National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

From Panic to Purpose

Family Matters: Working Life

BY Dave Durand

February 10-23, 2013 Issue | Posted 2/1/13 at 5:58 PM


When I was young, I was a super achiever in sales, but now, in middle age, my career has halted. I believe that God has equipped me for sales from a vocational perspective, but recently, due to having lost much in my life through a divorce that I did not want, I am fearful. I can’t seem to operate on commission without panic setting in. Am I doomed? Or can I recover? How?

I feel for you. The life changes that you faced are very traumatic, and they can be debilitating. However, you should be filled with hope. You can recover, and, with God’s help, you will be able to overcome this — but it will be hard work. God’s plan is mysterious, and your loss will make you stronger if you allow God’s will to be done in your life.

First, you must identify the source of your fear. Thankfully, there are many people who are examples of virtue who have struggled in similar ways and have become stronger than before. The pattern that they have used to get past their struggles is one that you can emulate. There are several types of fear that you are probably experiencing.

The first is insecurity. Thankfully, insecurity is overcome with the knowledge that the best you can be is all you can do. I know that sounds simplistic, but it truly works. For example, if you have a quota, all you can do is focus on the actions that produce the result. The rest is not up to you. So focus on activity.

The second form of fear you must recognize is uncertainty. Uncertainty is defeated with conviction. If you make a decision to increase the conviction in your product or service, you will have more energy to advance the cause of selling that product. In the military, there is a saying that it is better to enter the wrong battle the right way than to enter the right battle the wrong way. The saying represents that conviction matters.

The third form of fear is simply nervousness. Nervousness is overcome by action. Athletes and performers will tell you that even if they are nervous before a competition or performance, the nerves go away when the buzzer sounds and the action begins. Because you don’t have a buzzer to instigate action, you need to begin on your own: Take action right away in the morning when you make your calls, and, rapidly, the nerves will go away.

The last example of fear in this situation often comes from being uncommitted. Commitment eliminates options in life that lead to low performance. If you are committed, you eliminate the "decision" to be apathetic or inactive.

Finally, throw yourself at the foot of the cross by going to confession and freeing yourself of unforgiveness or anger that you may be holding on to from your past. That work will take the power of God, which is stronger than your own.

Catholic business consultant Dave Durand is online at