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The only real Guide to Overnight Transformation

I’ve got a challenge for you and I think it might change everything.

I often get asked what the “biggest” transformation people can make is, in terms of their thinking. My answer always boils down to overcoming fear – that’s why I wrote a whole guide to overcoming all manifestations of it.

Today though, I want to share with you a completely different perspective on fear. One that isn’t about overcoming it at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Surrender to you fear. Then use it.

I’ll never forget the first client who really got this concept. It was way back in my therapist days. She was a semi-pro golfer who suffered from acute social anxiety. Naturally, this made putting with an audience somewhat problematic.

When I asked her to describe the last time she got really excited about something in a quiet, anticipatory way… something shifted inside of her. She flushed and her eyes gleamed. She got it.

You can’t tell the difference between fear and excitement

Why is it that people sky dive, ski and whitewater raft? The sensation of exfrightment (yeah, I went there) is addictive. We love it.

At a chemical and physiological level, fear and excitement are pretty much the same. Adrenaline, increased heart beat, faster breath and shrinking peripheral vision.

Fear. Excitement. It’s the same damn thing.

In the modern world, we don’t have many legitimate fears. However, we endlessly wrestle ourselves as our primal instincts struggle to understand the ambitions of our evolved self.

Fear is the biggest (and last) obstacle to success. No matter what variety you’re pursuing.

We fear the things that represent the greatest risk in our lives. The actions that we can imagine “screwing up” into disaster and ruin.

Yet these actions are those that we know we must take, if we want to achieve the phenomenal. Even if we have to fail (and learn) a few times.

Dale Carnegie said:

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

So why not use fear as a compass?

Think about it. Imagine committing to a thirty day trial in which you stubbornly action only the things you fear… leaving all the boring, comfortable busywork for later.

Imagine simply committing to a single hour per day of doggedly pursuing your greatest fear.

By using our fear as a compass, we can create a startling form of clarity in our lives. Never again will you be left wondering “what shall I do next?”

The answer will be (and always has been) right in front of you: Do the thing you fear most.

Just an hour of following your fears per day and you’ll stretch, grow, fail and win so much… that your life will be unrecognizable. Guaranteed.

I’m suggesting a paradigm shift. Let’s stop trying to avoid the abstract pain of anxiety and start guiding our lives by it. Through it. Over it and beyond it.

Courage, after all, is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it.

36 Comments

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      1. Do you realise what you’ve just done to me, hm?

        Pretty much everything in life makes me either nervous, or excited, or both. Are you saying I should do EVERYTHING in life?

        *I’ll be out of office for the next aeon or so*

        1. That’s very telling Martin 😉

          Of course, you could just prioritize the thing that scares you MOST. And don’t pretend you don’t know what it is – fear is the compass that always points true.

  1. First comment here, but I could not NOT comment. Fears… they managed me for so long, barking orders at me. Now we’re friends, they speak to me with a softer voice, almost in a friendly way. They still want to rule from time to time but I tell them it’s a collaborative work here 🙂

    Thank you for this article, it’s brilliant!

    1. Hey Emmanuelle, thanks for joining the discussion!

      I love the idea of telling your fears it’s time to be “collaborative” – such a powerful reframe! Thanks for the contribution 🙂

  2. Great idea.. I think I have been doing some of this, with my work, doing things that are fearsome, and it is true, it does get better. Funny too is that knowing that almost everyone has fears, though no one will admit it, does not really help.

  3. This is actually quite the challenge, there, Mr. Shallard. I imagine I’d have a pretty seriously interesting month. And I’m actually going to try to do this. (What am I getting myself into?!)

    I’ve been working on my internal dialogue for the past month (as you know) – each time I feel anxious, I would think, “I’m nervous!” Now I’m trying to relabel it quickly. “No, I’m EXCITED!”

    And it actually has an effect. I realize, “Hey, I AM excited! Wow, this is cool…” and the feeling is pretty damned need. Just a perspective shift, but it opens up worlds.

    (And thank you for opening up mine.)

      1. Oh you snarky little devil! But … the Law of Synchronicity being what it is, I found this at the top of my meditation reading today…

        “People wish to be settled; only as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”
        –Ralph Waldo Emerson

        (crap…harder to ignore TWO slaps on the head in less than 24 hours!)

  4. Eureka! Or rather Youhshallarda! 🙂 Love it…
    I have a similar way of helping me and others dealing with fear, which I call Fire-walking. It basically is the same process.. There is so much ‘stuff’ out there, especially Law of Attraction stuff, which is causing people to ‘shut-off’ fears and doubts because we’re told not to talk or focus on them . Would you agree that most of the population are walking around shit-scared because of this – ‘just-focus-on-the- positive’ stuff? My own Beloved is a fan of Abraham Hicks, a connoisseur of lightness and foolery and wakes up with nightmares on many nights. Fire-walking is deliberately embracing the demons that haunt us (always fear based) and has to be done in seclusion for a period of time. I spend all night several years ago, ‘hunting out’ a deep seated hurt and fear, and when I saw it after hours of letting it come through, I was ready to let it burn me up if necessary, with the fire of raw surrender. Just letting it come in and allowing it to exist. It is intense! But I walked over the coals and out the other side to a place where this fear has evaporated.
    Great discussion, Peter. Congrats on being so brilliant! Now I shall go and white water raft into celebrity, sky dive into prosperity and scream with pleasure!

    1. Hey Jenni! Love your comment 🙂

      I do think that there has been an (unintended) negative effect from all this “positivity” and “focusing on what you want”. Western culture has conditioned people to ignore and avoid feeling pain in their lives – which is akin to ignoring and avoiding the best ACTION SIGNALS you’ll ever receive in your life.

      Just because it feels bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad.

  5. Courage is about doing what you are afraid to do.

    We teach a sales process that is radically different from all others, in 14 weekly Webinars.. We tell our students that as they start applying the steps of the process they will feel awkward, unsure, uneasy, uncomfortable, incompetent and every other way they have for expressing fear.

    The important thing is to acknowledge that they are afraid and then immediately do what they are afraid to do. Most of the students get very good at handling their fears by the third session. It takes a little longer for others. By the end of the course, most of students have experience a shift from feelings of fear to feelings of competence.

    1. Hey Jacques, what you’re describing is fairly common in the helping-people industry. Certainly, with my clients, you could look at all my work as simply helping people overcome bigger (and more significant) fears … one after the other.

  6. Damn you!

    I was just talking myself down off the ceiling about something I’m wanting to try in my biz. In fact, I had almost convinced myself to choose the alternative that felt pretty good and “right” but maybe a little too … safe.

    Sigh.

    Going to look for my war goggles now. This could get messy.

    Oh, and *thanks* … I think.
    Karri

    1. Listen you, enough subtle references to unusual eye-wear 😛

      The googles will be arriving for the southern hemisphere ski season and when they do, trust me, you’ll know all about it 😛

      (It WILL get messy).

  7. I had goosebumps. As Tim Ferris once said: things that you are afraid of doing are generally the most important ones you could do.

    My biggest fear right now is to get out, meet potential clients and talk about how I can help them using the solution I created. It’s so damn hard sometimes to “grow”.

    (There’s a synchronicity about overcoming fears, hustling and taking action from the bloggers I love to read. I’m getting my virtual ass kicked real hard now. )

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Marie-Pier, actually doing the stuff that “grows” you is easy – the hardest part is the agony of sitting around trying to muster up the courage. The hardest part of skydiving is getting out of your seat and walking toward the open hatch… once you’re in free fall, you’ve just gotta have fun and remember to pull the chute! 😛

  8. I read this post as I was boarding an airplane in New York yesterday. During the 20 minutes of “no internet” time between gate departure and 10,000 feet, I wrote down a list of my most pressing fears- you know the chest-crushing kind. [Okay I spent 10 minutes on the list and 10 minutes taking a power nap, so sue me]

    The biggest thing that hit me when I started actually writing was that I’m not really afraid of failure or rejection alone, but PUBLIC failure and PUBLIC rejection. Other items that topped the list included stagnation, lack of growth/change, and lack of excitement. I know that my personality makes me NEED to push boundaries- but the thought of people watching me screw up is keeps me from taking the big leaps that end in wild success.

    So, who wants to go sing karaoke with me this weekend?!

    1. I can relate, Molly. One of my biggest fears is public embarrassment… which really gets in the way considering the popularity of my blog and business, my web following and a career that puts me in the spotlight daily. I *dread* thousands of fingers pointing at me and laughing… as absolutely unrealistic and unlikely as that is.

      So I find ways around my fear.

      For example, this week I auditioned on stage for a lead role in a theatre production – had to get up in the spotlights with a mic and sing my heart out to a group of strangers staring at me. My coping strategy to take the heat off and be able to do it easily? I cracked jokes all the way up the steps of the stage – if I laughed at myself first, well, then I foiled everyone else’s potential laughter, right?

      Humor goes a long way towards removing the pressure we put on ourselves. It’s why class clowns act out – and earn themselves everyone’s affection.

      So yeah… karaoke? Bring it. I can do that. With a grin.

    2. Hey Molly! I’m really glad to hear that this post inspired some note-taking action. Sounds like your unconscious fear-compass is leading you towards activities that’ll develop your public-courage muscles.

      Join toastmasters and a stand-up comedy class. Revolutionary results, in life and business, will follow.

  9. A thoughtful piece, Peter. So when we sense fear, rather than shun it – or ‘overcome’ it – we can take it as an opportunity to be attracted to what matters most. Something like that?

    Jeff Wise, author of Extreme Fear and the Extreme Fear blog, offers some invaluable insight into the physiology & psychology of fear, too. You might like his work.

    I also work with “fertile confusion” – that deep state of not-knowing (creative project, identity, worldview), and I’ve tried, at least, to follow through on a practice I call “Move toward the difficult” – which sounds similar to what you suggest.

    Your article reminds me, though, to really pay attention to fear’s tremors. It’s pervasive, an emotional cousin to wonder. Thanks.

  10. Pingback: Collection of articles from other blogs #1 | Special Guitar Lessons | Fable Orchestra Project
  11. wow wow WOW. I am sitting in a freaking cesspool of fear right now (it’s complicated) and this post was a wonderful beacon in my day. These reminders are so important, especially when all you can see is DOOM DOOM DOOM.

    Cause that is where I am at. Not impressive at all…I know.

    Thank you for extending a hand to help me up. I can now remember that fear is based in my hopes and dreams. No wonder I am so afraid – I’ve got a lot wrapped up in this.

    Extending grace to myself and breathing. Thank you again…..

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