Our greatest fear and fighting back

This has been a weird year so far – for me anyway. Up and down the whole way – like riding life’s rollercoaster, and I’m not a big fan of rollercoasters. Some months business has been great, others awful and some steady. My personal life has been the same. I thought the only thing that had been consistent had been my training, but the wheels fell off that a couple of weeks ago and this weekend I had a burst blood vessel go in my eye. Fortunately I have also spent the weekend with a terrific group of people and it reminds you that with help, with support, you can go onto your greatest victories. It’s never about the getting knocked down, it’s always about the getting up again.

Last Christmas, at a time when I was having a really bad spell in my personal life, I watched ‘Coach Carter’ for the first time. In it Samuel L Jackson plays a basketball coach who takes on a young team of misfits and transforms them into wise young men with aspirations of educational grandeur; it sounds like Hollywood cheese, but it’s based on a true story. In it Coach Carter often asks one player ‘What is your greatest fear?’ The young man doesn’t understand the question, but near the end of the movie he answers with this:

“Our greatest fear is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually who are you not to be?

Your playing small does not serve the world

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you

We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone

As we let our own light shine; we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”

Marianne Williamson

The actor in the film delivers this eloquently and powerfully. He is right to ask this question. It is our greatest fear, not that we are not good enough, but that we are and don’t try hard enough to show our talents or exceed our own personal expectations. Yesterday a friend asked of me ‘Are we wrong to expect so much?’ It is right to want more, but don’t expect it to turn up at your door in a pink fluffy bow being grateful that you have received it. You have to work, really very hard. Two friends of mine, the Pillages, have built the most fantastic martial arts centre in the space of a few short years. Tony has only been training about 10 years and yet he has built his reputation as a martial artist and as a businessman. His wife, Sarah, has recovered from major spinal surgery to help Tony in the business and live a life that you’d never know she’d had surgery. You must know people just like this. Those who overcame their challenges to achieve success.

And yet, indeed yet, how often do we feel that life is being hard on us? Accept it, sometimes it is. Friends die, relationships collapse, the economy struggles, we get ill. Through all this we must say ‘It’s another day’. What can I achieve in the next 12-18 hours I am awake? How can I improve? Who will I meet? What will I do? In hard times these are tough questions to ask. You need a number of things.

One – courage. Two – belief. Three – friends and a support network. Four – knowledge. Five – desire. Hard times bring hard knocks. With these five things you can overcome all difficulties. If you have all of them you are made, if you have some of them you will get there still. This is for all my friends who have struggled lately and it’s for me who understands the power of words, but knows that in order to achieve (no matter how much help you get) you have to do it yourself.


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