Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The Positive Power Of Fear & How To Make It A Gift

Whether we are worried about where our next client will come from & will we make budget; or working with a leader that intimidates us, we are all regularly confronted with the opportunity to deal with fear. 

This may be overwhelming fear, or a dull anxiety.

(image credit @jshnaaa)

(image credit @jshnaaa)

For most of us, we find the emotion of fear very uncomfortable; something that we wish would just go away.

But by viewing fear this way, we are missing a very important opportunity.

Fear is an important part of helping you make positive decisions & take more inspired action. 

We often never discover the gift of fear, because we are so busy running away from it (or internally pushing it down) that we miss the power it can create in our lives. 



At a physical level, a situation that causes fear is processed by our emotional brain (completely separate from your rational, thinking brain).

As soon as your emotional brain hears the message ‘fear’, it immediately activates your stress ‘fight or flight’ response, increasing your adrenaline to deal with the situation.

What we experience as the physical signs of anxiety – heart pumping faster & harder, sweaty palms, dry mouth, can’t think clearly – are actually your brain & body getting ready to fight or run away.

Our emotional brain (limbic system) processes situations faster than our rational
thinking brain
(pre-frontal cortex).

This is why we are often feeling all the physical signs of fear before we really are aware of what we’re afraid of.



Added to the fear process is unconsious triggers.

Triggers come from past situations that caused us pain or anxiety in the past, or learned behaviour from individuals we respect.

We all have individual fear triggers that have been programmed into our psychology across our life.

Some of these are reasonable life threatening fears, while others may sometimes be an ‘over-reaction’ to the situation.

This ‘over-reaction’ is because your psychology is saying to you –

“previous situations that remind us of this one were painful and scary, this must also be the same”. 

Sometimes this message is right (& we are in a similar painful situation), but sometimes it is also wrong.

[Note: particularly if you grew up in an unhealthy environment, sometimes we actually need some professional help to partner with us to recognise what these triggers might be coming from & some deeper strategies to overcome them.]



It’s message is clear – take action.

Fear is an intense messenger, almost yelling “Quick run away or get yourself ready for the fight of your life!”


The key to deal effectively with fear is to interrupt & question your trigger reactions. 

Sometimes the situation we’re in is life-threatening or dangerous, or an individual we are in relationship with is hurting us & those messages are real and helpful.

But most of time, they are out of context for the situation, & if we do not interrupt the process & take inspired action, we will end up running from situations that are actually opportunities or ruining relationships that are actually healthy.




1 Slow Down

What is it that you’re feeling at the moment?

On a scale of 1-10, just how anxious or afraid are you?


2 What Is The Message?

What specifically are you afraid of?

What is the message that this emotion is trying to make you do?

Is this level of fear or anxiety reasonable for the situation?


3 Get Curious (this is where the power happens!)

Am I reacting to this specific situation or is this also about something in my past?

What is it about this situation specifically that affects me so much?


4 Reframe

Is this situation hurting me if I stay in it?

Is the discomfort a part of the process that leads to a healthy outcome?

How much will this situation matter in 5-10 years?


5 Act From Inspiration

Now decide what practical steps to take forward.

Sometimes this is to leave or confront the situation. Sometimes this is to try a different strategy. Sometimes this is to get some professional help or external wisdom to assist you.

And sometimes this process brings perspective that the situation is not as bad as you have initially thought it to be, and you can confidently keep going.


Release the negativity of the fear, embrace the uncertainty & lean in to inspiration.

If you experience anything of the uncertainty of life or take some risks towards a dream in your heart, fear will always be a part of the process.

But we don’t need to live controlled by fear, allowing it to dictate the emotional environment of our lives.

Learning to question the message of the fear and what’s really going on will empower you to make the very right decision upon action in your situation. 

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.