I first heard the term from international direct response marketing legend John Carlton, who has also been harping on and on about Lizard Brain Fear (and why entrepreneurs must overcome it) for years.
From a psychological point of view, Lizard Brain Fear is a fight or flight reaction sent by the most ancient part of our brain.
The reaction tends to pop up when we attempt to do something extraordinary…. in business or life.
Protection in the jungle:
In an effort to protect us from the dangerous predators of ancient times, the Lizard Brain pumps us full of fear as we attempt to leave our comfort zone. For us entrepreneurs, leaving our comfort zone can (and should) be a daily occurrence!
“Leaving our comfort zone” used to mean leaving the safety of our caves. In a dangerous jungle, Lizard Brain reactions were not just appropriate, but mighty useful.
In the concrete jungle of today, Lizard Brain Fear is seldom warranted or helpful.
Seth Godin’s big message (for Linchpins and entrepreneurs) is to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I want to take things once step further with a practical technique for understanding and overcoming Lizard Brain Fear.
Step 1:Â Identify what it is, specifically, that scares you
Fear only ever has one meaning; that there is an upcoming situation you need to prepare for in some way.Â Whether you’re facing a tiger in the jungle, or your first ever sales presentation, this is true.
Identify the message your Lizard Brain is attempting to send you by getting clear on what you’re afraid of.
Step 2: Acknowledge the Lizard Brain’s ultimate intention
Every part of you, Lizard Brain included, is doing the best it can to move you towards you goals. The confusing part is the incongruity of you consciously wanting to take action, be extraordinary and win success… while your Lizard Brain is pulling you towards safety and the security of inaction.
Acknowledge and respect the Lizard Brain’s intention by asking yourself what it’s ultimate purpose could be. You’ll soon figure out that it simply wants you to be safe, so that you can relax, be comfortable and be happy.
Step 3: Reassure your Lizard Brain that your intentions are aligned
Ask yourself why you desire your big goals. It’ll be for success, freedom, wealth and happiness.
The key here is that both you and your Lizard Brain want the same thing (happiness) – you just have different ways of doing it. Reassure that fearful part of you by reminding it of your highest possible intention for yourself (happiness).
How can that old internal conflict exist when both you and your Lizard Brain want the same thing? That’s right….
Step 4: Flip the equation
Ask your lizard brain how it would feel if, in 5, 10 or 20 years you hadn’t progressed towards your big goals. Imagine giving in to your old Lizard Brain fears, permanently, then waking up in 20 years to realise what you’d done.
Turn the fear equation on it’s head by having your Lizard focus on the disastrous consequences of always settling on what is safe.
Have it really feel the fear.
FINAL STEP: Take action
Go do the thing that used to scare you most.
Questions, queries or reports of breakthrough successes? Post a comment below and I’ll help you out implementing this technique!