The Fearless Pursuit of Success

Fear of events yet to happen is debilitating and dis-empowering. It keeps us from striving for and achieving otherwise erstwhile goals that we might otherwise accomplish, had we given them the opportunity. Over the years, I’ve experienced fear in many forms:

  1. Fear of physical injury, or even death
  2. Fear of losing loved ones, or at least losing a close physical relationship with them
  3. Fear of failure, such as when tackling a worthwhile goal or pursuit (or, conversely, fear of success)
  4. Fear of risk taking, which could lead to loss of earnings, poverty or even destitution
  5. Fear of change, or the unknown, which ultimately summarizes all of the above!

Experiencing a sense of fear is a perfectly natural response. Unfortunately, humans tend to be debilitated by it, frozen like a deer in the headlights. However, by simply re-framing your response to fear-inducing situations, you can channel that energy to drive you onwards and upwards, and overcome such challenges.

When faced with a situation that triggers a sense of foreboding, recognize that feeling for what it is, and follow these simple (easier said than done!) steps to re-frame your experience from a negative response to a positive one:

  • Acknowledge that we have a tendency to foresee future outcomes based on prior experiences
  • Consider that you don’t know what you don’t know
  • Look for the ‘silver lining’
  • Get clear on the desired outcome – look for evidence of others who have faced similar challenges and how they overcame them
  • Plan what you can, accept what you cannot, and ride out the rest!

Let’s revisit the five examples I gave at the top of this article, and look at how those challenges manifested themselves into my life, and how I chose to experience them:

  1. Fear of physical injury, or even death – I wanted to do a Skydive for charity, simply because it excited the heck out of me! Was it scary? As all heck! But for this one, I lived by the principle of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” I focused on how rewarding it would be to complete the jump (desired outcome), considered the fact that showed I had less chance of being hurt skydiving than I did of being hit by a bus (evidence of future success), and that homeless and orphaned kids would benefit from the money raised (silver lining).
  2. Fear of losing loved ones, or at least losing a close physical relationship with them – As a recovered drug-addict and alcoholic, I put my wife through hell. Unfortunately, the toll it took on our marriage was too much, and she moved back to the US with our children. Having been removed from the US a few years prior to that, I was denied the ease of access most parents enjoy in such a situation, and wholly dependent on my wife to travel out of the US with our children to meet me in another country for me to spend any time with them. Yet I framed the whole event for the benefit of everyone. I acknowledged that the kids would get a better quality education in the US (silver lining), that the experience wouldn’t be too much different to families who have a parent in the Armed Forces (evidence that the arrangement was workable), and planned for future meet-ups before the actual day of the move, so we all knew exactly when we would be seeing each other (plan what you can). Sure, the actual day of them moving back to the US was horrible, but it was far better knowing when and where I would see the kids next (for me and for them), than us just saying our Goodbye’s and wondering “when?”
  3. Fear of failure, such as when tackling a worthwhile goal or pursuit – In the six months prior to my wife and kids moving back to the US, I planned to write a book, create a subscription-based video coaching course, and to travel Europe for six months after they had gone. These were massive goals, and on a daily basis I bumped up against issues that tried to prevent me from achieving them. Emergencies at work, day-to-day dramas, and temporary loss of motivation all posed obstacles that threatened to derail my plans. I had to acknowledge that this was par for the course (the Universe will challenge you when you step-up to do something great!), and I considered what achieving these goals would mean, not only for me, but for my wife, kids, and even the clients I would help (the silver lining and the desired outcome). With planning, perseverance, and execution, I was able to push through these challenges and achieve the desired goals (which is why I am now writing this article on a train on my way to London!)
  4. Fear of risk taking, which could lead to loss of earnings, poverty or even destitution – one of the most difficult investments I ever made was to spend over £1,000 per month on a coach. Yet it has proved to be the most influential and sound investment I have ever made! I focused on the desired outcome, and my coach was able to steer me through the minefield I mentioned above, and get me to where I am now. Thank you, Nanci! 😉
  5. Fear of change, which ultimately summarizes all of the above – yes, it does! Every one of the above presented a resistance to change, urging me (sometimes with every fiber of my being) to remain in my ‘comfort zone’, which would have changed nothing. Had I done that, I would still be stuck in the UK, lonely, growing old, wondering when – or even if – I would see my kids again. I would likely have turned back to alcohol (and potentially drugs) to ‘get me through’. Instead, I am currently travelling Europe, and soon the world. I have a successful video coaching business which generates sufficient monthly revenues that my wife and kids are well looked after, and I am financially independent. And I have private coaching clients that provide me both additional money that means I can do pretty much what I want, when I want, but also gives me a regular (often multiple times daily!) bursts of positive energy when a client reaches a new level or smashes a new goal!

A short while ago, no one would have wanted my life. I didn’t want it! But how things have changed. I could have curled up in a ball, full of fear, and allowed life to dictate to me who or what I would become. Instead, I grabbed the bull by the horns and created the life I wanted.

Was it hard work? Heck, yes it was! Long days, long hours, constantly having to overcome again and again the self-doubt and other negative thoughts, replacing them with positive images of the future (the desired outcome), why I was doing it (the silver lining), and so on.

Was it worth it? You betcha! If there is one thing I’ll never regret, it’s that I did what it took to get where I am. And you can to.

Just feel the fear, and do it anyway 😉