Where Do You Put The Fear?

I once thought that part of the goal of being a competent paramedic was getting to the point where I no longer felt any fear or anxiety about running calls. After all, most of the folks I worked with appeared to be absolutely fearless. At least the competent ones did. They never go flustered or rushed. They smiled. They remained calm in the face of very real emergencies. I needed to be like that.

Eventually I figured out how to act like they acted, but I never really mastered the whole not-feeling-any-fear thing. It nagged at me for a long time. It took me almost a decade to figure out the secret.

Everyone feels the fear.

Yes, everyone. Everyone carries around their own special brand of fear. Fear of failure, fear of being in the spotlight, fear of public embarrassment, fear of not having adequate skills or resources or knowledge or talent to bring to bear on the problem. Some deny it. Some hide it. Some chronically give in to it and become ineffective at the worst possible times. But everyone manages it some way or another.

Today I came across an interesting observation on Seth Godin’s blog.

In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he’s tired. Everyone is. That’s not the point. The point is to run.

Everyone feels the fear. Get used to it. Embrace it. The point isn’t whether or not you feel it, the point is where you put it. What do you do with it? Does it make you better or worse?

What do you think?

Read More Pithy Observations:

Passion Counts

6 Reasons Why You Should Be A Better EMT

Five Rules For One Shift

Stop Whining

One EMT Can Make A Difference


  1. Jaymazing says:

    Hey Steve; awesome post, once again. I’m doing my ambulance practicum right now, and this post actually helps me out a lot.

    It may seem like it’s a pretty simple concept to grasp, but in reality, this article actually gave me a bit of a hallelujah-moment.

    Thanks again for the words of wisdom! I’m looking forward to the next article (especially the next segment of the Vital Signs topic)

  2. Thanks Steve! That was very helpful!


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