Are you driven by love or fear?

| March 23, 2016

Life is complicated — but your motivation isn’t. Without exception, every action we take is motivated either by love or by fear. For example:

• Acting weird around someone we’re not sure about: Fear (What if we don’t get along? I don’t want to feel disliked by someone I don’t really connect with.)

• Offering constructive criticism, even though it makes you sweat: Love (I want this person to do well. I won’t withhold the information he needs to do that.)

• Telling someone it’s okay, even though you think it probably isn’t: Fear (I’m not sure how to tell him otherwise. He might react badly. I don’t want to feel bad about it.)

• Sharing the responsibility for a situation your partner created: Love (I care about improving this situation, for everyone involved. Blaming her for it won’t help change things.)

Whether it’s an everyday quibble (your boyfriend is being difficult) or a really big deal (your job is on the line), we’re all battling some level of fear and uncertainty. And that fear gets to be so familiar that choosing to act with love — which we all know is a good thing — comes less naturally.

But it’s worth the effort. Emotions and their intentions are contagious. Bring insecurity to the party, and you’ll find yourself in a corner. Enter a room with hope, and people will want to hear what you have to say. Your motivation is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here are some tips to help you show up with love:

• Accept the fear. It’s okay to feel vulnerable. When we act with love, the things that worry us don’t go away — they get put in their place so we can get past them.

• Surface your intention. Underneath the fear you’ll find a good reason. Because I want to do the right thing. Because she needs this. Because this could be better. In sum: Because you care.

• Choose bravery. Love takes guts. When you face the hard truths or uncomfortable moments, you proudly stand by your intentions. And that feels great, no matter what the outcome.

So what’s motivating you?

PRINTABLE TIP CARD #34: 7 ways to act with love instead of fear

More ways to conquer fear:

• How fear keeps us stuck (and what to do about it)
• How to take the fear out of feedback
• Empathy: The single best way to get unstuck

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