APiD Ep. 050 | Seize the Offensive
An Antidote to Fear, Dread, and Timid Living
Have you ever frozen in the face of fear? Have you ever dreaded the prospect of the day ahead or a difficult conversation you have to have?
Me, too. A couple of times just recently, in fact.
Maybe you’re glad 2021 is in the rearview mirror but dreading what 2022 might bring? You’re back on your heels, wary and anxious, waiting for the next catastrophe.
In this episode, I share a simple but powerful strategy for mastering your fear, combating dread, and living with guts, gusto, and abandon.
This strategy comes to you compliments of my 9-year-old son, Marshall, who recently brought it to life for me in a whole new way.
I stood at the top of the hill, looking down towards my 9-year-old son, Marshall, and his 15-year-old cousin, Jeremiah. Beyond them, our house sat tucked between other houses across the street at the bottom of the hill. To my right stretched the Yampa Valley in its march westward with the flow of the Yampa River. In front of me, from my perch on the hill, I could see over the rest of our little neighborhood to where the Yampa Valley curved east and south against the mountains that Steamboat Ski Resort calls home.
Finally, the view all around was mostly white instead of the persistent brown of a longer-than-usual fall. It was a beautiful bluebird winter day in Colorado–one of the first in a winter that had been stubbornly slow to get going.
The season’s first snows had provided just enough cover to make sledding worthwhile, and Marshall and a few of his cousins were milking it for all it was worth. Marshall was at the top of the hill near me, and Jeremiah was trudging back up the hill after his run.
As we watched Jeremiah ascend, he paused for a moment and pronounced to all that he would give them three tries to hit him with a snowball as he closed the distance between where he stood and the top of the hill.
The Plot Thickens
I began to lob high, arcing mortar rounds from my position. And Marshall started launching high-velocity snowballs from his. We may or may not have exceeded the three-snowball limit Jeremiah specified; history is so hard to recall accurately, sometimes, especially when it’s shrouded in the fog of war. You understand.
One thing was certain though: When the snowballs had stopped flying and the snow dust had cleared, a grim scene remained.
Jeremiah was on his knees, stunned, slowly beginning to clear a massive, newly-deposited clump of snow from the center of his face. It was so big that just his eyes and ears were clearly visible. I wasn’t sure who was responsible for the direct hit, but I did know it wasn’t me. What kind of animal do you take me for, anyway?
It didn’t take long though–as I glanced over and saw the panic-stricken look on his face–to realize that Marshall was the marksman who’d delivered the devastating blow.
“Oh man,” I thought to myself, “this could get interesting.”
Jeremiah continued slowly clearing the snow from his face, taking a moment both to recover from the blow and consider his next move. Then, understandably, according to the unwritten but universally-accepted rules of snowball warfare, he began to assemble a snowball of significant proportions from the snow right around him. Marshall had it coming to him.
And in an instant, Marshall, seeing Jeremiah’s snowball-of-unusual-size, or SOUS, taking shape, went from frozen still and panic-stricken to wildly motivated, and sent himself hurtling at Jeremiah with a battle cry unlike any I’d ever heard from him before. It was precisely the opposite of what I’d expected.
The scene mesmerized me, and it seemed to play out almost in slow motion. Here was my much smaller 9-year-old charging hell bent for leather at his much bigger 15-year-old cousin, apparently with some idea that it made sense to do so. At first, it seemed sort of like Don Quixote charging a windmill.
What possible chance did Marshall have of succeeding?
But you know what? It worked.
Marshall barreled into Jeremiah before he was able to prepare his weapon of mass destruction, and they both went down in a tangle of limbs and flying snow.
I don’t even think Marshall took any direct hits of consequence in the scuffle that ensued. By taking the offensive, Marshall required his opponent to be on the defensive, and prevented him from being able to unleash the barrage that might otherwise have followed.
Well-played, Marshall, well-played. And thanks for the life lesson.
The Moral of the Story
Whether it’s paralyzing fear, debilitating dread, preoccupation with the future, or anything else that threatens to immobilize you or take you out of the game…be Marshall.
Seize the advantage. Face your fear and advance courageously toward its source. Put your fear on its heels as you press forward into the fray. Don’t give it a chance to overwhelm you or convince you to run away.
Harness the fear and channel it into a new kind of energy that propels you into action. Start your day. Have the conversation. Face the bad news. Take the first steps toward your audacious goal.
Remember, you ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet. So get after it!
Seize the Offensive…STAY on the Offensive!
Marshall motivated himself to go on the offensive in the story I shared today. But staying on the offensive in life over the long haul–amidst all of the challenges that come our way–requires more guts and gusto than any of us can muster on our own. We need help from others who are committed to our wellbeing and success.
That’s why I created The Graveyard Group, a mastermind designed to help you become the person you were made to be and live the life you were made to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. We tap into the power of our Mortality to motivate us to leave it all out on the field of life and eliminate deathbed regrets. I’m forming another in-person group locally here in Steamboat Springs, and my colleague Beth Romano is forming the first-ever group for women. Beth’s group will also be the first-ever virtual group.
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If you're new to this show, browse the archive of past interviews with fascinating people and short, topical solo episodes like this one--all designed to equip you with the mindset and the means to become the person you were made to be and live the life you were made to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. We flip the script by inviting our ancient foe, Death, to become an unlikely ally in our heroic journey to leave it all out on the field of life. Turns out, Mortality might just be the most potent motivator available--blasting us out of our ambivalence and complacency and toward the fullness of our potential.