F.E.A.R. – You choose!


If you don’t know, we love, love, love acronyms in the military. One of the best known acronyms is for the military jeep – Humvee. Spelled how it is normally pronounced, but the actual vehicle and acronym is High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).

So, when I saw the word fear defined as three different acronyms, I just had to share –

F – Forget F – Face F – False
E – Everything E – Everything E – Emotions
A – And A – And A – Appearing
R – Run R – Rise R – Real

What does fear mean to you?

Like I stated in other blog posts, transitioning from the military will cause you to experience many emotions and fear may very well be one of those emotions. Fear is an emotion that can either stifle one’s action or motivate one to take action.  And according to the acronyms above – the  choice is up to you!

I recall receiving notification that I had to relocate to support a unit that was preparing for a deployment to Iraq. It was right after my promotion to Chief Warrant Officer Three. I was at Fort Hood, Texas, my husband had just redeployed from Iraq, my daughter was getting ready to turn one-year-old, and I was ready to remain in place until retirement. I was not even considering that I would have to relocate my family, let alone prepare to say goodbye for a year. This was definitely a situation where fear started to creep in – Forget Everything And Run. But where could I run to? I was a career Soldier and I had served on Rear Detachment, it was now my turn to take the trip down range. I had to push that F.E.A.R. to the side and ‘move out’ to complete the mission ahead of me.

Then I arrived in Iraq with the unit I was serving with and because I was a late addition to the unit, I didn’t have the extensive training period like the rest of the unit prior to deployment. I figured I’d be ok and have plenty of time to learn what I needed to know to successfully do my job. Until then, my team would have my back and get me up to speed. Well, I was put on the spot to provide a briefing to the Division Commander within 72 hours of arriving in theater. What!?!? It was the WORSE briefing I ever gave in my career!! I was totally ill-prepared. I wanted to run out of the room. It felt like everyone’s eyes were burning a hole in my chest. This was fear like I had never experienced before. When it was over I went into the bathroom and cried, chastised myself, and faced my F.E.A.R. – Face Everything And Rise. I said to myself before leaving that bathroom ‘There is no place to go but up from here.’

I even experienced fear during transition from the military. I went into transition like everything else in my career – with a ‘Can Do’ attitude. When I found myself involuntarily crying the day I signed out on transition leave, I knew transition was not going to be like any other task I faced in my career. This is when fear creeped in – False Emotions Appearing Real.

Fear will appear when:

  1. You face an unknown, uncomfortable, or unfamiliar situation
  2. Your personal security feels threatened or is in danger
  3. You make assumptions, which normally are wrong or distorted in some manner


When fear comes…

Fear will show itself in varying forms as you can see by the examples I share. The choice is really up to you to determine how you will use that energy that comes along with fear. In each example I shared, I ended up having to take action. Action that moved me forward toward progress in each situation. I ended up deploying to Iraq, I really didn’t have an option in the matter. That deployment ended up being one of the best experiences in my career – I grew as a Soldier, a leader and an analyst. I’m still connected with some of my Soldiers I served with in Iraq. I learned a valuable lesson when I found myself ill-prepared to do my job in a combat zone, I am just thankful it wasn’t a situation where lives were at stake. I studied and later found myself a respected and valuable advisor to that same general officer, the staff, and other units serving with us in Iraq. I raised my standard of performance and became an expert in my field. Today as a retiree and transitioning Military Member, I take the lessons I learned and help other transitioning Service Members. In each instance, I turned my fear experiences into positive energy.

#BattleBuddy I am not going to tell you, you will not experience fear in life. Live long enough and you will experience some form of fear. You may even experience fear in transition from the military – fear of the unknown or fear from leaving a life you knew well. The choice is up to you to determine how you will use that energy that accompanies fear, what lessons you will take away from that fear, and what action will you take as a result of fear. What will you choose #BattleBuddy?