When we lose the fear, we can solve the problem!

Posted on: July 1, 2013

Here is a great lesson in problem perspective and attitude even for a grandpa who has read and trained much on problem solving…

A couple weeks ago Susan and I took the grandkids on a camping trip. Three of our four grandchildren had never been camping. Since it was going to be their first camping experience we wanted it to be a true wilderness experience and not a tent in the back yard at the ranch. So we decided on Hurricane Lake on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. On the second day, a vehicle rolled into camp in a cloud of dust and explained there was a black bear boar and two sows not far from our camp and would probably enter the camp in the evening. We were warned to be careful as they had no fear of people. Immediately after the bear patrol party left, we called a camp huddle to determine if we should stay or pack up and head out. To my amazement it was unanimous amongst the grandchildren: “We are staying!”

Late that afternoon I decided to take Miss Emmaline and Chase, who are 8 and 10 respectively, to another lake about five miles away. Now there was no cell coverage or any way of contacting anyone as were on the reservation and several hours from any town, so I was a little hesitant to attempt the short trip by our SUV rental but they wanted to catch fish! About four miles away from the camp the front tire blew and we came to a pretty quick stop. Now what? I was in a rental SUV and quite frankly I did not even know if it had a spare tire, jack, tools or even where to look for them. We had caravanned with our son Luke on the way in to Hurricane Lake so I knew we had a backup but he was back at the camp. Under my breathe I began to mutter, “How could this happen.” What if I had to walk back to the camp with them, what if we encountered the bears on the way back and what if I met a less than desirable person on the road and I had no protection for the kids? I found my mind racing, as I dearly love those kids and would do anything to protect them from harm. Call it uneasy but the basis of the feelings in the problem were really rooted in fear.

I got hold of my mind and wondered why it would race like that when that is not my normal course of action. After looking for the instructional guide and finding the tire snugged up under the vehicle by a cable device, I thought, “No problem” – until the tire would not lower after multiple attempts. I admit changing tires is not my everyday job but I have done it before. I found my mind racing again and wondered how this could happen to me and that if we had to walk back to camp we would not get there before dark. I found myself intensely involved with a simple problem of a flat tire that was creating other undesirable challenges I did not want to attempt. And then a lovely, brown-haired, 8-year-old Miss Emmaline knelt down beside me and said, “Grandpa, don’t be upset, everything will be ok and we are making memories.” Those words of inspiration and encouragement were like water to a drought-stricken land. She wasn’t projecting what could go wrong or the challenges if we could not solve the problem. She even offered to read the instructional guide so I could follow her readings. She simply believed we would solve the problem and create a memory. And that is exactly what we did!!

I have thought about the experience many times since then and looked for the truth in the experience to apply to all life issues. It certainly is encouraging and inspirational when someone comes alongside you and offers the words, “Don’t be upset, everything will be ok and we are making memories!!” Simple words, but oh how profound. Not only does it work when we feel the frustration of life’s challenges, but it also works when others are feeling overwhelmed and we offer those inspirational and encouraging words.

But I did have to go a little further and explore this experience and the nature of the problem. It was simply a flat tire. It wasn’t the flat tire that loomed up as the problem, it was the circumstances I could project as a result of having a flat tire. How many times in life do we take the problem that really is insignificant and project the extreme issues that could come as a result of having the problem? We lose sight of living in the moment to address the problem and we live in a projected future – and many times the root of the projections is fear. Fear of rejection, failure or showing incompetence. Problems are a part of life. In fact, most rewards and recognition are rewarded in life for those who can create solutions to problems. The more focused you stay on the problem and not on the circumstances that could be created from the problem, the easier it is to solve problems.

What problems do you face? When you take off the mask of fear issues (F.E.A.R. false evidence appearing real), isn’t it easier to focus and solve the problem? I think you will find it to be true.

To better outcomes,


9 Responses to "When we lose the fear, we can solve the problem!"

I see this everyday in business…the “what if” phenomenon. I coach a mindset of “well let’s fix this” versus a downward spiral of wasted and unproductive energy. I tell my staff and my son in these situations….if we REALLY have to we can get to panic after we think out all possible solutions…with a smile, of course:) Thank you for sharing the natural brilliance of a child’s mind to problem solving!!!

Thanks so much, Michael. Truer and more fitting words could not be spoken. Many of us so often make mountains out of molehills, slowing down our growth & progress. After sitting near your grandchildren at the GOS welcome reception, and knowing the love & faith so evident in all of you,I’m not surprised by Emmaline’s approach.
I was surprised by Marcus’s, or Annie’s, comment that we may find her crawling under the table. You have 4 precious grandchildren who seem to truly love & be loved by their wonderful parents,grandparents, & other extended family.
I feel so blessed to know all of you & so grateful for all you do–everything with running what I consider the #1 Company, bar none. That means your blogs–all of them–and everything else.
May God bless you all,
Carol Wessman

That’s one amazing Miss Emmaline. May she always keep her innocent wisdom

Micheal, Your blogs are always so inspiational. I know that our family needs to practice this alot more than we do. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. Dennis Anderson

The simple faith of a child. Jesus said only believe

Hi Michael,

Thanks for another great blog.

Fear is something that everyone has to deal with. Leaders and achievers have the same fears, however they continue to move forward despite the fear. What a great lesson for all of us, and great words of wisdom from 8-year-old Miss Emmaline!

Mike Riedmiller

Out of the mouths of babes! Michael, I do not believe I have ever read a quote that make me both burst out laughing and tear up simultaneously, but your grandaughter pulled it off. Great story….and I believe it is natural for us to make up these stories (what if, fear, but..) as I heard someplace along the road… very few children have ever run down the stairs “Mommy Mommy there are Angels under my bed”. The key is knowledge, knowledge that noises are just noises, thoughts are just thoughts, we can change them, and the knowledge that we are provided for….and every with every fearful thought…we are making memories….

Thanks Michael, you cut to the issue indeed!

Thank you.


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