is very motivating and also inspirational. Making fear my friend. 

    Truly, fear is inevitable and it always serve as a limitation sometimes or present itself as a hurdle that would be too big to cross. 

    Fear of failure has really stopped me in doing most things in my life. I always feel I might not be able to achieve the best and as such, I stopped trying. 

    Having read through this article, I got really inspired and I feel a new zeal within me to make my fears a drive and a passion that would keep on pushing me to do better than what I thought I could never achieve. 

    It’s a blessing for me to have come across this post. Thanks

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, RoDarrick.  I’m glad the post helps.

      Please do come again….

  8. Boniface-AndroidBix says:

    Hi Netta,

    I like the angle you usually take on mainstream thoughts- you change for me what the masses have always made me believe, being part of them, and make a new reality each time. 

    I’ve certainly liked this one on fear. It is indeed fuel. 

    I have identified with one thing I’ve always wanted to do but made fear work against me, rather than for me. It’s now 3 years and I’d have been so far ahead of where I am now. 

    I am finally overcoming that fear to dare and I’m using it to remind me to remain focused otherwise my family and I will be down the drain. 

    If I overcome this and get myself to the other side of fear by letting it be my motivator, I’ll remember this post!



    1. Ah, Boniface…you’ve sussed out my strategy here!  Yeah.  It’s a good thing to think new thoughts and work your way to new realities.  

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  I wish you good fortune on your journey.  Go get ’em, you!

      Please do come again….

  9. Monalisha says:

    Hi Netta.

    Thank you for sharing such a inspirational post. 

    I have read your entire post which was about Make Fear Your Friend. 

    Actually I deeply appreciate the thought you provided that using fear can make us able reach our dream. If we can make fear our friend we can do anything that we want to do. 

    So, doing better in our life we should not fear the fear, we should make fear as our friend and use it to do the best.

    Thanks a lot again for this post. Your post inspired me a lot. I am gonna share this post to others.

    1. Monalisha:  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am so glad it spoke to you.

      Please do come again….

  10. CeCemorgan says:

    Make Fear Your Friend, I love that phrase Netta! 

    All the life built poems you have included in this post is amazing. I will be saving this post Netta. 

    When fear is getting the best of me I’ll be sure to visit your site. 

    Oh yeah thanks for mentioning Eddie Pinedo YouTube videos. YouTube videos are helpful for me because I can listen to then while commuting. 

    Thanks Netta for this beautiful post.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Cecemorgan.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  11. Hi Netta,

    I am bookmarking this post! I know fear all too well and it really resonates. Even after reading books about fear, I still find myself dealing at times. 

    I may just have to accept that fear is there to protect in a way and as your blog title says, “make fear your friend.”

    Fear is no longer a factor at this point because my dreams are way more important. I am sure that I will hit a few bumps, but I believe that I can and I will succeed. 

    So come on, fear! I am moving forward whether you are right there beside me or not. 

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Terese, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I am loving your can-do attitude!  It makes me smile.

      Please do come again.

  12. This is so true and so inspiring. 

    I have had my days of being fearful when I launched out into my music career. All those thoughts you listed were in my head. I used to think that I would never get over them. 

    You are right. Overcoming  happens when you work through them. I no longer worry about who might be in the audience that can play better than I can, I don’t even think about the possibility of something going wrong with my equipment. 

    I also agree that what took me forward is the love of the stage performances. That love was far greater than the fear I felt. 

    Thank you for this poem and this discussion

    1. JJ, I am pleased the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

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