Beyond Fear, Freedom

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.   – Martin Luther King, Jr.*


Freedom is wonderful.

Fear is horrible; the opponent of freedom.

As an executive coach I see the limiting power of fear … not only in my client’s stories, but mine.

Recently I traveled to Boston for the two-day Harvard Medical School Conference: Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare. I registered early for the conference and made my hotel reservation before securing my airline tickets.

As one who prefers to stay to the end, I do not like to leave early to catch a plane. With the conference ending at 5:00 p.m. there were no Saturday evening flights.

My reservation at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront only included Thursday and Friday night. For some reason, the conference rate was not extended to Saturday. While, at home, planning the trip, it was a small detail.

In August, Rita and I enjoyed a trip to Boston and up to Stonington, Maine. Before that trip I discovered a great app: Hotel Tonight. The smart phone app gives last-minute deals to great hotels with drastically reduced rates; the rooms are made available at noon for that night.

During our summer trip, we stayed at the fabulous 5-star, Boston Harbor Hotel using Hotel Tonight. That was the plan for this trip; book a room Saturday night using Hotel Tonight.

The Unreasonableness of Fear

Although my success with Hotel Tonight was 100%, fear came knocking on my door. Here’s the strategy exposed through my simple story …

  1. There is a lot going on in Boston that weekend; I heard rooms are “scarce”
  2. Uploaded 5.0 iPhone software just before leaving; new issues, now
  3. A funky Wi-Fi connection rendered my iPhone device useless; I could not access the Hotel Tonight app
  4. Yes, there was a room available at the conference hotel; rate of $499

Guess what was getting the best of me?  And no, please don’t lecture me about my planning style; this is my story.

Do you know that feeling?

There I am in Back Bay Boston, attending a HMS/Institute of Coaching conference; connecting with psychologists and coaches from Westport, CT, Toronto, Mason, OH, NYC, San Jose, CA.

Friday morning I meet Jim Loehr, author of The Power of Story (he really speaks my language). The whole environment is mind expanding and personally affirming.

It’s Friday night, I’m walking to grab dinner and called Rita to touch base. That’s when it happened …

Do you know that feeling? Fear – that “unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger”. (Encarta Dictionary)

In fact, I experienced this unpleasant feeling of apprehension merely in anticipation of “danger”. And the danger was not harm or personal injury. It was merely a threat: What if I can’t find a room? What if I have to pay over $500 for one night in Boston? What if…?

Beyond Fear … Freedom!

Freedom is wonderful.

Do you know that space? Freedom is “a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions”.  (Encarta Dictionary)

I love freedom.

I love doing the right thing for the right reasons. I prefer to act and speak and live without the restriction fear imposes; to be present, to contribute, to show up authentically, to be my best me, interacting with others with their best interest in mind, with unconditional love … to live without any undue restrictions.

Fear limits, freedom liberates.

Fear says: fight or run away. Freedom allows me to stay engaged with life, with others and find solutions. (More on finding solutions with people here: Coaching Tip Video)

Fear seeks to hold me captive. Freedom applies truth to set me free so I move forward with others.

Where you like to be?

With the help of one of my coaches – my wife of 35 years Rita – I regained my freedom that night. After dinner, I called one of my sons-in-law; Jeffrey reminded me of an easy fix for my iPhone issue.

The next day at 12:05 p.m., I used my Hotel Tonight app and made a reservation at Seaport Boston Hotel for that night. The rate was half the Renaissance and I applied a $25 credit from Hotel Tonight (received the day before). Get this; I walked ONE block to check-in after the conference.

The anticipation of “danger” (fear, risk, threat, peril) is self-limiting.

The ability to act freely (freedom, liberty, choice, independence) is life-expanding.

What are you facing on the horizon?

What role is fear playing in your world?

How is it affecting you, your health, relationships, career, your story?

When will you demand your freedom from fear? (Remember, we must have truth to experience freedom.)

Here’s to your freedom; it’s amazing.

Please comment below.


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*Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Baptist Minister and Civil-Rights Leader; 1929-1968, Source:

2 Responses to “Beyond Fear, Freedom”

  1. JTJ –

    Yes, identifying ONE thing is a good plan to help us move forward.

    I just noitced an interesting connection with your use of “capable”.

    We ARE designed for greatness by our Creator … but to achieve full potential in life and relationships we must take the “cap” off our “abilities”. Fear puts a lid on our potential whether to show up with compassion or boldly. As you say, fear paralyzes … truth brings freedom; I’m realizing more and more just how much I love freedom.

    Thanks for participating in the conversation,

  2. JTJ says:

    Steve –

    Thanks for this.

    I, too, get paralyzed by fear of obstacles, pain, failure – even success.

    I heard a speech recently on the precept of releasing just one thing that is holding us back from a greater connectedness with each other, better understanding of our path, and our search for meaning. Some call it cleansing, others call it self-development – yet others, repentance. Either way, that which we do not release smells of what you describe above as fear.

    It appears to be separation of what we are capable of, and better yet – designed for.

    Thanks again, always thought-provoking.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm and is filed under Motivation, Performance Improvement, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility, Risk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.