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Scared? Calm Down ‒ Sometimes The Best Solution Is The Opposite Of Your Instinctive Reaction

Written by: Mike Greene, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Often we get so busy building a business and that we forget to live. Having mentored and advised hundreds of people from celebrities, to SME’s and huge global and/or fortune 500 businesses, many if not most of the people I have worked with at senior levels find themselves in the trap of missing out on life because they are busy at work or building a business in order to ‘have a better life,’ but they are so busy doing it that they don’t really have a life at all…

Businessman watching the city on the rooftop of skyscraper.

…sure, it looks great from the outside, but it's often more like they are a blind passenger on their life’s journey rather than the driver of it.

…I see people at functions on phones, and on holiday desperate for a telephone or wifi connection.

In fact, I told myself the same lies and lived the same manic life for many years until one of my great mentors ‘opened my eyes’ to a different perspective

When starting out or building a business (or career) we tend to see our business or career as somehow separate from home or personal life, but the irony is that it’s in ‘living’ that many of our best ‘teachings/lessons’ on how to build a great business exist!.

And, when I started MAKING the time to actually be with my family and community, and experience life fully ‘in the moment’ that I realised that I found many metaphors and answers for my business/career problems and saw quicker, simpler clearer solutions to my problems

My mentors told me to spend time in simple pleasure with my kids and to do things that were so far from my business that I saw it with greater perspective and enough distance to see it more logically and dispassionately…

…in doing that I will share 2 short lessons I learned about fear:

My first lesson was whilst in training for a 6000mile boat race across the Atlantic Ocean from London to Rio… I had never sailed before and my mentor thought that the best way to overcome a fear of deep water was to face it head on in my second week of training we were out overnight in a force 9 gale/storm. Our rudder got caught in a lobster pot and we lost all ability to steer the boat, many members of our novice crew (myself included) were learning whilst suffering severe sea sickness. With no ability to steer or control the boat our skipper called in the RNLI to rescue us as we were unable to control the boat back into shore (we made local headlines of ‘Stricken yacht rescued off Weymouth coast’…

…during the storm, with huge waves crashing and smashing around us, with spray minimising our visibility and a boat that, whilst still very buoyant and safe, was unable to steer, I remember being terrified

The second, whilst less dramatic was in learning to ride a horse with my daughters, not just dropping them off and then running around to make more calls and do more business, but learning to ride with them… I could share their fear when climbing on top of a huge animal and trying to connect with it in order to master riding. One of the lessons our teacher taught us was that horses are incredibly sensitive and they can literally ‘sense’ your fears so if you suddenly panic they sense it and are far more likely to rear up or panic and bolt, so our teacher told us “if you are scared ‘calm down’, if you are scared just breathe because you don’t want to spook the horse”

…as I thought about this I connected with the way that teams of people in business would look to the leader for calm confidence and signs that all was good, Equally I have seen that people can ‘sense’ when things are not right and/or when the leadership are ‘scared’ and even without knowing the reason behind the fear, they panic and before long the whole business is in panic mode, from which its hard to find positive motivation for growth & success

How many cliché’s (meaning) have you heard like:

  • Wake up and smell the coffee

  • We are always getting ready to live but never living. Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Just go with the flow

  • Take the time to smell the roses

  • Acres of diamonds book

…But Clichés as frustrating as they are have become cliché’s because they have been ‘said a million times before’ and the reason they have been said a million times before is because they communicate and frustrating, dull or overused as they may be they mostly summarise or encapsulate an ‘obvious truth’ or universal law lesson… So maybe you should ponder on clichés rather than just discard them as ‘frustrating’… in fact I would strongly recommend that a 30min meditation once a day on a cliché will make you a wiser, calmer and more enlightened entrepreneur or leader

Russel Conwell’s book ‘Acres of Diamonds’ – a really short book/story but with a very big and powerful message – in my view a must read (and it doesn’t hurt to read it several times):

The central idea of the book being that all the wealth (whether physical, experiential or metaphorical is present already in one’s own life or community (you just need to look for and ‘see’ it

This theme is developed by an introductory anecdote, credited by Conwell to an Arab guide, about a man who wanted to find diamonds so badly that he sold his property and went off in a futile search for them. The new owner of his home discovered that a rich diamond mine was located right there on the property. Conwell elaborates on the theme through examples of success, genius, service, or other virtues involving ordinary Americans contemporary to his audience: "dig in your own backyard!".

And a quote to finish on:

“Those who are wise won't be busy, and those who are too busy can't be wise.” ― Lin Yutang


Mike Greene, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mike is a passionate Leader, Experienced Chairman, CEO & Director. He has been a consultant for over 100 global brands and FTSE Co’s. He has Invested in over 30 start-up & growth businesses and mentored thousands of businesses/Individuals. He Bought, built, and sold a consulting business in UK, USA, Australia, NZ and Europe. He starred in Channel 4's Secret Millionaire (season 9 episode 6), Author 'Failure breeds Success'. He is Chair of Peterborough & Stamford Chamber of Commerce. An Endurance adventurer who’s climbed many mountains, sailed in Clipper 2013/14 round the world yacht race and run 4 marathons to name a few in 2013, he was awarded Anglia Ruskin Uni – Honorary Doctorate – Dr of Education.



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