Real Power Is Scary. 6 Questions to Help You Be Less Scared of the Scary

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.

Harold Kushner

Recently a couple came to me for communication coaching. Nina and Brad (names changed) claimed they were being snippy with each other and weren’t respecting each other in tone when asking or commenting.

Initially I was confused. They’d been together for eight years. They were three months away from getting married. Why, seemingly all of a sudden, were they being overly sensitive to each other?

And then it came out. . .Christmas Eve, while at a dinner party with close friends, Nina happened on Brad kissing her maid-of-honor in the powder room. Ugh! When I asked Brad what was going on, he blurted out, “It was the booze and drugs that made me do it!”

I was stunned by how genuine he was in his clichéd defense and how clueless he was in not taking ownership of his betrayal.

Nina then revealed that this was not the first time Brad had been indiscrete. I asked if they had gone to counseling – they hadn’t. Nina explained she didn’t know what to say and simply tried to “forgive and forget.” This time, though, that tactic wasn’t going to work.

Later that week I was brought in to a mid-sized manufacturing company whose finance department had received low yearly survey scores.

When I met with Clint, the VP, and his managers, they explained that the survey’s questions were ill-worded and that team members were lazy in articulating what they were dissatisfied about.

They wanted to use their time with me hashing out a bunch of excuses. Some may have had merit BUT Clint and his team were focused on discrediting the survey and not discovering any truth lurking in the survey’s responses.

I know from my own life that the mind has a wonderful capacity for mental gymnastics and so has an astounding capacity to ignore or flex the “truth” for all sorts of sabotaging purposes.

The “business” of confidence is about have the emotional courage to work through the truth of a relationship and the responsibilities of that relationship – be it with a partner or a team.

Emotional courage. That’s another way of saying – power.

Real power is scary. It demands taking responsibility. It demands being and acting a different way. Different can be scary.

How confront the scary? By talking it down. Here are. . .

Six Questions to Help You Be Less Scared of the “Scary”


  1. Do you really want to recognize the truth? Have you had enough of the mental gymnastics? For Nina and Brad, it’s only because they can no longer stomach the lying that they are willing to do what’s needed to understand neglected truths about their relationship.
  2. What are you afraid will happen if you stop being defensive with yourself and others? If what you’re afraid will happen does happen what are the chances you will suffer catastrophic consequences? For Clint it would mean acknowledging that he is not perfect. Tough to do – but the consequences would not be catastrophic!
  3. What do you really want to see happen? How realistic is that want? Clint wants the people in his department to do their jobs and not ask so many questions. Essentially, he wants them to be like him. Hmm. . .not realistic and that’s what he has to grapple with.
  4. Are you convinced that you deserve what you want? Nina has never said to herself what she deserves – and so she settles.
  5. If you “do the scary” will it allow you to engage the world in a meaningful way? Will it add value to your life? Meaning and value always generate a feeling of satisfaction that can’t be ignored.
  6. If you “do the scary” will it allow you to add value to others’ lives? Nina and Brad have complicated each other’s life by pretending all is good. Clint has complicated his team’s life by asking them to machines and not people. Too many people complicate others’ lives. Why add to the complications?

Tony Robbins maintains that “We are the quality of the questions we ask.”

You crumble the scary by asking quality questions.

That’s the “business” of confidence!

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