Empowering Professionals: FEAR. Pretty strong emotion, huh? Should I run?

FEAR. Pretty strong emotion, huh? Should I run?

Fear is a powerful emotion.  When I look up on wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) the definition states it as an emotional response to a perceived threat.   Now this is an interesting definition. 

Imagine that you just don't like to run.  It is just not your thing!  You would rather walk or take your car or ride a bike.  So running is something that you would rather not do.  Now imagine further...  You are walking in the park, and a rabid dog starts walking towards you growling and showing its teeth.  If you know that if you ran you could escape the dog... would you be able to run now, and run fast?  Was it that emotion of fear that got you to do more then you thought you could have ever done?  Before the dog would you have run?  Now seeing the dog, do you have to run?

Let's relate that to Real Estate.  Can the fear of losing your house, not being able to pay your bills, not being able to provide for your family be enough to get you to lead generate daily?  Can you use that fear as a positive in your daily life?  Sometimes we haven't associated the fear of having nothing to help us to achieve the daily successes in our lives. 

Is the fear of doing what we know we should do on a daily bases to have success (i.e. cold call, door knock, network, etc...) a larger fear then failing in real estate?

So in this analogy, fear can either cause us to run... or cause us to work harder to achieve the goals that we have set ourselves to.

Makes you think of the word fear in a new light.  What are your thoughts?  How has fear helped you overcome an obstacle?


Chris Alston


Home sales and purchasing specialist

Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino

19400 Stevens Creek Blvd, Suite #200

Cupertino, CA 95014


408-850-6956 fax




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Comment balloon 54 commentsChris Alston • April 23 2010 03:57PM


For many years I was a single Mom. Let me tell you, I was terrified much of the time. I often said that the kids were the reason I got up in the morning. For those of us who are very close to our paycheck, in other words we get paid only if we show up and only if we produce, fear is a GREAT motivator!

Posted by Lisa Walston (Atlas Property Group and Abbey Church Properties) over 10 years ago

@Lisa - Wow, that was a motivator for you!  I bet going through that made you stronger!

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

I like the motivational aspect of fear you describe. Puts a positive spin on a very negative emotion.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 10 years ago

@Karen - Optimism at it's best...  :) 

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

Fear is a definate motivator for some, for most when it gets to it's most extreme. 

Great job Chris.

Posted by Susan Goulding, Northern CA - Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate (Crown Key Realty, Tracy & Mountain House Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Fear will prompt one to do anything, something is what happens, good or bad.


Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

@Susan - Thanks for the kind words!  And I do agree!

@Patricia - So true.

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

Maybe it is run away or run toward the preceived threat or stress. It's a choice.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 10 years ago

Hi Chris~ NOT doing anything is fearful in and of itself!  You just have to get on your feet and get going and do something!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 10 years ago

Hi Chris:  Instead of being fearful, I try to attack the situation and move forward because fear can be paralyzing.

Posted by Wendy McSteen (Spring Realty Inc.) over 10 years ago


You are right on! FEAR can cause us to do something we normally don't want do it.

I am fear of "door knocking". My way to fight it just "do a little " even a few doors. After a while it is not that bad any more.

Grace Keng

Posted by Grace Keng, CRS, CDPE (408) 799-8887 (Keller Williams Realty Cupertino) over 10 years ago

Hi Chris -- I once had a co-worker tell me, a very competent and self-assured individual at that, that "fear of failure" was his overriding motivator.  He was very driven and one would never know this was his motivator.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 10 years ago

I have a fear of being broke. That fight-or-flight reflex is pretty powerful. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 10 years ago

Chris- Fear has been making me sick but thanks to you I am pushing in the right direction, thanks.

Posted by Delaware Junk Removal Residential And Commercial Hauling Clean Outs, Whole House Clean Outs, Basements, Garages, Attics (Delaware Junk Removal 302-530-9186) over 10 years ago

I like your anology! I try to make myself do something on a daily basis that would normally scare me a little bit. I think it is important to force yourself to take that next step over the line of comfort. The moment you get comfortable is the moment you will stop succeeding. :)

Posted by Stacia Whatley, StaciaSellsHomes Your Western WA Realtor® (Hawkins-Poe Inc.) over 10 years ago

For a lot of people, it seems fear paralyzes.  I've heard it's 'fight or flight' - where did 'lay down and give up' come in?  Sometime in the era of modern humanity, I guess.

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 10 years ago

Fear can be a positive motivator if you believe your actions have a chance of saving you.  Otherwise it can eat you up alive.

Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 10 years ago

Fear can be a positive motivator if you believe your actions have a chance of saving you.  Otherwise it can eat you up alive.

Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 10 years ago

I let the fear of status quo motivate me every day to do at least one thing that will permanently improve my business, before my work day ends.

Posted by David North, for a rewarding real estate experience (Coldwell Banker Bain) over 10 years ago

Fear helped me to get my business turned around, make a shift and start running in a better direction.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

Great post and so true. Fear does motivate to take action and yes the fear of being broke makes it so much easier to prospect every day. A few years ago the leads were just there, now we need to work for them.

Posted by Pat Kady (Keller Williams Check Realty) over 10 years ago

In our experience with short sale sellers, fear is paralyzing. We are not psychologists of course but try to show sellers that have to no other choice that this is their position of strength....the best decisions are made from a position of strength...because you choose to, want to...not must do.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago


The great motivational speaker and writer, Napolean Hill (Think and Grow Rich), wrote that fear was an emotion to stay away from and that that it could ruin you. But, I do see your point. Fear can also light a fire under you to get everything done that needs to be done in order to make a living.  You just need to keep it in check or it can overtake your other emotions.



Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 10 years ago

Fear, the GREAT motivator. Sure other emotions will motivate us, but NONE like fear. Fear brings focus, laser sharp focus.

Thank you

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) over 10 years ago

Morning Chris,  As I recall " fear " , as a motivator, is somewhat stronger then " reward ". 

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 10 years ago

It's fear of the unknown that makes most people nuts

Fear is a good and bad thing if you do not let it run your life

I believe a lot of people mix up fear and intimidation

enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 10 years ago

Fear is a very powerful thing.  IF you allow it to be that powerful.

Large corporations in this country have learned to manipulate people with fear tactics.

Knowledge and education is the only cure for fear.

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) over 10 years ago

You bring up interesting points that could start an interesting thread on positive reinforcement verses negative reinforcement.  While negative reinforcement can be a very powerful motivator, you often need the industrial sized bottle of Tums to go with it!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 10 years ago

There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!!  that's the saying everyone hears right, well I will march forward thru the fear and conquer it!! Yippie

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Top of the morning Chris

Excellent subject and question.......When I SENSE OR SIGHT FEAR......I run toward it. There lies my growth and something new awaiting to teach me a principal or un-learn me an error. Whatever the case, I am better off for what is being revealed and have an opportunity to improve should I deal with it correctly....A good scare is worth more to a person than good advice.

Best & thanks

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 10 years ago

Hi Chris ~ Interesting question. I don't think fear itself is a motivator, in fact I think it can cripple you. I do think you can take fear and change it into something else. Once you do that it's a positive rather than a negative motivator and that's a different story.


Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) over 10 years ago

I am not a believer in the fears we impose on ourselves. Sure, if a rattlesnake is in front of me I know to go the other way. The fear that Seth Godin calls the lizard brain makes us fearful of failing instead of creating. I don't create out of fear, I fail out of trying to expand. Then I change it.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 10 years ago

Fear either motivates you or paralyzes you.

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) over 10 years ago

One would think we'd fear less now than we did when we are kids, but is that really the case?

Posted by Rick Phillips, I care about you and your transaction. (Frankly Realty - Old Town) over 10 years ago

Chris, great attitude and article. I guess fear could work either way. Depends on your personality which one it is.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) over 10 years ago

Chris - good post here about fear and how it motivates you. I believe fear can impact you either way, but working, door knocking, etc. is the better way to go.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 10 years ago

Chris this is an interesting post. I think fear could be a positive short term motivator. On the other hand the long term impact can be quite negative and result in problems on so many levels.

I would also like to point out that people who live in fear or act out of fear are likely to take a short term solution to any problem. A bit like the shortcut away from the dog. This is often not the best decision and may have other negative longer term impacts.


Posted by Michelle King (Home Harmony) over 10 years ago

Fear is not a motivator for me, it is actually disappointing to find myself in fear.  Fear of what?  Not having enough money?  Not knowing what is going to happen next?

For me, fear is only legitimate in response to an actual threat to my physical survival or that of my family.  Someone is going to attack me, rob me, hurt my child...then fear has a place, but not in the day to day life of meeting the needs of my family.

Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Michelle #38 makes a great point about the short cuts some people make. It's not always the best decision. 

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 10 years ago

So when we feel fear, or anxiety, or what ever the emotion is when we are out of our comfort zone -- we can welcome that feeling and recognize it for what it is -- an internal alarm that says, get moving -- time to take some ACTION!

Posted by Melanie Hedrick, 972-816-7205 (Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas!) over 10 years ago

I've thought about this quite a bit lately. Fear, as you put it, has made me realize that i'm only scratching the surface, and it will be the driving force in making me see just how far I can take things. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 10 years ago

FEAR can either motivate you or paralyze you.  It's a choice :)

Posted by Melinda (Mel) Peterson, The Blessed Realtor - ABR, CRS (Grants Pass, OR) over 10 years ago

Fear is a very powerful emotion and as many have said it will either motivate you or paralyze you. I prefer to be motivated by it and I am. Thanks for stirring my thoughts.

Posted by Celeste Chism - Serving You in Crossville, Fairfield Glade, Lake Tansi & Cumberland Cove, Serving You is My Top Priority (Legacy Realty) over 10 years ago

Basically, my fear becomes a motivator to lead generate.  I like your way of thinking.  This could be beneficial to me.  Thanks.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 10 years ago


Every day fear keeps me going. Without it, I would surely die. Or be unsuccessful. Or less successful. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

There is a god fear and a bad fear. Sometimes the fear of not paying bills can be a motivator.

Some folks are motivated by fear and some by encouragement, it just depends on the person.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 10 years ago

Rather than fear, for some of us I would say it is necessity.  For me, it is easier to make sure I accomplish something when I have to.  -Kind of like the deadline debate.  Don't we find ways to get focus and get things done when there is a deadline looming?  At my agency it seems easier for me to do a ton of lead generating than some agents, simply because I HAVE to.  I really, really, really, need the business.  If I didn't, I cannot honestly say that I would be as diligent about it, even though I know I should.  I'm hoping to have that problem and then I can challenge myself to keep it up.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) over 10 years ago

Hi Chris...I've been sitting here trying to recall the last time I felt fear and cannot.  Concern yes, but not fear.  I'll settle for that and let that be a motivator.

Congratulations on the feature.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 10 years ago


I like that you present the emotion of fear as a motivational force!  I generally think of fear as something that paralyzes us.  Maybe if more of us would use fear to our benefit, we would accomplish more!


Posted by Paul Franciskato (Asset Brokering Services) over 10 years ago

I think we all live in some kind of fear.  It is just how we go about conquering that fear that sets us apart.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 10 years ago

@Cherly - So true!  Choices!

@Vickie - Yes, you are right!  Does everyone think that?

@Wendy - That is a great thought as well. 

@Grace - (hi grace!!!) Yes, doing a little can ease the fear...  if you stop, the fear sometimes comes back, even worse!

@Chris - Wow, some of us have the same motivators!  :)

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

@Philip - Yes, that can be a great motivator! 

@Larry - Push through those fears, just like @GraceKeng said, it gets easier the more you do it. 

@Stacia - You never see leaders become leaders without discomfort in their lives...

@Joetta - Such a good thought!  Thanks!  I agree, why is it that fear makes some just give up...

@Frank - So true, so true!

@David - Everyday?  Wow, that is dedication!  Great job!

@Christine - It's great that you saw that, and realize what it took to get you charging again!

@Pat - If we keep doing what we used to do before the market shifted, we can see ourselves chasing the market, instead if working it!  Great thought!

@Sally & David - Great thought, and I do agree! 

@Claudette - I am going to pull that book down from the shelf and re-read it!  Thanks for that!

@Scott - Laser focus is what will get us there fast!

@Bill - That is a good point! 

Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

@Don - you are so right!

@Ralph - interesting thought...

@Richard - LOL, so true!

@Patricia - Yippie back at ya!

@Richie - Run toward it?  That is such a good thought!

@Denise - Interesting thought, thanks for your thoughts!

@Joe - Great thoughts as well!

@Woodlands - So true!

@Rick - Maybe we didn't know what would happen if we crashed when we were kids...?

@Ted - So true

@Sharon - Great thoughts!

@Michelle - Hopefully not fear in a way that has a long term negative, I would hope to use fear to get you up and running then the fear goes away!

@Jenna - Some of us have the ability to get motivated without fear!  Good for you!  :)

@Frank & Sharon - She did have a good point!

@Melanie - YES!

@Eric - Awesome!

@Melinda - So true!

@Choice - :)

@Aaron - Its great to know what it takes to keeo you going!

@Missy - You are so right!

@Kristen - Great thoughts!

@Kathleen - Great to hear that!  Some of us I think do not feel fear!  :)

@Paul - :)

@Damon - So true!


Posted by Chris Alston, Silicon Valley, California (Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California)) over 10 years ago

Fear is not part of how I run my life much like Endre Barath, Jr.   we are both feet people,,,jump in and learn to swim ! 

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 3 years ago