Fear, is good (as Gordon Gecko might have said if he’d been talking to investors in the current financial climate).

To achieve anything meaningful, I believe we have to first step outside the comfort zone and feel the heat of fear and uncertainty. In those binary, sink-or-swim moments, we’re at our most potent. This week, I’m auditing what exactly it is that brings me out in a cold sweat. I’m facing my fears, and turning them into a list. Kapow! Take that, fears!

Fear motivates us to do extraordinary things. It’s not just me who is obsessed with it, fellow lifestyle change blogger Steven Aitchison recently wrote a piece about conquering fears, and Zen Habits master Leo Babauta is busy confronting his own anxieties at the moment¬†with a fascinating lifestyle experiment to see what he can live without.

We all need a little more fear

When push comes to shove in a fearful situation our brains dump every ounce of excess baggage to focus purely on survival. No wonder we all want a piece of the action. Achieving such a singular state of mind makes us incredibly powerful, and it leaves us with an intoxicating afterglow too: for a few moments we see the world in black-and-white and everything seems a lot simpler, before the situation subsides and the colour of real life seeps back in.

We all need a little more fear, but, as I wrote after trying extreme sports for a week, we shouldn’t be seeking out the fast food variety. Anyone can jump out of a plane, but not all of us need to go to such lengths to face our fears. I discovered this when I spent a week white water rafting and paragliding while traveling in Colombia, realising the buzz I felt wasn’t half as potent as the hit I get every time I stepped outside my comfort zone and conquered anxieties in a real life situation. The simple fact is that most of us spend every day carefully avoiding the basic fears that are close to home. For me, that’s about to stop.

I’m spending my 20th Weekly Challenge conducting an audit of my own fears, because I’ve realised how powerful fear can be, and how mine have held me back for too long. But if I’m to face my fears, I need an honest portrait of exactly what they are, from the jitteringly petty to the spine-scrapingly large.