Reframing Fear: Jonathan Fields on how to picture risk, failure, and judgment

Stuck? Feeling hopeless? Unsure of your next step? For the almost two decades Idealist has been around, we’ve been asking you—our community—to tell us about the obstacles you face when trying to turn your good intentions into action. We’ve compiled a short list of the top-reported obstacles, and now we’re blogging about them one by one.

This Halloween week, we present: fear.

Jonathan Fields helps people be “more agile, creative and innovative and embrace action in the face of uncertainty with a greater sense of ease.”

As a father, husband, author, speaker, wellness industry entrepreneur, former hedge fund lawyer, innovation consultant (and more!), he’s no stranger to making ideas happen.

He describes his Good Life Project (GLP), in part, as “a voracious commitment to move beyond words and act.” Very Idealist!


In this video from GLP TV’s third season, Jonathan talks about countering fear and inaction by “reframing” our thoughts to push past our natural inclination toward negativity bias (concentrating on what could go wrong), and focus on the opportunities—not the pitfalls—that await in any challenge.

A few of our favorite quips to whet your appetite for action:

  • “Disruption is the seed of innovation, possibility, and opportunity.”
  • “Yes, if you fail, some people may judge you. But you’ll also learn an extraordinary amount about how to do better as you progress. Separate the emotion from the data.”
  • “Fear of loss: what if I lose money? Prestige? Do ask those questions, but also ask: what if I succeed? And: what if I do nothing? That one is often the most horrifying scenario.”

When have you been able to shed fear by focusing on opportunity?

Tags: , , , ,

Propel your idea forward on Idealist!

You have an idea to make your community better. But you’re feeling overwhelmed, afraid, unsure, and more. Now what?

Idealist can help.

All you need to do is share your story with us: what you want to do and why, the challenges you’re facing, the help you’re seeking. We’ll post it on this blog for our extremely knowledgeable and friendly community to name resources, give advice, and perhaps most importantly, cheer you on.


Sharing your idea with others can help it bloom. (Photo from Zaggy J via Flickr/Creative Commons.)

I know it can be scary to put your idea out there. But chances are, people will think it’s awesome too.  Don’t believe me?

  • Erica felt extremely motivated by all the positive enthusiasm she received, and is in the middle of writing a play that includes elements of her hospice work.
  • Shannon has several leads to collaborate with others who want to connect U.S. and Afghan youth, including a penpal organization in New Mexico.
  • Melanie learned more about theatre of the oppressed practitioners and organizations that might want to work with her in the Portland area, and the support from others has helped her gain momentum on her idea.

No matter what stage you’re at, a small push can go a long way. Let us help you take your next step.


Do you have an idea that’s just starting to brew? If you’d like us to consider posting it as part of this series, email celeste [at] idealist [dot] org.

Tags: , , ,