Your Biggest Fear

I have to admit I have some pretty big fears:

  • Heights
  • Snakes
  • Spiders

Some of you may be afraid of 1 or more of those things and perhaps you have other fears like Clowns or Potato Chips. Guessing you laughed when you read potato chips as a fear thinking that’s silly. Just as others have laughed at me when I’ve told them I’m afraid of heights. They’ve told me all sorts of things like “just get over it” or “focus on the beauty around you don’t focus on the height.” 

But guess what, I’ve tried them all. I don’t really want to be afraid of heights, I just am. This article isn’t really about my fear of heights, or your long list of fears, it’s about our “biggest fear.” The one that outweighs our other fears. Imagine me standing next to a ladder that goes high up the side of a building. “No way I’m climbing up that ladder.”

Until you surround me with snakes. Because getting bitten by snakes, is by far a bigger fear for me. You better believe, if you surrounded me with snakes, my fear of them would outweigh my fear of heights and I would be climbing as high up that ladder as I needed to in order to not have snakes around me. 

But if you surrounded me with spiders by that ladder, my fear of heights is bigger and I would just try stomping and stomping and stomping to avoid having to climb the ladder.

Take a minute or two to think about your fears. Put one of your fears on the left side of the scale like that 1 eyed green monster, and another fear on the right side of the scales, like those two crabs. Which fear outweighs the other?

What does this have to do with you?

I wanted you to understand that fears are normal and that often in working with players who have a fear of something, I never tell them to “just grow up and get over it.” Instead I try to help them identify an even bigger fear. You read that right … in order to overcome one fear I try to help them find something they fear more. 

For example:

  • Diving is a reasonable fear that many of you have. So I ask them, “would you rather lose a game, or dive in order to be safe?” If losing a game is a bigger fear to them, then the scales adjust and they let me teach them how to dive. It’s not that they magically stopped fearing diving, Fear of losing was the bigger fear for them. Once they commit to that, then I can start helping them learn to dive safely. Not without fear, just safely so that they are willing to do it. 
  • The way parents yell out loud anymore, it makes sense that some players might be afraid to run after a popup and try and catch the ball for fear she might drop it and get blasted from the stands. “But would she rather her teammates feel like she was only giving 10% of herself to the team?” If she doesn’t care what their teammates think of her, then going 5 feet for a popup remains the operating fear in her life. But if she’s more afraid of the disappointed puppy dog eyes from her teammates, then she is going to run after the popup and risk potentially dropping the catch. The fear of disappointing teammates is the bigger fear compared to that of disappointing parents in the stands. 
  • Nobody likes striking out. “But are YOU you more afraid of striking out, or of never getting a hit?” The scales are always going to balance the two fears and you will always act out of your desire to avoid the worse of two fears. 

I was shocked by her biggest fear

I’ve interacted with thousands of players around the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain and the Bahamas, Always helping to try and help them overcome one fear with another. But until recently I hadn’t met a player like Addie. 

You see Addie’s fears, and what she did about them really struck me as being rather unique and is the reason for this post. My first in years.

Perhaps you might like to add her biggest fear to your list. You see I had never spoken with Addie so I was literally a stranger to her. Given that I’m 60, and bald, and loud, I think you would agree, there would be a fear of approaching me at random and asking me for help. Especially for a 12 year old girl. Yet she did approach me and did ask me for help. 

It gets crazier. She asked me to help her dive. Seriously! She wanted me to teach her to go full speed and dive head first. 

That’s two very big, very realistic, very easy to understand fears not just for a 12 year old girl, but for anyone. So, what on earth was Addie’s other fear that she weighed on the scales in her own mind that allowed her to overcome those fears?


The fear is real

I have known many adults who would still rather fail than ask for help. For them, the fear of admitting they don’t know everything far outweighs their fear of failing. How about you? Do you ask for help? Or is your fear of admitting you don’t know, bigger than your fear of not knowing?

While I had never met Addie prior to that encounter, I had watched her run bases and I can tell you that she was already a really GOOD baserunner. But she didn’t want to just remain a GOOD baserunner, she wanted to become a BETTER baserunner. One that could be confident taking bigger leads and attacking the bases. 

As you can imagine, being the person I am, I looked her square in the eyes, and said “Sorry I don’t know you and I’m far to busy to help you.” Ooooh, I hadn’t even thought of that fear … maybe you don’t like to ask for help out of fear of the other person saying no. Fear of rejection can be a pretty heavy fear. So, here was a 12 year old girl, with a fear of asking a stranger for help, perhaps a fear of diving and a fear of the possibility of being rejected. That’s a lot of fear, but all together those 3 fears didn’t outweigh her fear of NOT GETTING BETTER.

I’m just kidding, of course I was more than happy to help her and her entire team. Because any player who’s BIGGEST FEAR is that of NOT GETTING BETTER is someone I absolutely wanted to work with, and will continue to, invest in.


Take some time right now and write down your fears on one side of a piece of paper.

  • If you are afraid of diving for a ball, then I want you to write it on your list.
  • If you have a fear of trying round first base and go directly to second base after a walk, then write it down on your list.
  • If you really really really want to become a stronger leader on the team, but have a fear of speaking up, then write that on your list. 
  • If you have a fear of bunting, then add it to your list. You are the only one who can see your list, so, take your time and write all your softball fears on the list, I’m not in any hurry and nobody else can see your list. 

When you are finished, I want you to write NOT GETTING BETTER on the other side of the paper across from each and every fear you have. Weigh the two fears in your mind and circle the fear that is GREATER. If you have a fear of diving for the ball, and that outweighs your level of the fear for not getting better then circle it. Do that for each and every one of your fears. 

When you are done and have done this honest self-assessment, I sure hope that like Addie, your fear of NOT GETTING BETTER outweighs most, if not all, of your other fears. Lastly, I want you to commit to asking someone for help, just like Addie did, with just 1 of the things on your list. Focus on just one of those fears that you have had, and find someone to help.

My hope is that once you let your fear of NOT GETTING BETTER outweigh one of your fears, then the the next one and the next one, your little one eyed green monster will keep growing. Allowing you to become the ball player that you have inside of yourself. 

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