Feeling Fear

Most of the time the fear is a paper tiger – but sometimes not, so only AFTER you’ve checked should you – do it anyway.

What do you think about the quote: feel the fear and do it anyway?

I actually like the idea, but in a different way than most; I like it because it respects fear.

Fear is as every bit as valid as joy, love, anger, and curiosity because, fear, like all emotion, is a teacher. The problem is that we don’t often take time to decode the messages.

Fear occurs for a very good—and usually a very simple—reason. It’s an alert that calls your attention to see if something you’re doing might be dangerous. So, when you feel the fear, before doing it anyway – have a look at what triggered the alarm. Most of the time the fear is a paper tiger – but sometimes not, so only after you’ve checked should you – do it anyway.

Your challenge is to think about that ‘thing’ that you’ve been putting off – working on a business plan, taxes, going to the gym, enrolling in school, whatever. Think of that ‘thing’ and feel the fear. Allow yourself to look at what’s got you scared, and if it seems a paper tiger, consider getting a move on. You’ll probably have an easier time getting started, too, because the fear won’t feel quite the same anymore.

Related Article: The Basic Virtue

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Related Motivational Moment: Attitudes and the Game of 10 What Ifs

Listen to the Morning Motivational Moment about just this idea.

We broadcast live on Jolana’s Morning Radio Show, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:30 on WFAS 103.9 FM, New York.


Garden Analogy – Good Weeders Required

Changing your relationship begins with the current conditions—soil into which seeds are planted or the condition of your existing relationship.

A post about a quote from my book, The Peacemaker Parent . . .

“I guess a good gardener always starts as a good weeder.” —Amos Pettingill 

Garden Analogies

Garden analogies are useful to paint many pictures, so in Chapter 6, Setting Up The Peacemaker Program, I use one to illustrate the ways in which the growth of a child requires an evolution in the parent/child relationship. Of particular importance are the starting conditions; everything begins with the existing soil into which seeds are planted.

Alt= man and woman picking up litter

Starting Fresh vs. Fixing

Starting a new relationship, or changing an existing one, is like planning the transformation of a plot land. In some respects, it can seem easier to start fresh with a whole new relationship―like starting with a patch of untended soil that doesn’t require clean up. Starting with an existing relationship, much like a gardener, you may need to undo some things first and that can look like so much more work. Thankfully, it usually isn’t.

Changing an existing relationship means the hardest part is already done. You’ve already created the loving foundation, all you need do is to strip away the weeds (negative things) replacing them new seeds of respect and trust. It often seems a big job, though, because we tend to see each dysfunctional weed as a separate issue to be dealt with in consecutive order. But in reality, everything is connected. And when you work on producing a positive change in one area, you’ll see how the improvement reflects itself in the other things that need to be changed, too. 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Untended soil would need to be fertilized and readied for planting―and takes a long time and it’s hard work! By contrast, your existing garden has already been prepped. Now start pulling weeds to plant some seeds.

Chime In >>

What do you think? Is changing a relationship harder than I’ve portrayed? Will some changes require almost a return to the very beginning?

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Solid Foundation

Stop Punishing Your Kids

We’ve all tried hinting, but kids just don’t get hints. Watch Out! Before you realize it you might find yourself on a slippery slope to martyrdom.

“I’m going to stop punishing my children by saying, ‘Never mind I’ll do it myself.’” Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck’s newspaper column, At Wits End, was famous for poking fun at the lives of suburban housewives. Her humor was wildly popular because it was just so darn true! I used her funny words in Chapter 3― Set Your Sights, to poke fun at the pointless practice parents have of hinting at their kids. Kids just don’t get hints so watch out; hinting can put you on a slippery slope to martyrdom. 

Fishing for Frustration

Most of us have tried hinting and know that it rarely works on adults, and works even less with kids.  Sure, sometimes it’s easier to just do things yourself; it’s the choice between picking up dirty clothes vs. suffering another conversation about responsibility and appreciation as you remind your kids—again—for the umpteenth time—to do it themselves.  It’s fine to choose doing the work yourself sometimes; I do it, too.  The rub comes if you cast out hints hoping to hook appreciation.  Mostly all you hook is more frustration

So what do you do?  You’ve probably tried direct communication, “I picked up your clothes again today. Please make sure you put them away from now on.”  Clearly stating what you did and what you expect in the future can work . . . but what if it doesn’t? 

Still Frustrated

He keeps leaving clothes on the floor even after you’ve tried all the “correct” responses.  Do you think you’ll get a better response by hinting and shaming? Well, maybe―but not for long. More than likely he’ll sense a new position of power. He’ll recognize his ability to make YOU feel bad and all that it costs him is listening to a few of your insults. Not a bad trade for a kid and actually a great reason NOT to do what you want. Oh, and he’ll surely find other ways to leverage his power, because you’re probably using the same hinting-shaming technique to get him to make his bed, put toys away, eat breakfast, etc.

My Solution:  One More Time

Step 1:  Directly communicate from a position of personal responsibility and power.

“Seeing your clothes on the floor bothers me, so I picked them up again for you today.”

Step 2:  Make sure your child has the skills and resources needed to accomplish the task.

“What would make it easier for you to do?”

Step 3:  Establish a period of time for practicing responsibility for the task.

“I’ll help you for another week so that you have time to practice getting it done on your own.”

Step 4:  Set boundaries and clarify natural consequences.

“Since I don’t want to do it anymore after that, anything left on the floor goes into a holding bin for a month.  That way I don’t have to pick anything up twice for at least a month.”

Step 5:  Follow through without deviation.

“After the month, I’ll return the things you want and we’ll donate the rest.”

Personal Power

I was successful with this plan, but it’s only one possible solution. The point of any solution you eventually choose is to communicate from a place of judgment-free support and personal power. The hinting-shaming way will surely backfire and it won’t teach him how to make good choices as an adult.

“I’m going to stop punishing my children by saying, ‘Never mind I’ll do it myself.’”  Erma Bombeck


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