I recently had the privilege of listening to John O'Leary speak. He was inspiring, so I decided to read his book, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life. In his talk and book, he shares his thoughts on fear and love which mirror my own. It served as an important reminder to me, so I want to share his thoughts with you along with an awesome statement that has the power to radically change and inspire your life.
In the book John explains, "Fear is rooted in what may happen, something that does not even exist in reality. Yet how frequently we allow this emotion to consume our thoughts, ultimately deciding the course of our lives." Isn't that true? With fear we are concerned about what "might happen". We get all hung up and consumed with...what if this and what if that.
John explains that fear suffocates...it suffocates creativity, openness, trust and possibility. It keeps us from being accountable, waiting for someone else to step forward and solve things. It keeps us from going all in, from taking risks, from being vulnerable. It keeps us small, telling us to hold back in case something goes wrong. Fear keeps us in a victim mentality, blaming others and thinking why me? Fear focuses us on ourself and keeps us stuck. Fear is no way to run a government, an organization, a family, or a life.
John writes, "All day long we get to choose how we approach each moment. We are free to live out of fear: How is this guy going to take advantage of me? I better cock my fist. Or, I better keep my guard up, this guy might steal my account. Or, okay, I'm already running late, I'm going to cut people off, walk with my head down, and make life all about me. My needs. My wants. My life. Me."
In regard to love he states, "Love is not just reserved for our inner circle. Our friends and family. It is intended to be the currency of our world. Offered to everyone you meet. If you are going to transform your life from a series of obligations to a long list of moments for joy, then you have to learn the secret. The secret is to say in your head to every person you meet, 'I love you and there's nothing you can do about it.' When you say it to yourself it changes the way you look at someone, it changes what you think about someone, it changes how you interact with someone, it changes what you're thinking about, it changes what turns you off and what turns you on, and it certainly changes what you're going to do next about it...Love gives you a laser like focus on what is truly important. Without it, we are frozen in the dark. With it, we light up the world...Those words allow you to focus on others, on their needs and on what they are saying. It keeps you mindful of what they might need in that moment, instead of what they might take from you; or what you might get from them...I love you drops your barriers, then theirs."
He concludes, "Choose to let go of fear and operate, lead, and live from a place of unconditional love...What if we approached each situation in our lives through the lens of love rather than the lens of fear?" Can you imagine how the world might change if we all practiced silently repeating that phrase to ourself and began to live and lead from a place of love?
I invite you to soak that all in and to reflect on it. Those are some powerful words and thoughts. I am working on practicing saying this statement either in my head or out loud with every interaction that I have with others. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's a challenge, but it serves as a reminder to me to live through the lens of love rather than the lens of fear and to remember that we are all one. There really is no place where I stop and you start.