09/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Arrogance of Fear and What to Do About It

We all want to get to heaven but none of us want to die.

I'm quoting one of my favorite advisors, David Neagle, who was quoting his mentor.

I'm not talking about the religious sense of heaven but rather the piece of heaven we're all looking for in the life, job or business we want to create. Dying is the equivalent of having to transform or change. In other words, we all want our problems solved but we don't want to have to change. Sound familiar?

What stops us from getting what we truly desire?

Whether it's a reformed health care system, a new job, a new place to live or to solve a business problem -- in order to get something new, we have to change. Of course, most people fear change. They fear change so much that when the path or the way that leads to the very thing they want shows up -- they reject it as heresy, craziness or arrogance.

How dare someone have a new idea! How dare someone share this idea as a solution? What gives them the right? Who do they think they are?

Does this sound the least bit familiar? You don't have to look far throughout history to find people crucified for bringing a good idea to light.

Fear is the enemy. Not the person with a new idea or new way of doing things.

You'll recognize fear because it makes you tighten up. Your energy is restricted and you automatically move into the fight or flight mode. What that means is you no longer have the ability to think properly. Blood is now rushing to your limbs and into your core and away from your brain. You want to lash out or recoil and hide. Whatever you decide to do when you are in the grip of fear is likely not what you would decide to do if you were in a calm and rational state of mind.

Certainly at this point in time, we've seen plenty of evidence at town hall meetings where some people are acting out of fear. They are quite literally unable to think reasonably.

Yet, one of the very things the country has been asking for -- change -- is being delivered. Delivered right to the door. Yet it's being rejected, loudly, by some who are acting out of fear.

Right now, long standing businesses are finding that their tried and true strategies are not standing up to the test of time. They are desperate for the answer yet when a different way of operating shows up -- they still believe they know what's best. So much so, that they call the gift that was delivered to their doorstep -- arrogant.

How could someone with different knowledge and different ideas possibly be able to answer the question that they've been mired in for years? The solution they offer sounds so foreign.

Einstein stated that the mind that created the problem is not the same mind that will solve the problem.

The fact is that we are constantly attracting into our life that which harmonizes with our foremost thoughts. If we're asking for something different than what we have and something different shows up -- don't we have to assume that this is lining up with what we asked for?

Yet most never see the gift. Hard to believe, huh? When the very thing that we asked for shows up -- we shun it.

Over and over again, when I coach people in their personal and business life, when they get really clear about what they want - something new shows up. It just generally never looks like, or is in the package they expected.

In fact, what shows up often looks like the exact opposite and it often looks like a new challenge or even a mistake. So how do we put attraction in action ?

Here's some ideas to help us actually allow us to recognize the answer to our challenges:

1. Take a moment and stop. So often we get triggered and react and if we have others around us that are like-minded...well, the not-so-merry-go-round revs up to warp-speed.

2. Try to figure out what's triggering you. Is it a tone of voice? Are you feeling like you MUST defend a point of view regardless of what the other party is saying? Are others feeding a frenzy?

3. Ask yourself whether drama is a part of your life. You'll be able to identify this because you like to complain with others a lot.

4. Breathe and listen. I love the saying that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason - so we can listen twice as much as speak.

5. Listen. Yes, I'm saying this twice for a reason. A common practice in communication (poor communication) is to listen with the sole intent of waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can say what you have to say. That's a no-no. Instead, listen without judgment (it really can be done) to the message and the intent. Take in all the information.

6. Think critically ON BOTH SIDES. Of course, you'll already have been thinking critically about the others solution but also review all the information on your side. Take a step back, is everything you're defending actually true? Can you, for a moment, step into the other side's solution?

7. Ask yourself, 'is there a possibility that this is the exact thing I've been waiting for?' I know, I know, it's likely your first response is 'no way'. But take another step back and ask for help to see this as a solution.

You might still come to the exact same conclusion but instead of submitting to fear immediately, at least you've given yourself some space to ensure you're not missing the very thing for which you've been asking.