How to Overcome Fear Cycle


Today I would like to persuade you of the importance of Lifelong Learning.   It is important to continue to search out knowledge that you can apply to your life and overcome the fear cycle.    This entry will help you in the future to Act on an Idea.   I have combined information from three models to complete this blog entry. 


 Several weeks ago at one of my Toastmasters meetings an individual led a discussion on creative thinking and idea generation.  It got me to thinking about some of the ideas that I had but never acted on.   Meanwhile there are now products or services available for those ideas.  Here are a couple of ideas that I had but never took action on:

  • While working on my MS degree (1991), a group project looked at videos on demand.  We concluded that it would not work with current dial-up networks.  We did not anticipate the internet speeds expanding.  (Comcast has found it to be a great profitable line)
  • As I was throwing away an empty cereal box I said to my wife,  I should write a program that makes a grocery shopping list based on what you use in your house.  (There are now various versions of handheld scanners)

Why do we not take action?

The “Fear Cycle” is one of the factors that prevents are person from taking action.  The cycle works as indicated by the arrows in the diagram.  If you had an idea that was new your first reaction may be fear of failure.  This fear will then lead you to “inaction”.  By not taking any action you will continue to be “inexperienced”.   The lack of experience will then not provide you the ability to take action.  As you can see the Fear Cycle can be a deterrent to your taking action.

Taking Action via Deming Quality Model

I work in the field of software engineering and one of the great authors in the field is William Edward Deming.  He was known as one of the pioneers in the field of software quality.  He created a model that can be used to overcome your “Fear Cycle”.

The model consists of four steps.   The first step is to Plan what you want to do.   The second step is to Do the what you have planned.  The third step is to Check what you have done.  The fourth step is the critical step and that is to Act on what was found in the check phase.  The Act step is used to correct or adjust your activity so that you can improve the quality of your product.

Reflective Thinking – Putting It All Together

I have used the power of reflective thinking to create this solution.  Reflective thinking is a set of steps that you take to help you find solutions.  In this case I used reflective thinking to get the “Big Picture”.  The big picture was that I often do not act on my ideas.  I was able to determine that that Fear Cycle causes Inaction on my part.   However, in my job as a project manager I often use the Deming Quality Model as a way to plan and organize my thoughts.   So I used the Deming Quality Model as a replacement of the Fear Cycle. 

Experience is a collection of failure and learning.  The key is to not make the same mistakes twice. I hope that these three examples Fear Cycle, the Deming Quality Model and Reflective Thinking demonstrated the growth and learning that is possible by being a Lifelong Learner!!   So the next time you have a good idea be sure to replace the Fear Cycle with the Deming Quality Model.

I recently used this to get me to start a new Toastmasters club at my work.  I will have one of my future blog entries describe those steps.   Good luck and let me know what your new product or service is!!

I will leave you with a quote from Erma Bombeck  “ I’m not a failure.  I failed at something”