O’s Success Tips: Overcome Your Fears

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I lay on the couch drunken with sleep, but the bright light beaming from my TV screen was enough to awaken me to the ubiquitous news of economic disaster

“More than 600,000 jobs have been lost in the month of January alone!”

That was the text that scrolled across my television screen; an image that briefly distracted me from the venomous debate that was unfolding between two economists. One said it was a recession, while the other said it was a depression. Despite their numerous disagreements, they both came to one conclusion “millions more would lose their jobs in 2009…”

Unfortunately I already knew this, for the past couple of days I had worked long hours to ensure that I was not part of the millions of Americans projected to lose their jobs in 2009. As I lay on the couch exasperated and tired, my mind drifted back to my present work situation. All week, I had been working late nights, but today I had pushed myself to the limit, leaving work at midnight! Completely exhausted, I struggled to move from the couch but felt a sharp headache on the left side of my head. My tasking work schedule had taken its toll on me. I had developed a fever and was hardly surprised.

The next morning I called in sick, wanting to utilize the day to allow the acetaminophen regimen kick in. Like clockwork my first instinct was to browse the internet to stifle my boredom. I must have gotten lost in the internet world because when my alarm rang it was 11:30 am and I had not eaten breakfast and still needed to take a shower. But just as I proceeded to escape from my laptop, a new window popped up on my screen. It was a facebook  instant message and on it was my close friend Mij Nilton. Mij had recently been laid-off and had spent the past couple of months searching for a job. Instinctively I inquired about his job search status, but his response was as bleak as the previous night’s news. No job and not even an interview. I felt bad for Mij. Just as I was about to log off Mij wrote a sentence that would send my fever to new heights…

“Ofili whatever you do at work, make sure you’re great, it’s tough out there.”

I knew what he meant. Even the most qualified professionals were getting laid off. Immediately, I reverted back to the worried state that had engulfed me the past couple of days. I thought of my current absence at work, “Will my boss view it as a sign of not being great?” Sick and feverish I jumped into the shower, skipped breakfast and raced to work with a heavy left sided migraine that only intensified as I swerved hastily through traffic. Finally I arrived at my desk sick and tired, but eager to prove my case for employment. The next 4 hours were chronic; I could not get anything done. I had tried extra doses of tylenol but even that could not ameliorate the splitting headache that consumed me. My immune system had been completely obliterated. I left the office dejected, discouraged and wary of my job security within the company. Surely I would be laid off. This was the recession and everyone had to be present and working extra hard. Gone were the days of paid absences. As I slumped into the driver’s seat of my car, I thought about my hefty car note and the mortgage payment that I was responsible for. How was I going to cope without a job? As I sat there worrying, my mind drifted back to a story my Dad once told me when I was a little boy…

Nick Sitzman was a young healthy man who worked on a train. One hot summer afternoon the train crew was informed that work would end an hour early in honor of the foreman’s birthday. In the haste and excitement to salvage the gifted hour, Nick’s co-workers accidentally locked him in the train’s refrigerator box. For hours Nick screamed but nobody heard him, he banged angrily at the door but still no one came to his aid. His fists were bloody from his constant pounding and his voice hoarse from yelling. “If I can’t get out, I’ll freeze to death in here” he thought to himself. Nick scanned the area and found a knife which he used to etch words on the wooden floor:

“It’s so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words”

The next morning the train crew opened the refrigerator box and sprawled on the floor was Nick. Dead! An autopsy was performed and it was revealed that every physical sign of his body indicated that he had frozen to death. But the most troubling part of Nick’s death was not its circumstance, but the fact that the refrigerator box was never switched on! Nick had simply panicked and worried himself to death…

Today most of us are trapped in a box of fear. We cry out for help but the government does not respond and our banks could care less, instead we hear intermittent echoes of foreclosures and bankruptcy from the media. Like me, we ask ourselves the question “what happens if I get laid off?” The scenarios are different but they all lead to the same conclusion “worry!” Worry for our family, our homes and our investments. However, it is not the worry that is the problem but how we react to it that matters. Do we remain in our current state, paralyzed by the fears of tomorrow, or do we use our worries to galvanize ourselves to constructive action?

In these trying economic times, we can carve out words of doom from the media and maintain the status quo. Or we could etch out words of hope and survival in our minds and take the necessary precautions to stay warm in the frigid atmosphere of our tumultuous economy.

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
Matthew 6:34

Okechukwu Ofili
Africa’s #1 Success Coach
Copyright © 2009 Ofili Speaks, Inc. All rights reserved


Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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