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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Petty

005 How to Become the Boss of Your Fear

Bravery-building to Live With More Guts and Gusto


What if you could become the boss of your fear? What difference would that make?

All of us experience fear. It’s part of life. But not all of us know how to master our fear so that it doesn’t get the best of us. In this episode, you’ll learn how to put fear in its place so you can live with more guts and gusto. And you’ll learn how your Mortality can become a powerful ally in the ever-present battle with fear.

From Fearful To Forward

It was early in the morning one day six years ago, and my wife and two boys were still asleep. I, however, was wide awake...lying prostrate on the living room floor. This was not a relaxed “prostrate,” a slow, stretchy, meditative, welcoming-of-a-new-day kind of prostrate.

This was a “holy crap, I’m scared out of my mind, all I can do is lay here” kind of prostrate. Super fun.

Over the previous few years, it had become unavoidably clear that I needed a change professionally and we needed a change as a family, too. To figure out what kind of change, we had worked a long, insightful, and highly-structured process with a coach--my first experience with a coaching partnership. We’d weighed pros and cons, clearly envisioned a better, more desirable, more satisfying life; taken a weekend retreat as a couple and a week-long retreat with my coach and his wife; made “low-cost probes” into various options; gained useful insight through assessments, and gotten counsel from family and friends. We’d invested a lot of time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into the process, and eventually it had yielded the clarity we sought about the kind of changes we wanted to make.

And yet here I was--prostrate on the living room floor, scared to death to pull the trigger on a decision. Evidently, just knowing what kind of changes we wanted to make wasn’t enough.

One insight helped me go from fearful to moving forward. Tune in to the full episode for the rest of the story. The mental and emotional change within me was instantaneous and exhilarating. When my wife entered the room a few minutes later, the first words out of my mouth were, “Let’s go.”

How is Fear Bossing YOU Around?

That’s an example from my life. But what about you? In what areas of your life does fear hold you back or push you down or get the best of you?

What difference would it make if you began to be the boss of that fear rather than it being the boss of you?

How Do You Become the Boss of Your Fear?

Let’s be honest: Life is full of stuff that’s legitimately scary. There’s simply no changing that fact. Dangers abound even on the best of days. Big leaps and new adventures bring real risks. This episode aired in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fear and uncertainty was palpable and global and no one knew how it would all play out.

So in a world full of fear-inducing realities, here’s the big idea that I want you to wrestle with…

The way to master fear is not to become less fearful. The way to master fear is to become more brave.

None of us would expect to get physically stronger simply by telling our weakness to go away. Nor would we expect to get stronger just by hanging around a bunch of weights or envisioning ourselves as stronger or meditating about bigger muscles--as useful as envisioning and meditating are in their own ways. We know that getting physically stronger requires putting in the consistent work to build more muscle. And that’s hard work. But gradually, you do get stronger. And weight that was once impossible to lift becomes your new normal.

The same is true in mastering fear. We have to put in the work to build bigger bravery muscles so we can throw fear around more easily in the weight room of life.

Your Mortality: Steroids for Bravery-building

On this podcast, we tap into the power of our mortality to become the people we were made to be and live the lives we were made to live. And perhaps nowhere in life is our Mortality a more powerful ally than in our battle against fear. It is to bravery-building what steroids is to body-building--except for the whole illegal and unhealthy thing. When fear comes knocking, remind yourself that the clock of life is ticking. And tell fear to step aside as you charge ahead anyway.

Will Smith has said, “The best things in life are on the other side of fear.” I totally agree.

If you’re scared, practice being brave. Start today.

REMEMBER: You ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet! So get after it!

Amateur or Pro?

If bravery-building was a sport, would you be an amateur or a professional? Share your response in the comments on this episode’s post on the Facebook post for this episode.

My purpose as a coach is to help you deploy your unique purpose in the world. Connect with me on Facebook, here, on my coaching website or email me.

If this episode was helpful for you, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and leave a review!

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