Fifer Pig builds his house of straw. Fiddler Pig builds his house of sticks. Practical Pig builds his house of brick in Disney’s Three Little Pigs cartoon.
Built and influenced by personality, three brothers build three different houses.
Fifer Pig takes the easy way, for he “toots his flute, doesn’t give a hoot and plays around all day.”
Fiddler Pig takes it up a notch “with a hey diddle diddle, he plays on his fiddle and dances all kinds of jigs.”
Piano-playing Practical Pig shuns the easy-going path of straw and sticks and builds a brick house. Devoted to doing his best he “has no chance to sing and dance for work and play don’t mix.”
Existence is risky at the edge of the forest because Big Bad Wolf likes to frighten little pigs into becoming his dinner. Yummy.
Noisy pig voices belt out “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” as their brick-laying brother finishes the chimney.
Disguised in sheepskin, “Wolf-Breath” explodes two pig houses, their straw and sticks swirling like an Oklahoma tornado.
Only one pig is poised for the encounter.
What holds you back?
Rattled by news of her father’s heart attack Christie* came to her team-based coaching group Tuesday morning. Separated by four thousand miles, it had been a long weekend. Dad was in critical, but stable condition.
Informing the team, she stated her plans to journey home in the morning.
Beyond her father’s health there was more to the story.
Voicing her work-related concerns, she updated us on the initiative she was leading. Going would be the right thing to do but anxiety huffed and puffed. She would be gone for a week at least. Even though her company supported her, fear was having its way.
The Denver trip to roll out the sale’s training had gone very well. In fact, everything at work was going well, but...
Calling her boss to notify him of her travel plans she received more news, “I’m accepting another opportunity. I will be gone in two weeks.”
Part of “things couldn’t be better at work” included how well they work together, like self-managed teams and leaders do.
Everything crashed in around her. Fear prepared its wolf breath.
Enter Big Bad Wolf
“Let me in, let me in, little pig or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!”
Fear only comes with a perceived threat. Whether real or imagined it disturbs your calm and limits performance.
Your usual attempt at “resistance” only conjures more fear-based emotions — anxiety, anger, ill will, resentment, frustration, impatience, irritation, depression, loneliness, shame, or un-forgiveness. They shove you in a box where you can’t escape.
Fear blocks trust, limits innovation, reduces productivity, short-sheets personal success and minimizes influence. Fear steals freedom.
When you feel threatened fear-based emotions trigger ancient behavior and the self-limiting behavior blows up top performers. You fall short of your full potential.
Dealing with a Perceived Threat
Everyone encounters the Big Bad Wolf. Straw and stick walls won’t prevail, only brick withstands the nasty blow of “Wolf Breath.”
So how do you deal with the perceived threat of fear?
Uncover and find what is true in the Story.
Bullied by “Wolf Breath,” listen in as he “huffs and puffs” outside Christie’s door…
So, you love your work, things are going well with the project … and your “boss” is great … How long do you think this will last?
What are you doing? Leaving the country for a week … at such a critical time with the project? Look, I know your father is sick; okay, okay, you should go. But what if you lose momentum with the project?
By all means go. It’s about time you re-build that relationship.
How about that, your boss accepted a new “opportunity.” Sure, you’re happy for him, but what about you? I told you it was too good to last. Now what? You were such a team… and, what affect will this have on the project.
So, you’re leaving for a week and your boss is leaving in a couple of weeks; it’s falling in on you … again. What if your dad doesn’t make it?
Of course you want to be there … how distracted are you? Wow, you can’t even focus on the work in front of you. Are you losing it, again?
Remember college? That semester when you “flunked out”? Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Life was good until you had to return home to help the family and manage mom’s depression. You lost your traction, couldn’t get it going, you were depressed … it’s happening again.
What if depression sets in, like your mother…?
Reflect on your story, that’s good. How about your divorce? After 10 years of marriage, bam! Remember the struggle? Depression. Guess what, it’s coming your way, again.
You can’t manage all this. You can’t concentrate now. Kiss the great job goodbye. Your career is over … you’re stuck, again.
“Little pig, little pig let me come in or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!”
How do you deal with paralyzing fear?
Uncover what is True
When “Wolf Breath” is whispering in your ear, try this exercise and drive him away.
With your journal in hand complete the following statements:
I’m afraid of this because of that
The truth is … (now, address “this” and “that” identified above)
Uncovering what is true will take some effort. Writing will help. Engaging a trusted friend to listen may be necessary.
How does uncovering what is true help?
Yep, sets you free. Bullies lie. Love lights the way.
When deceived, you accept as true something that is not true.
You must uncover truth, i.e. – the facts of the story, the reality of your situation.
Set free from the incapacitating power of fear, you can move forward, productive and successful.
Recognize the Message
Fear is an emotion that comes from a perceived threat. Recognizing the message is critical to your commitment to respond rather than react to the bully.
This not only requires self-awareness, but a commitment to seek truth.
Straw and sticks are easily blown away, only truth allows you to build a strong life.
*Not client’s real name