Fear vs. Concern

An athletic department staff member at The University of Texas tells a story about his son sharing his fears with Darrell Royal some years ago.  Apparently, the young man told Royal he was afraid of graduating and finding a job in the “real” world.  Royal apparently replied, “Never be afraid.  Be concerned.  There is a difference.”  He went on to explain, “The difference is that fear is paralyzing.  Concern brings awareness.” 

I have always thought that fear was a normal and even important part of life and in fact I still believe that.   However, Royal’s perspective is good one.  When facing challenges, we do not want to be paralyzed but concerned.  We want to be cautious and aware and responsive but not frozen in fear.  There is a place for fear.  Certainly, we should fear consequences of our actions and ramifications of our decisions.  Our laws and authorities relay to some degree on fear and that is appropriate, but when facing change or obstacles in life fear should not dictate our lives.  Caution yes, fear no.


Who am I?

I lost my dad way too early,

Who am I to doubt it was part of God’s plan?


His mother lived to age 98, why couldn’t he?

Who am I to question God’s timing?


He loved my mom and all of us so dearly,

Who am I to ask God why we don’t have him anymore?


He was married for 50 years, had nine grandchildren and a great grandchild,

Who am I to not thank God for the time we did have?


He had wood to carve, golf to play and trips to take,

Who am I to ask God why not?


He was kind, loved and respected,

Who am I to ask God why him?


For his disease there were no more options,

Who am I to ask God why no cure?


There were things I had not done or said,

Who am I to ask God for more time with him?


I never heard a bad word spoken towards him,

Who am I to ask God why not someone else?


He deserved so much more,

Who am I to question that God knows what he truly deserved?


I lost my dad far too soon,

Who am I to question God’s plan?


Barry D. Blanton

In loving memory of Don Blanton

January 6, 1935 – June 23, 2007


This MMM was originally issued 07.02.07.  I will repeat it as long as I write MMM’s on a Monday near the anniversary of the passing of my father.



Many of you know that leadership is one of my favorite discussion topics.  Here is another interesting quote regarding the challenge of leadership.

He who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk.

That statement places leadership in a little different perspective to me.  Leadership is not leadership without followers.  What is a leader without followers?  Well, they likely are not a leader at all.  In our different leadership roles, we should think about “Being a person that others will want to follow.”   We are not leaders in all the roles in our lives, we are followers in some and leaders in others.  The key is that when we are in our leadership roles to not forget the viewpoint of the follower.  I don’t know about you, but I would like to think that I am here for more than just a walk!


Tone and Delivery

How powerful is the tone and delivery of your words when you speak?  You probably don’t realize the impact your expression has on others.  It is not what you say, but how you say it that counts.  Have you ever met someone that can deliver the worst possible news, but does it in a way that you feel okay about it?  On the other hand, what about someone who communicates great news, but does so in a way that seems to ruin the good news itself.  Those are the extreme examples of the impact of how you say something.  Be mindful of the impact of tone and delivery on your message.