Don't Fear the Fight image

Don’t Fear the Fight

Why following conviction means facing consequences

Cathi is a bright, successful entrepreneur. She’s owned her own PR (public relations) company for 17 years. We were talking about investments one day, and she told me, “My husband and I are pretty conservative when it comes to our investments. We have mutual funds, some stock shares, and we each have our own managed retirement plan.”

She went on, “I like to do my homework. So, I began learning about investments that seem to deliver a better return than we were currently getting. After looking at several options, I decided I wanted to invest in a specific real estate project that was presented to me. I know the people who are putting the project together, and their investors are extremely happy with them. I weighed all the pros and cons of the project, and I’ve made up my mind that this is the investment for me.”

Cathi’s bold plan was to pull her money out of her retirement plan, which had gone down about 30 percent in value the previous year, and to put the money into the real estate project, which was on track to deliver a 10- to 12-percent return.

Cathi confessed, “There’s just one problem. My husband, Jack, is going to look at this investment and immediately sum it up as ‘too risky.’ There’s going to be a fight." Cathi was hesitant about this, but after further conversation, it was clear that she was willing to fight for her conviction that this was the right financial move for her.

Later, she told me how her discussion with Jack went. “I just stood there waiting for Jack to erupt," she said. "But instead, he looked up at me from his desk and said with skepticism, ‘Okay, if that’s what you want to do.’ I just about fell over. All that fear and worry, preparing for a big fight… and none of it happened. I almost didn’t go through with it because I hated the thought of a fight. But what made all the difference for me was that I was willing to have the fight if I had to.”

Facing our fears

Cathi faced a big fear in her path to financial freedom—a fight with her husband over money. In the end, her fears were bigger than the reality of the situation. If she'd let her fears hold her back, she'd never had followed her convictions.

But sometimes our fears do come true. The fight happens. Either way, we must follow our convictions, and that means being willing to face the consequences.

Most of us know the things we need to do. What might some of those things be?

- Speak the truth or stand up for what you believe in, even if you fear people may not like you or agree with you - Pursue your dream, even if you fear the resistance and rejection you may encounter, especially from those closest to you - Get out of a toxic relationship, even if you fear you’re unable to survive financially or you fear being alone

- Leave a job where you are unfulfilled and feel unappreciated, even if you fear the loss of a steady paycheck - Make a financial decision, even if you fear you might make a mistake

What about confrontation? For many women, it is the fear of confrontation they’re not willing to face.

I don't like conflict. I’m the kind of person who works to find the common ground when ideas or people are at odds. I do like to keep the peace whenever possible. I will not avoid a confrontation if the situation calls for it. God knows I’ve had my share. Yet, I can name many women who will avoid a confrontation, especially with their spouse or partner, at all costs, including the cost of themselves.

Truth or consequences

Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in imagining the worst possible consequence and convincing ourselves that the worst will happen, so we do nothing. The reality is that the worst-case scenario very rarely plays out.

For you to be willing to accept the consequences of whatever stand you take, there must be something more important to you than the potentially dire consequences. There must be something more important to you than what you fear. For many women, what’s more important is our self-esteem, standing up for what we believe in, and being true to ourselves.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is that the strongest women are women of conviction. They don't embrace conflict, but they're willing to face the consequences of following what they know is right. They don't want to fight, but they're not afraid to fight either.

Today, I encourage you to follow your convictions, come hell or high water. And that starts with understanding that every decision we make will have consequences, financially and interpersonally. But there's nothing worse than living with others when you can't live with yourself. Choose for you and let others decide if they want to come along for the ride.

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Original publish date: August 08, 2013

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