Fear, Not Always As It Seems

Matt Hogan
4 min readMar 20, 2019

In September 2017, I was offered a promotion to Director, for the company where I worked at the time. Looking back, I remember the smile that crossed my face as my then manager, offered me the position.

To say I was excited, is an understatement. Especially considering, when I looked back five years prior, I had been targeting a director role from the get go.

The time had come. The opportunity standing on my doorstep.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗴𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁

𝐓𝐡𝐞….. 𝐖𝐚𝐢𝐭 𝐀 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝.

I thought the salary didn’t match the requirements. Whether that is true, is not the point of the story.

When I heard the salary offering, I was met with the thought, “hmmmm… I would have thought this paid more.”

I found myself at a crossroad. A place where I saw three choices. Three paths.

#𝟭 𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗮𝘆 “𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂”

#𝟮 𝗡𝗲𝗴𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆, 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗮𝘆 “𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂”

#𝟯 𝗡𝗲𝗴𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲, 𝗶𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲

At this point in my career, I was not at the place where I was willing to walk away, so I threw that option out the window.

And I knew that if I just accepted it, without an attempt to negotiate, I would end up angry with myself.

𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗵 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵, 𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗸𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰.

That meant, just accepting and saying “thank you” was not an option either.

There I was, I had decided what I wanted to do, what felt like the next step, both emotionally and logically.

As I was typing the email to my manager to schedule a meeting, my hands paused, frozen to the keyboard, and then my mind started flooding me with a bunch of messages.

Messages that I’m certain, others reading this have experienced before.

𝗠𝘆 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗲…..

“𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑏𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑔𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛”

“𝐼𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑠𝑘 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑦 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑢𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛”

“𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑗𝑜𝑏, 𝑠𝑜 𝑤ℎ𝑦 𝑏𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟”

“𝑆𝑒𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑡 𝑢𝑛𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑙, 𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛’𝑡 𝑤𝑒?”

As you can imagine, these thoughts were anything but motivational. What they were, in fact, were messages of fear.

I was afraid to ask for more money. 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗱 𝗼𝗳…

𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 “𝗻𝗼”

𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗹𝘆

𝗥𝘂𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻

Who hasn’t experienced these thoughts?

Even though the word “𝐹𝐸𝐴𝑅” didn’t enter my mind, that’s exactly what it was.

It’s not often that when we encounter something that creates fear, and we find ourselves saying…

“𝑶𝑯! 𝑰’𝒎 𝒇𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒇𝒖𝒍.”

It just doesn’t happen that way the majority of the time. But, that’s what is lurking behind those thoughts.

The kind of thoughts that prevent us from taking any kind of action that is perceived as risky, or life “threatening”.

I wrestled with my thoughts for a bit, and finally decided that the reward for asking for the higher salary, far outweighed the cons of not asking.

𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵? 𝗦𝘂𝗿𝗲!

Did I honestly have a reason to suspect that anything worse than a “no” would occur?

Not even in the slightest. And yet, the fear, the stories, the mind spinning and guilting was very real…IN MY HEAD.

Oh well, the stories would have to wait, the decision was made. I finished my email, and scheduled the meeting. I Prepared my ask and reasoning, and went in ready for anything.

𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁? 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧!

Taking money out of the conversation for just one second….since we like to focus on the numbers ;).

T̲h̲e̲ ̲g̲r̲e̲a̲t̲e̲s̲t̲ ̲r̲e̲w̲a̲r̲d̲ ̲f̲r̲o̲m̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲d̲e̲c̲i̲s̲i̲o̲n̲,̲ ̲o̲v̲e̲r̲ ̲a̲n̲y̲t̲h̲i̲n̲g̲,̲ ̲w̲a̲s̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲s̲e̲n̲s̲e̲ ̲o̲f̲ ̲s̲e̲l̲f̲ ̲c̲o̲n̲f̲i̲d̲e̲n̲c̲e̲ ̲i̲n̲ ̲m̲y̲s̲e̲l̲f̲,̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲m̲y̲ ̲a̲b̲i̲l̲i̲t̲y̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲s̲t̲i̲l̲l̲ ̲h̲a̲v̲e̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲c̲o̲n̲v̲e̲r̲s̲a̲t̲i̲o̲n̲,̲ ̲t̲a̲k̲e̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲a̲c̲t̲i̲o̲n̲,̲ ̲e̲v̲e̲n̲ ̲w̲i̲t̲h̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲f̲e̲a̲r̲f̲u̲l̲ ̲s̲t̲o̲r̲i̲e̲s̲ ̲r̲u̲n̲n̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲t̲h̲r̲o̲u̲g̲h̲ ̲m̲y̲ ̲h̲e̲a̲d̲.̲


̲I̲ ̲w̲a̲s̲ ̲a̲b̲l̲e̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲f̲i̲l̲t̲e̲r̲ ̲t̲h̲r̲o̲u̲g̲h̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲m̲e̲n̲t̲a̲l̲ ̲c̲h̲a̲t̲t̲e̲r̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲m̲a̲d̲n̲e̲s̲s̲,̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲r̲e̲a̲l̲i̲z̲e̲ ̲t̲h̲a̲t̲,̲ ̲b̲a̲s̲e̲d̲ ̲o̲n̲ ̲m̲y̲ ̲e̲x̲p̲e̲r̲i̲e̲n̲c̲e̲ ̲w̲i̲t̲h̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲c̲o̲m̲p̲a̲n̲y̲,̲ ̲t̲h̲a̲t̲ ̲m̲a̲n̲a̲g̲e̲r̲,̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲w̲h̲a̲t̲ ̲I̲ ̲w̲a̲s̲ ̲c̲o̲m̲f̲o̲r̲t̲a̲b̲l̲e̲ ̲r̲i̲s̲k̲i̲n̲g̲,̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲w̲o̲r̲s̲t̲ ̲c̲a̲s̲e̲ ̲s̲c̲e̲n̲a̲r̲i̲o̲ ̲w̲o̲u̲l̲d̲ ̲b̲e̲ ̲”̲n̲o̲”̲.̲ ̲

It wasn’t a case where I risked…

𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵

𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱

𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 “𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿”

Although, had you heard the thoughts in my head, you would think otherwise.

When we learn how to…

𝗡𝗲𝗴𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀

𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀

𝗗𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗲𝗮𝗿

…𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗮𝗿 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸.

Because in this case, and for me, the greatest reward was a stronger sense of identity. And the value of that, impacts every area of our life!


“𝑭𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒅 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒆” — 𝑩𝒚𝒓𝒐𝒏 𝑲𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒆



Matt Hogan

Coaching Leaders & Executives to Find Purpose, Clarity, and Alignment. | World Traveler | Soul Seeker | I help you through the hard sh*t.