I was the type of guy who didn't approach girls in high school. I was too afraid.
I didn't change much in college either. I had tons of girls as friends, but only a few girlfriends — I was just too afraid to ask girls to go out with me.
My wife even had to start a study group with a mutual friend before we met and eventually got together.
I had plenty of fear in other areas, too.
For one, I was afraid to pick up the phone and talk to strangers. The only way I succeeded as a telemarketer was because a computer was making my calls for me.
I was afraid of teachers' scathing reviews of my work — and more often, my work habits.
If it involved uncharted social territory (and especially talking with strangers, authority figures, and members of the opposite sex), I was afraid.
Yet now — in my professional career — I've developed a reputation as an outgoing, confident, and seemingly fearless leader.
The Lie of "No Fear"
I used to believe the lie that some people experienced fear, and others didn't.
I'd watch as other boys at school seemed to effortlessly approach girls and get phone numbers or dates. I'd see speakers presenting in front of hundreds of people without breaking a sweat. I'd listen as fellow telemarketers seemed to dive right in and have a sales conversation, never stammering or stuttering as they asked for the sale time and time again.
Me, I couldn't get a word out talking to girls I liked if the topic turned to dating, dances, or even how they looked today. I never imagined I'd step on stage in front of hundreds of people and give an impromptu speech. And, as soon as my telemarketing calls got off script, I back-pedaled just to remember to ask for the order.
But, then I had a realization that changed everything.
I realized that there are two types of "No Fear" …
- "No Fear in Thought." This is the person who feels no fear. They act fearless because they are fearless. This type of "No Fear" exists only in imaginations and fairy tales. In other words, it's not real. Although it's what most people think of when they think of "No Fear," it's a lie.
- "No Fear in Action." This is the person who feels fear, but acts anyway. They experience plenty of fear, but they don't let it stop them from doing what they need or want to do. This is the only "No Fear" that exists.
Again, "No Fear in Thought" is a lie; "No Fear in Action" is real.
This Realization Liberates You From Fear
As soon as I realized it was impossible to eliminate fear, I was liberated. I no longer had to change how my mind works to get past my fear. All I had to do was act in spite of the fear I felt.
Suddenly, it was a realistic expectation that I could overcome my fear — at least in action.
- I was afraid to apply for a marketing job because of lack of experience, but I did it anyway and got the job
- I was afraid to speak in front of hundreds of people at AWAI's Bootcamp, but I did it anyway and used the opportunity to build my reputation
- I've been afraid time and time again to talk on the phone with potential clients, but just about every time I do it, I get a project
I've learned you can get ahead quickly by consistently acting in the face of fear.
Why "No Fear In Action" Works
"No Fear in Thought" doesn't work because you're expecting the impossible. You're waiting to act until your fear goes away, but that won't happen. At least, not until you've confronted what's making you fearful — until you've taken action.
"No Fear in Action" works because you're looking your fear in the face and proving to it that it can't control you. You take action despite your fear, and you experience success. Your success breeds confidence. Your confidence encourages further action in the face of fear. You have more success. You gain more confidence. And, you take more action.
It's a cycle that brings you more success and confidence each day. Pretty soon, fear takes a back burner to your confidence and the success you've experienced. Fear will always be there, you just don't pay much attention to it anymore.
And, it all starts because you take action in the face of fear.
Oh and by the way, even failure is success with "No Fear in Action." Because when you've taken action in the face of your fear, you've already succeeded — no matter what the results of that specific task are. You've succeeded because you've acted despite any fear you felt. And, that success leads to more confidence, which leads to more action in the face of fear.
Do You Want More Success In 2011?
I get frustrated each year with talk about New Year's resolutions. Because I know more than 9 out of every 10 resolutions are abandoned by mid-January … probably right about now. They just don't hold up — so I don't give it much weight when someone tells me they've made their list.
So, rather than making "No Fear in Action" a New Year's resolution for 2011, I want you to do something else.
Grab a 3x5 note card. Write down …
"I'm the type of person who acts in the face of fear."
Post this card somewhere you'll see it every day. And, whenever you see it, read it to yourself in your head or out loud. Make sure you do this for at least a month.
Within a month, this belief about yourself will be internalized. It will start to shape your self-image. The more you say these words, the more you'll realize they are true about you.
Once this truth becomes part of your self-image, you'll find it's far easier to act with this truth than against it. That means your belief about yourself will start to shape your action — you will be the type of person who acts in the face of fear. You'll take action. You'll experience success. And, your confidence will build. And then, you'll continue to grow as the type of person who acts in the face of fear.
In fact, forget future tense. You ARE the type of person who acts in the face of fear.
Knowing this, you can achieve all your other goals and resolutions in 2011 and beyond with "No Fear."
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »