Fear can be a perplexing state. It can render us powerless. It can propel us to act. It can freeze us. It can motivate us. It’s a state that we all face on a regular basis, yet it‘s also one of the most misunderstood.

The roots of fear come from our innate desire to survive. We have the ability to fear because it keeps us from danger, and in turn, allows us to live for another day. This is a good thing. But when most of our days are spent running from deadlines and objectives instead of predators, the fear that stays with us is misplaced. We fear rejection. We fear failure. We fear inadequacy. In short, we fear things that aren’t worthy of our fear.

Fear, in the modern context, should be a signal for us. Nothing more. It should trigger us to a moment of introspection where we can respond to the fear in the manner that is appropriate.

When our fear is derived from a situation in which there isn’t any danger, this is oftentimes, nay all the time, an opportunity for growth in an area where we’re unsure of our abilities. Public speaking, the gym, a new relationship. In these situations the fear is a signal to grow. It’s simply our misplaced survival instinct trying to dampen our inner-self shouting “This is a good thing. Dig a little deeper.

By shining even a moment’s light into the space of the perceived fear, that fear will either be rendered powerless or it will empower our ability to take action and grow. That tiny moment of light leads the fear to irrelevancy and leads ourselves to say “Is this what I was so afraid of?

Fear is a signal. That signal creates a moment in time. And in that moment there is the opportunity for growth. It’s on us to make the most of that opportunity.