“You have many friends, but fear is not one of them,” my father used to counsel. As far as he was concerned, fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of death, and fear of life was all weaknesses beneath anyone sharing his DNA. I felt he was being too hard on me; I was only seven at the time, but little did I know he was just preparing me for the many valleys I would have to cross and mountains I would have to move―and there have been many throughout my life.
But, becoming fearless doesn’t happen overnight, even for the greatest leaders. It takes work, but the rewards are worth it. Below are seven of the most important reasons why.
- You will encounter enemies. There will always be people who will be offended by your pursuit of your goals and dreams. Envy, the chief cause of their hatred for you, will drive them to do everything possible to intimidate you and sabotage all of your efforts to achieve success. If a leader is not fearless, he will allow their criticism and actions to harm his efforts for success.
- You will face many obstacles. Small obstacles are an annoyance, average obstacles are a concern, and big obstacles are a challenge. If a leader is not fearless, he will shrink before small ones, cower before ordinary ones, and faint before giant ones. Fear turns pebbles into stones, stones into rocks, and rocks into mountains; courage, however, does the opposite. The greater a leader’s courage, therefore, the lesser the size of his obstacles.
- You will have to make difficult decisions. When facing an important decision, you need courage; when making an important decision, you need wisdom. When necessary, a fearless leader will delay making a decision, but he will make an important one hurriedly when it is critical. Courage enables him to make difficult decisions both unflinchingly and resolutely.
- You will have to help others face their own fears. Great or small, we all have them, but a leader cannot afford to allow his fears to consume him, for one of his roles is to help others overcome their fears. When their fears are small, they can face extraordinary odds; when their fears are large, they can’t even face ordinary odds. But, when fearless, they can face impossible situations and conquer them.
- Fear is a robber of blessings and rewards. Behind almost every significant blessing and reward is a significant risk. Therefore, a leader must be lionhearted if he is to achieve extraordinary things. It is his courage that will clear the fog that fear puts in front of what he desires. When fear is driven out, only then can blessings be driven in.
- Your honour and legacy depend upon it. No one respects or celebrates a coward. All our heroes are men and women who, in the face of insurmountable odds, faced their fears and conquered them. Consequently, to leave a legacy, a leader must be fearless in the pursuit of his noble goals; only then can his name be immortalized in the hearts and minds of those who come after him.
- Your happiness and peace of mind depend upon it. Fear breeds worry, worry breeds anxiety, and anxiety breeds depression. As a leader, you cannot afford to be in despair. Positivity has greater creative energy than negativity. When you are cheerful, you perform better, not only as a leader but also as a human being. Likewise, life is too short, and thus too precious, to waste on negative thoughts.