MY TWO CENTS:
Our family was on our annual camping trip vacation last week. It’s been a family tradition to spend a week with Kris’ extended family at the state park campground enjoying each other’s company around the meal table, talking around the fire, playing in the water, soaking in the sun at the beach, and getting our steps in by walking up and down the dune stairs. I typically use this time to (mostly) unplug from work and allow myself the opportunity to read and relax.
One of the books I read last week was The Seller’s Journey by Denise Logan. Ms. Logan does a masterful job of share in short story format the journey of a business owner in selling his business. What I found so interesting was how she was able to weave in a lot of the emotional challenges along the way for both the selling business owner and his advisors. Many of the situations she shares in the book were driven by fear.
Which got me thinking…
What am I afraid of? Is there something that holds me back from pursuing something impactful and aligned with my purpose? Am I doing something I shouldn’t because I’m afraid of something else happening that is unlikely or illogical or not properly timed? How are my relationships affected by allowing fearful situations dictate my interactions?
In her book, Ms. Logan discusses the physiology of our brains. Specifically, she shares how the amygdala is the oldest part of our brain and is a “fear sensor” for us, and continues by saying “its job is to constantly scan the environment for danger, so it serves a useful purpose – it helps ensure our survival. The problem is that it can’t distinguish between what is and isn’t genuine danger.”
She goes on to share the analogy of our fisted hand as our brain. If we tuck our thumb inside of our fingers in a fist, the thumb represents the amygdala and the fingers represent our frontal cortex…what she calls “our thinking brain”. When the amygdala fires up and starts wiggling because of a perceived fear, it jostles our frontal cortex making it difficult for us to think and respond logically. I’m certainly no neuroscientist, physician, or psychologist, but that seems like it would be good information to know!
While I may not be able to control whether my fear sensor is going off, I can control how I respond to it. If I can recognize when my frontal cortex is “wigging out”, I give myself the opportunity to assess whether the danger is or isn’t real. If the danger is real, I can go into protection mode. If it isn’t real, I can work on ways to talk myself out of an irrational response so that my “thinking brain” can develop a productive course of action.
So…what are you afraid of?
Make it a great week!
Scott Cousino, CFP®, CEPA®