Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Spirt of Fear

Written by: on September 19, 2014


Jim Collins’s book Good to Great was a fun and educational read. Collins starts out with an admonition about the fact that “good is the enemy of great.”[1] This can be an energizing and convicting proposition for people who have already arrived at a good bottom-line in business and are in position to became a great company. From Collins’ perspective, the term “great” applies to companies like “General Electric (considered by many to be the best-led company in America at the end of the twentieth century) outperformed the market by 2.8 times over the fifteen year 1985 to 2000.”[2] Certainly a congratulatory pat on the shoulder is due for business leaders who have lived in the universe of the “greats” due to their successful careers and hereditary financial privileges.

Part of the genesis of Good to Great, emerges out of a “… discussion about organizational performance.”[3]One of the business leaders who was at the meeting with Jim, challenged him about his precious work noting; “the companies you wrote about where, for the most part, always great,” he said. “They never had to turn themselves from good companies into great companies.”[4]

The quest for growth is a human desire given by God. It is absolutely normal for human beings to seek a meaningful, hopeful and joyful life. In fact God having created human beings in His own image, set up people with the impetus for experiencing a transformational life. Going from one place to another in business, studies, travels, career and spirituality? However, like Jim’s colleague dared to ask, how well should one perform and how should work go from the level before the good level, and from good level to the great level? It is said that anyone can do anything she or he wants, as long as such a one puts their mind to it. In my experience, going from one point in life, work, spirituality and career is an intense journey. How does one balance the need to earn certain achievements and the yearning for fame, self-importance and self-defeating pride? There are many points I would like to lay out but I must put my finger on one, and that is fear. The nature of how fear operates is perplexing because it can grip a human soul in a torturous manner.

Fear can take a person to the lowest places and from bad to worse. Yet fear is also present, though perhaps subdued for some, on the road from good to great. Many times, I have and still have to battle with fear, time and time again. I have looked the spirit of fear in the face and sometimes, it seems, like fear has won. I would like to give examples but each time I think of one good one, another great one presents itself. I know of a fear that has always been present even when big career opportunities come my way. It is the fear failing, accompanied by performance anxiety and this is why I find Collins’ advice timely. Collins writes:

It takes discipline to say “no, thank you” to big opportunities. The fact that something is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” is irrelevant if it doesn’t fit with the three circles. “[5] The author is referring to “Nurcor’s Three Circles.”[6]

The fear buster for me is literally most effectively God’s presence and confirmatory voice through scripture; “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”[7] With those great words, that cut as sharp as a double edged metal melting jet flame, the chains of fear a broken.

[1] Jim Collins. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead…and Others Don’t (New York: Harper Business, 2001),1.

[2] Ibid., 3.

[3] Ibid., 3.

[4] Ibid., 1.

[5] Jim Collins. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead…and Others Don’t (New York: Harper Business, 2001), 136.

[6] Jim Collins. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead…and Others Don’t (New York: Harper Business, 2001), 137.

[7] 1 Timothy 1:7


About the Author

Michael Badriaki

7 responses to “The Spirt of Fear”

  1. Michael,

    I love when you say, “It takes discipline to say ‘no, thank you’ to big opportunities.” That is spot on. But so often we are afraid to say “no” because we are afraid that another opportunity may not come along. But if it is true that “the good is the enemy of the best,” then we must always have the faith to say “no,” even to good things. This is especially true if the “opportunity” is going to contribute to a prideful mindset or lead to our own glory rather than God’s. I agree with you that we must go against our fears. Fear can tear us apart. But I might add here that the other quality that can easily shipwreck a person’s life or ministry is insecurity, a close relative of fear. Too often, people mistake insecurity with opportunity grabbing. Not all spirituality is of God. If one is really trying to glorify himself or herself rather than God, even if they are doing good and big things, then given time that person will crash and burn. Fear and insecurity are killers that we need to be aware of.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks Bill. “Insecurity and fear can kill” you are right. Fear and the many mountains in life, at times tempt me to quiet.

  3. Clint Baldwin says:

    Thanks. Great post.
    I still think we need more focus, more celebration, more books, more writing, more speaking on people who have fallen down and kept getting back up their whole lives like Mandela notes in your opening, but who have never “succeeded.”
    I’m not sure “we” (larger society) really buy into Mandela’s axiom. See, we only listen to him about it because he became President. I can almost guarantee that we wouldn’t be reading this statement at all, much less positively if he had maintained his dignity and dignified others around him, and then we found his journal, but he never made it out of prison. I want to celebrate the people who don’t “succeed” in the way the world defines it, but who do “succeed” in the way Mandela defines it.
    Thanks again for your post! 🙂

  4. Miriam Mendez says:

    Michael, I so appreciated your post. You wrote, “I know of a fear that has always been present even when big career opportunities come my way. It is the fear of failing, accompanied by performance anxiety…” So I wonder, what would happen if you failed? So what? F I love your “fear buster”! There is a saying that goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”…and I like to add, and if you still don’t succeed, keep trying or change direction and have fun in the process! Thanks, Michael!

  5. Stefania Tarasut says:

    Your post reminds me of what Mary Burton said when asked if she was afraid to fight against racism and apartheid in South Africa… “Fear comes when you’re about to go through something… it rarely happens when you’re actually going through it.”
    Thanks, Michael!

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