Use The “F Word” More Frequently

 The word is FEAR


As a society, we’ve let our fears pile up inside of our brains and multiply like a germ in a petri dish.  The more we let the fear live inside our heads, the more momentum it builds.  Momentum can be extremely beneficial or devastatingly punishing.  The less we challenge our fears, the stronger they become.  Fear is the antithesis of a muscle.  The less you challenge it, the stronger it gets every single day.

I NEVER want to post as a hypocrite, so I’m going to tell you a list of the recent fears I’ve tackled.  Each of these fears caused noticeable challenge and changes needing to be made to my life.  With each fear, I’ll provide some background.  I want you to know everyone has fears.  Not everyone will put them out in the open.

  1. Stomach Disease – A few years back, I was diagnosed with a stomach disease (Ulcerative Colitis) and it was extremely challenging for a while knowing when nature would call (i.e. I went to the bathroom a lot!).  To say this changed my life would be an understatement.  This caused me to be worried any time I went anywhere for more than 20-30 minutes.  Well I obviously traveled frequently for work, so this was NOT an easy task.  The bigger worry was the potential embarrassment I may encounter should the worst possible scenario happen while traveling with co-workers.  I was terrified about this frequently and until I finally told others of my situation, I felt like I was hiding potential doom every day.
  2. Cancer & Tobacco – My addictive personality and chewing tobacco made for a beautiful relationship (totally joking, but true).  I thought when I went in to get my stomach issues looked at I was going to be told I had cancer.  I mean after all, I’d earned it with the frequency of tobacco placed between my lip and gum.  Thankfully, this was not the case and all the reason to stop the habit immediately.  FEAR in this case won for the positive.  What wasn’t easy was kicking the habit.  Eventually I got there with the help of my wife and great friends, but I was literally afraid to quit at the start.  Sounds stupid (I know), but true.
  3. Parenthood – My wife and I planned to start a family soon after we got married.  This was a little over five years ago.  After a few years of it not happening, we thought it may never happen.  This fear wore on us.  It beat us down every time someone asked, “Why don’t you guys have kids?”  We didn’t have the heart to tell them we’d been trying, yet we did have the anger building up to stare right through them.  I truly believe it started to get better when we told others of our challenge and found many others like us struggling with the same issue.  For those that know us, we’re now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy named Landon.  I think we turned the corner when our fears and anxiety met the light of day and openness of conversation with cherished friends.
  4. Complacency – This may seem extremely odd compared to the previous (and definitely more serious) elements of fear listed above, but it is real.  I’m terrified I don’t do enough.  I don’t take enough calculated risks and go bigger, faster, harder than I’m currently doing.  I fear someone else is putting in more effort and could be getting a step ahead of where I stand today.  For some reason, I believe this is the fear of growing older and not looking back with regret.  I can’t stand the feeling or thought of regret.

Why do I tell you all of this?

Because fears have a much tougher time living in your head and gaining momentum when they’re introduced to oxygen and the world.  I don’t know this to be 100% true, but tell me the number of times you’ve heard of someone, only one person, in the ENTIRE WORLD facing a challenge?  It doesn’t happen too often!

This is the exact reason we have to get our fears out.  Share them.  Write them down.  Talk about them with those you trust.  Fears do not stand a chance when they are introduced to: oxygen, friendship, and action.  The reason is pretty ridiculous and simple.  Fears grow with stagnation.  You have to do what author Jon Acuff suggests when he says, “Punch fear in the face!”

Fears are CRUSHED when challenged.

ACTION ITEM: I want to you put one of your fears out in the open.  If you’re comfortable with it, I’d really love to see a list of fears fill the comments section of this post.  The tribe will be there to support you.  I promise.  Get comfortable in attack mode.

When Money Isn’t An Excuse, Then What?

The answer to this question is different for every individual and every scenario.  Here’s mine.

I had the idea of starting this blog for about six months.  Here is a snapshot of my ideas.  I’ve probably got notes in three to four different notebooks around the house of different blog post ideas and perspectives.

What took so long?  What was I afraid of?

I’ll tell you exactly what was going through my head:

  • I was afraid of what someone might say.
  • What if someone challenged the thoughts I believed in my heart and soul?
  • What if no one read it?
  • Could I stick to it and continue to publish?
  • Would my friends be honest with me and offer candid feedback?

At the exact same time in my life, I happened to be listening to an audiobook last summer aptly titled, “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters”.  Read it or listen to it.  Here is a link and image to Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters

Jon begins the book with a story (No! I’m not going to give it all away) about a flight he was  on from Dallas to Baltimore.  A wise Grandma leaned in after reading Jon’s book and said to him, “What do you do when all the excuses you use to not chase your dream are gone, what do you do then?”

Kick in the nuts!

A change in thinking occurred.  What if I wasn’t asking the right questions?  What if I wasn’t afraid of everything that wouldn’t happen and instead was afraid of everything that COULD happen?  Please read this statement again.

  • What happens when thousands of people read the content?
  • What happens when people use this blog to make better decisions?
  • What happens when readers of this blog communicate without me being the conduit?
  • What happens when the response and feedback is AWESOME?
  • What happens when the content changes someone’s life?

After listening to Jon’s book a few more times, I came to the realization that many of us are more afraid of how great something could be and the work that will come with it, instead of the fear of starting.  I understand this may sound crazy, but the reality is I had absolutely no excuse and nothing to lose choosing to START this blog.

Truth be told, I spent a couple hundred dollars on the hosting, the URL (for a few years), and a couple other odds and ends.  These investments are monetary.  The investment of my time and learning (as I’d never built a blog before) was the real investment.

ACTION ITEM: I really recommend reading Jon’s book.  I also recommend sitting down by yourself with a pen and a blank pad of paper.  Answer this question: What is keeping you from your AWESOME?