Rich Fettke

Your Built-In Fear Handling Fuel

"The professional athlete’s love of an adrenaline spike should almost never be linked to compulsive behavior. Quite the opposite is true. It’s more appropriate to say that taking a risk and succeeding because of their wits and skill feels orgasmic." -Maryann Karinch, Lessons from the Edge

When you are afraid, your body responds with its own form of rocket fuel: adrenaline.

Adrenaline is one of the natural drugs your body releases when you push limits or you are confronted with a challenge. Adrenaline flows through your body, giving you extra awareness, mental clarity and the ability to respond quickly to different situations. Colors are sharper, sounds are clearer. You are more conscious of odors and your body feels energized.

Whether you are jumping out of a plane or setting up a sales presentation with your hottest prospect, if the activity scares you, adrenaline will provide you with the strength you need to succeed. By recognizing how you feel when adrenaline is coursing though your veins, you will become much more skilled at using this ally to your advantage because you are employing it to accomplish a goal.

At the same time you should be aware that adrenaline also kicks in when you are under all kinds of stress, everything from getting caught in traffic to dealing with difficult people. In these types of everyday situations, adrenaline can burn you out because your body doesn’t get a chance to rest and recuperate.

I used to get tense from adrenaline in all kinds of circumstances and now, because I’ve gotten used to the feeling through extreme sports, I can say, "Ah, I know this feeling. It’s adrenaline. I need to be aware of why I’m feeling it. Am I facing a real risk or do I just need to reduce the number of stressful events that I tolerate in my life? Maybe I need to leave a little earlier to avoid traffic or perhaps I should discuss what’s bothering me with a friend."

By learning what adrenaline feels like, you can use it instead of it using you.



Answer the following questions to get a better understanding of how you handle fear.

1. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
2. Why did you do it?
3. What was your fear telling you?
4. What were you focusing on?
5. What could you have focused on to reduce your fear?
6. What did you learn about yourself and your fears?