How to Turn Fear into Productive Action


The world today is moving extremely fast. New technologies are being invented faster than we think, and disruptions like COVID-19 and climate change take us by storm. We are living in a world of constant change. Yet, the thing is that we humans are really bad at dealing with change. We prefer things to stay the way they’ve always been – it makes us feel safe. Change, on the other hand, awakens fear, discomfort, and resistance in us. So what do we do? How do we handle this tricky situation? How do we turn fear into productive action?

Nadya Zhexembayeva, Chief Reinvention Officer, sees the situation differently. For her humans are not naturally afraid of change; instead, they’ve learned to feel fear when faced with the unknown. Because regardless of which country, culture, or century you were born in, you probably learned these two lessons on your first day of school: “Sit down and be quiet” or in other words: Don’t move and don’t express yourself. As a child we explored, we discovered, we faced the new and unknown on a daily basis, but once we entered the school and got taught these two lessons, our bravery and curiosity were slowly diminished. We were educated out of reinvention. 

Luckily, though, we can unlearn this bad habit and start moving with change again instead of freezing up. In order to do this, we have to train our reinvention muscles. How? Nadya has a simple exercise that may help you. You can find the worksheet for it here.

3 Steps To Turning Fear Into Power

  1. List all your fears and what they will cause if they materialize. Don’t judge yourself, just create a list of fears, big and small. 
  2. Sort your fears into three categories:
    1. What can I control?
    2. Can I influence it?
    3. What is outside of my control?
  3. Create a plan of action based on the fears sorted into categories A and B. WHAT can you do WHEN and WITH WHOM to diminish your fear and to make sure they don’t materialize?

With this exercise, you can turn your fear into productive action. Fear helps us focus our attention and act fast – perfect in such a fast-paced world like ours. Once we know what makes us afraid, we can act more mindfully when we’re facing our fears. Once we know which of our fears we can actually control or influence, we can let go of those we cannot do anything about anyway. And once we have a concrete plan of action, we can reinvent ourselves and move with the flow of change instead of against it. We can start turning our fear into productive action!

#beapirate feel the fear and do it anyway

Learning this is a key aspect of becoming a pirate and creating a life that is fun, adventurous, and meaningful. Once we learn to move with change, we may begin to bring about change too. That’s when we start creating a positive impact in the world. 

And really, like Nadya so beautifully said:

Why wouldn’t you want to be a pirate? It is much more exciting!

– Nadya Zhexembayeva

Watch Nadya’s webinar below to learn more about how fear influences us and what we can do to use it productively to improve our lives and the lives of others. If you want to support Nadya’s research in this field, she would be delighted if you would fill out this survey, or share your experience with filling out the worksheet. You can find her on here on Instagram. 

About Nadya
Nadya has been called ‘The Reinvention Guru’ (in Venture Magazine) and ‘The Queen of Reinvention’ (TEDx Navasink). She is a business owner, educator, speaker, and author — specializing in reinvention. She teaches consultants, ambitious corporate achievers, and business owners the profitable action steps necessary to turn change, crisis, and disruption into a competitive advantage.

Enjoyed reading this article? Ever invited a pirate for a coffee? Now’s your chance.

Tagged as action, cover-19, disruption, fear, life hacks, productivity

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