Preparing for a major work commitment recently, reminded me of the value of both the fear-based and the passion-based worlds. I was facilitating an important workshop, an event attended by a dozen or so experts in the subject matter, each one keen to provide their input. I knew that I had to be “on my game” to deeply engage everyone, clarify, and confirm their respective viewpoints, and somehow bring all of that towards a satisfactory conclusion. This is where using the “two worlds” perspective was very helpful.
In simple terms, the attributes of the fear-based world help us to prepare before such events, while the attributes of the passion-based world help us to perform during the event. To get ready for a challenge, it’s critically important to draft a plan, consider contingencies, prepare materials, make notes of key points, and do your research to gear up for the big event. Fear of failure drives us to do what is necessary to equip ourselves well for the challenges ahead.
However, staying in the fear-based world during the actual challenge or event is counter-productive. We’ve all been to that workshop where the guy is so focused on getting through the slides and staying on topic that there is no flow in the day. The planning and future-focus of the fear-based world can get in the way of being present in the moment and responding as necessary to what is actually happening. If you’re preoccupied with “the plan” or the outcome, you’re less tuned in to what is happening right in front of you.
This is where the value of the passion-based world kicks in. The planning is behind you, now it’s time to adapt, respond and perform according to what arises during the experience. The passion-based world is about letting go of fixed, controlling templates, freeing up your energy and focus to deal with what is actually occurring. As John Lennon put it, life is what happens while you’re planning! If you want the participants to feel passionate and engaged with the subject matter, you need to be centered in the now and the people you are with.
The fear-based world view of time is all about the past and the future-how can I draw on past experiences to succeed next time? The focus is on the goal. The passion-based world view of time is about the present and being open, adaptive and flexible. The focus is on the people.
You need to understand and be able to move between both worlds to be truly effective. This is the beauty in recognizing two worlds. Once you consciously see the two worlds, you can then learn the operating system of each world and move freely from one to the other. One world ensures you’re ready to face the challenge and have solid content through strategic preparation; the other enables you to enjoy your work with people, bring out the best in the participants and offer sustained responsiveness. Balanced Leaders offer both, each in their own time.