When I do an inventory of the worst decisions I’ve made at Uncharted over the last 10 years, they all have one thing in common: they happened when I was afraid.
I used to give myself advice like “only make decisions from an abundant, courageous place” or “trust yourself; don’t be afraid, big guy!” But this advice has fallen short, so I started to deconstruct where this fear was coming from.
Fear thrives in the abstract. It flourishes when we don’t get specific in defining what we’re afraid of. We might not be able to eliminate fear when making decisions, but it can play a smaller role in our decision calculus when we do the hard work (with others) to map and comprehend it. The problem is that most of us just don’t go far enough.
I’m learning that the size of our fear is inversely proportional to how well we’ve investigated it: the less time we spend defining our fear, the bigger and more ominous it remains.
The antidote to fear is not blind courage or brazen decisiveness, but rather the slow, plodding work of mapping our fear. The need for large amounts of courage when making a decision might actually mean we haven’t invested enough time to interrogate our fear and understand it.
When making a decision tinged with fear, we shouldn’t lead with reminders to be courageous. Our first job is to simply get as specific as possible in how we understand it, and only then will we know the dosage of courage that we need.
We might need to summon far less courage than we initially thought, for fear blooms when avoided and shrinks when attended to. Perhaps all that's needed is for us to spend time with it.