Facing My Fear, I Found My Truth

I believe I have changed far more in the last three years than during any prior 7-year period during my adult life.

People often talk of how much courage it takes to change, and that is often true.

After the fact, I’ve identified three major underlying fears that I had to face in order to change:

Losing those I love

Failing

Looking foolish

It was at the moment when I realized that no matter how much or how little I chose to change, the people who truly love me will always love me, and those who don’t, won’t. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do.* That realization was a very freeing, enabling, and inspiring.

Even the risks of failing or feeling silly became much less daunting when I realized that I’d already often failed and done foolish things, and those who truly loved me stood by me, and even supported me until I could regain my balance.

The fears of losing those I love, failing, and looking foolish, were a toxic brew that crippled me for far too long. But as soon as they were dispelled by the powerfully potent truth, change took far less courage, and even became fun and relatively easy, leading to a personal creative renaissance unlike I’ve ever experienced.

*I’m not discussing issues of integrity or fidelity here. Mainly, it’s because I consider them givens in my life and in my relationships.

With Love,
Russ

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About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
This entry was posted in Courage, Failure, Friendship, LIfe Lessons, My Beliefs, Observations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Facing My Fear, I Found My Truth

  1. billgncs says:

    no matter if it is the globe or a new idea, explorers are always best with a secure home base.

    Did you mean your tuth or truth, or tooth ? in the title…

    • russtowne says:

      Ain’t that the tuth? I hurd that Columbus dyde in detors prizn. r

      Tuth. I fownd it under my pillo before the Tuth Farey coud taik it.

      Thank yu fer bringin it to my atenshun.

      • billgncs says:

        🙂 – can I get one free word of financial advice ?

        Where are people parking money these days? We have a small sum that we will need in a couple years and wondered if there is any safe alternative to money markets right now.

        • russtowne says:

          Right now, in my judgment, the options–especially risk-adjusted options–suck. (That’s a highly technical term in the investing world that means pretty much what it means everywhere else. ;-D! ) QE has re-inflated the asset classes well above where I believe they’d be without the artificial help from Uncle Sam. You could consider laddered CD’s via your bank to get slightly higher yields. With such a short time horizon, stocks could be extra-dangerous and it would be more like speculating than investing. I don’t believe that people are being adequately compensated for bond risks, especially with the high probability of inflation or even stagflation kicking up substantially sometime during your time horizon.

          When I don’t have what I consider to be an intelligent place to invest cash, I don’t. I hold my nose and sit on the cash knowing that patience is often an investor’s best friend and that sooner or later my target prices and returns will become available. I don’t mind giving up a little while I wait for much better investing possibilities.

          My approach is driven by valuation (prices versus intrinsic value) not market timing. I want a substantial margin of safety when I buy. That not only helps to protect my principal, it magnifies the potential gain if/when the market reverts to the mean at a price much closer to what I believe is the intrinsic value of the asset.

          In recent weeks I’ve gradually trimmed or sold out of quite a number of holdings based on valuation and insufficient margin of safety, and by default, my cash and money market holdings as a percentage of total assets under management are perhaps as high or higher than they have ever been. I don’t wish for something bad to happen, but when (not if) it does, I’ll be ready with a lot of dry powder.

          This is not intended as investment advice, and before investing, one should always do their own due diligence to ensure the investment is right for them based on all related factors including but not limited to time horizon, risk tolerance, understanding of the various risks and of the asset itself, tax implications, legislative risk, etc.

          Russ

          • billgncs says:

            thanks Russ – I really appreciate you taking the time 🙂

            • russtowne says:

              It was my pleasure, Bill. You asked for only “a word” but once I got started, it was hard to stop. ;-D!

              Another caveat: In the short-term, anything can happen. You could buy the world’s best company at a great price and it’s share price could drop like a rock in the short term (making a great investment decision look foolish indeed), or you could buy a sack of, uh, garbage, for 100 times what it is worth and it could soar in the short term and make a terrible investor look like a genius.

              It is over the long-term and multiple economic and market cycles that one learns who the intelligent investors really are.

  2. utesmile says:

    You know Russ, I can say the same, the last 3 years have changed me too. Due to cirumstances in relationship and losing loved ones. I certainly have found myself more and live more consciously. I totally enjoy life and I am more open, I say what I think, (yes I used to be shy , never piped up, can you believe it) and I got to know and love myself more. I love getting older as I seem to get more out of me every year! 🙂 I follow my own path and make my own decisions I stand by. I love to make others happy on the way!
    Life is good !

  3. Kristi says:

    This post is like written for me. This brew you describe, is exactly what I’m battling with. I try to win the most days, but occasionally I still lose. Thanks for sharing Russ. Going to try and face them. I’ve noticed the fears tend to come back…how do you deal with that?

  4. russtowne says:

    Thank you for your comment, Kristi. As for how I deal with them when the fears come back, I focus on my truths, connect with my true friends for support and encouragement (they typically give them without my needing to ask), remind myself how far I’ve come despite my fears and that relatively few of my fears actually become reality, and that even when my fears do come true the end result is often far less painful than I thought it would be and often leads to even faster growth and greater joy.

  5. Even in the time I’ve known you .. you have grown so much in the confidence you have with what you write… and NOW… your published children’s books… WOW….. Diane

  6. willowdot21 says:

    It is a brave person who stands up to the truth!

    • russtowne says:

      I think that can be especially true when the fear is facing up to one’s own truth. I believe that the fear is so great that many people never see the beauty of their own truth and what they have to give to the world.

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