Ridding Your Mind of Fear

In the past several months, we’ve all experienced traumatic upheaval in healthcare, society, culture, politics, the economy… This isn’t the first time in history something like this has happened. And people face their own personal crises – large and small – all the time.

But we can’t let fear rule our lives in a time of change and turmoil.

How we react to change – not the change itself – is what creates the outcome. What we must do is refocus and make a plan to move forward.

It might seem easier said than done, but there are ways to face fear head on, lessen its impact, and move past it. Tune in for details on the mindset you must adopt to overcome fear, as well as… 

  • Why other people are key to overcoming fear
  • A 30-minute writing exercise that can help you solve any problem
  • The best way to deal with negativity
  • The 3 Cs of turning fear into opportunity
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:


Steve Gordon: Welcome to a joint episode of the Unstoppable CEO Podcast and the Advisor Inner Circle Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. I’m here with my co-host on the Advisor Inner Circle Podcast, John H. Curry. John, good to see you. Welcome.

John Curry: Good to see you, Steve. Glad to be with you.

Steve: All right, folks, we’re doing this as a little bit of an experiment. We’re doing video for the first time on one of these joint episodes. And so if you’re listening to this and you want to actually see our faces, then you can go to YouTube,

John: Why would they want to do that?

Steve: Well, I was just thinking, John, you know, so today our topic is fear. And if they go to YouTube and watch the video that might actually induce some fears so it might be counterproductive for what we’re trying to do here. But

John: Well, the two of us do have a face for radio.

Fear: We All Have It

Steve: That’s right. That’s right. So first today, we’re going to talk about the topic of fear. And, you know, we’re recording this mid-summer in 2020 at a time when, I mean, the world just seems to be gripped in fear, John, at all kinds of levels. I mean, you know, normally we’re speaking with business owners, but I think every part of society is feeling it right now. And so I think a good time to have the conversation. What are you seeing?

John: Well, literally every day that I’m seeing clients, I’m hearing people talk about the fears. They’re talking about I’m worried about the stock market. Is it going to come back? Is it going to crash? I’m worried about how low interest rates are. I’m worried about my job. I’m worried about getting sick. I’m fearful. It seems like we have become afraid of everything. And I like to ask this question. Five times yesterday, I had five interviews. Three face to face, two over the phone. What are you afraid of? What can you do about it? Why don’t we do this?

Why don’t we identify the real fears you have and then have a game plan for attacking the things that are real? And the things that aren’t real, why don’t we just flush them down the toilet and quit thinking about them and quit talking about them and quit listening to other people talk about it on the TV? And they’re like, it sounds too simple. Yeah, I agree. It is simple. Question is, will you act?

Steve: Yeah. And I think that’s the key. I mean back, in 2007, 8, 9, during that time when the economy kind of went off the rails, it was a fairly difficult time economically for me. And as you know, you know, fear played a big part in that. And I’ll never forget I read a book by Napoleon Hill, which had been published around that time, published long after he died, called Outwitting the Devil.

And the book, Hill wrote the book as an interview, where he’s interviewing Satan, as if Satan was a person who was sitting in a comfortable leather chair in the room with Hill. And Hill’s interviewing, you know, the way that this thing is written, it’s written as if Hill’s interviewing him and asking, Well, what are all of the ways that you go around the world tripping people up and causing mayhem and all of this? And in one part of the book, you know, Satan starts ticking off all of the ways that he messes with people.

And he said, Well, you know, my number one tool is just to sow fear. And, you know, if I can do that, then I can pretty much control a population. You know, really rung very true for me then because I was in a place where I was personally, you know, fearful of my financial future. And, you know, and why that I think is relevant right now, is that I went to work on ridding the fear from my mind. And it made all the difference in the world. And most of it wasn’t real. And I know you have an acronym for fear. I want to talk about that a little bit. Will you walk us through your fear acronym?

False Evidence Appearing Real

John: I will and I can’t take credit for it but I also don’t remember when I first learned this, but the F stands for faults. I’ll just go through it, false evidence appearing real. Some people say false education appearing real but I like evidence because I’d like to think in a world of like, a courtroom setting. Where’s your evidence? So false evidence appearing real. And that’s what most people think about fear have been taught, or if they’ve given any thought at all.

Steve: I like the way that that kind of breaks things down, you know, because it makes you then ask some questions. You know, so when we’re presented with something that creates the feeling of fear, if you use that acronym, well, the first thing you have to ask is is this true or not?

John: Correct. False. Is it false or is it true?

Steve: Right. Well, which leads you to the next piece, E, evidence. Is there evidence that it’s true? And is there evidence that it’s not true? Is there evidence supporting the fact that it’s false? I’ll tell you these days, it’s pretty hard to find any evidence. But if you look hard enough and piece it together from enough sources, you can find some evidence. It just requires some work. You know, I think it forces you to ask those questions, which is one of the reasons I like it.

And I think that’s really useful right now. I think one of the things that we’re all struck with, John, is that we’re presented with over the last four or five months, just dramatic changes in all areas of life. Health, society, business. You know, we’re all faced with these dramatic changes and I think anytime you have rapid change, human beings naturally become fearful about what’s coming next because we don’t know and we and we know enough to know we can’t control it.

John: Absolutely. Last night, the Sunrise Rotary Club of which I’m a member, we had a past president’s meeting. We do this every year where we only have dinner in the past presidents are giving words of wisdom, little nuggets of wisdom to the incoming president. And we’re talking to a person last night, 19 of us could make it last night, but we were telling the new incoming president, you have got a tiger by the tail because you can’t physically meet. We’re doing it by Zoom. So we’ve already lost a lot of attendance.

I haven’t met all of them myself. So yeah, it upsets everything. But I’m gonna go back to something you said earlier. I was with you when you were going through some of these tough times. I remember some of the conversations we had and the things that you were so focused on was how do I get myself out of this syndrome of being fearful and seek some positive energy and ideas?

You even had me question your answers a few times since then. And that was fun doing that because we both learned from it. But in a few minutes, I want to talk about a different way of using the same word fear to overcome fear. So little teaser, we’ll come back to that a few minutes. But how do you take the same word fear and apply different words to it and work through the fears, especially if they’re real fears?

Steve: It seems as though everything that happens in the world these days is an existential threat. You know, meaning that it is going to erase our existence, okay? And, you know, when we step back rationally and calmly look at it, the truth is, there’s very, there are very few things that really represent that, okay? Even this virus that’s going around isn’t gonna kill everybody on the planet. So it’s not an existential threat. Certainly gonna kill some people. But so is driving a car to the store.

And I mean, there are a lot of things that create death, I’m not minimizing the impact of the virus at all. But I think, you know, there are things that have had much bigger impact on the health and well being of human beings on the planet over the course of history than what this has presented so far. It doesn’t minimize it at all but I think, you know, you’ve got to be able to step back and go, Okay, what’s the real and realistic risk here and sort of begin to evaluate whether it’s from the virus or anything else?

And that’s one of the things that I went through in 08/ 09. And one of the things that you said sent to me back then I think was really helpful. I’ve repeated this a lot. That one point I was just like, just down in the dumps. I was depressed. I was, and I was really fearful. And you said to me, and I’ll never forget this, you said, What? What are you worried about? Let’s think about this for a minute. Like, what’s the worst that can happen? They can’t eat you.

John: I was gonna say I remember that. I knew where you’re going as soon as you said that.

Most Likely, Nothing is Going to Eat You

Steve: Yeah. And you listed all the things that they could do and then you got to the they can’t come and eat you. And when you stop and think about it, most of the things that we’re all looking at as threats that are creating fear right now. You know, and our brain naturally goes there. It’s designed to protect us, but it can go haywire.

When it goes haywire, it can allow you to be controlled by people outside of you that don’t have your best interests at heart. It can allow you to be controlled by the worst part of yourself. That’s actually to me, the more dangerous thing is that, you know, inside of us, you know, there is, within every human being there’s the potential for great evil, right? That’s how we get all of the great human to human calamities that we all know throughout the century, right? It’s otherwise reasonable human beings, you know, are generally driven by fear.

And because of the fear and their desire to survive, they will do unspeakable things to other people in, you know, in the false belief that it’s going to lead them through to survival. And maybe we’re going down a rabbit hole, maybe that’s getting too deep, maybe we’re off the rails with that, but I actually think it’s important to understand what really drives this stuff because what I found going through that difficult time, you know, almost eight years ago now, was that the fear that I was feeling was really.

It was so, it got to be so deeply rooted in my psyche and it was so kind of visceral that it’s not a trivial thing to try and overcome it, you know? And you have to be very conscious about where it’s taking you. And it will take you to a very difficult and dark place if you’re not careful. And so when you, you know, when you told me that, I look back at that particular statement as a bit of a turning point in my thinking because I was struggling with this.

And you kind of, when you told me that, it gave me sort of a fixed point to focus on. Like, no matter how bad it gets, it’s not going to go below that level. And the truth of the matter is, because you gave me that fixed point to focus on and I want to talk about focus in a minute, because you gave me that fixed point to focus on like, it can’t get any worse than this, it also gave me some bedrock to stand on. So instead of free-falling in fear, I was now standing at a place where it couldn’t go any lower than that.

And now I could start now evaluating Okay, well, if I can’t go any lower than that, what about here? And then I go well, you know, it probably won’t get any worse than that, so what about here? Okay, probably won’t get any worse than that. And I started climbing up mentally out of that. And little by little, I started getting out of fear and actually gaining confidence that there was a path forward in the future. And I think, you know, what fear is, is really meant to do to you, particularly when it is impacting so many people over so many parts of your life, it’s meant to take away all of your hope.

John: And some people use fear intentionally like you were talking about the book Outwitting the Devil, I think that’s one of the best books Hill wrote. It definitely applies today. But the, there are some people who will use fear, that will use scare tactics to control us. It’s a fact. Do a little bit of homework on, study it and you’ll see that politicians use it, corporate America uses it, ads use it on TV all the time, you know?

So the thing that I would look at is this. I like to ask myself this question. I do it every time I’m about to make a big decision. I remember the first time we bought a house. I’m like, okay, big payment based on income I was making the time. I always like to ask this question, what is the worst possible thing that could happen?

So if you and I were making a business decision I’d say, okay, what’s the worst thing that can happen to us? Well, we lose all of our money. Okay. What else? Well, we lose all of our money and they put a lien against us so if we ever get any more money, they can get that. What else? And we just keep going, what else?

What else? What else? We list at all. And you look at the list and go what the hell is the likelihood of all that happening? Slim to none. Okay, then let’s do it. What’s the likelihood of it happening? Well, half of it could happen. Let’s cross off the things that are not likely. Everything that’s likely to happen, let’s now have a game plan for it. And if we feel comfortable with that, then move forward. If not, we won’t do it. Walk away. Have the courage to walk away. But I’ll tell you something that popped in my head earlier that I had not thought about in years.

When you were talking about the bedrock, okay? You fall to a certain level. I thought about when I was doing kickboxing in Thailand. I was getting my ass thoroughly kicked one night. Five-round match and I, we were in the third round. This guy is whipping me thoroughly, thoroughly, and I knew it. And I had this panic. I got this fear panic and I’m like, Okay, this guy’s gonna kill me. And he was beating me up. And I was retreating, retreating, retreating and finally, I had enough of it. And when I got my back against the ropes in the corner I said, Okay, it is time to come out of this damn corner.

And when I came out, I came out and I knocked him out, okay? But we all are going to experience, we all have experience, okay? Even as little kids, we experienced something that’s fearful and then at some point we go I’ve had enough. I remember in high school, it was a guy that was a bully. He beat up on us all time. One day had enough of it and I went looking for him and I knew I’d get in trouble. I went looking for him and I put a whipping on him, and no more bully. And then word got around like, John Curry, he’s not a little milk toast after all. What’s going on here?

And then a different attitude. So you reach a point, we all have a breaking point. I’m the kind of person, you know me, the kindest guy on the planet. Back me in a corner, you got something to deal with. I’ll walk away, I’ll run away, I’ll crawl away. But once I commit, I’m coming hard. And that’s what popped in my head when you were talking about that. We all, you’ll reach a point of where you say, Enough. And you’ll either give up or you’ll fight through it and get through it. And that’s the step that when we get around talking about the solution and how to deal with fear, that’s the key. That’s the key.

Steve: And I think, you know, right now with what we’re dealing with, you mentioned that there are people out there that are trying to use fear to control. And I think that’s undoubtedly the case. For those who are sitting there trying to figure out our politics, I don’t think it’s limited to one particular political side or the other. As I observe them, I think they’re both trying to exert control for their own gain. And I don’t think that’s new or unique either. I think that’s probably just sort of the way history has gone, you know?

So it doesn’t necessarily alarm me. But I do think you need to be aware of it. And one of the things that I’ve observed is that there are an awful lot of people who are feeding off of that right now. And it’s driving them, literally, it’s driving them insane. And it’s sad to watch. And, you know, I’ve seen family relationships break down over it, and I’ve seen, you know, friendships break down over it. And I think it has less to do with the particular politics than it does with the fear, you know?

And so what often happens with fear is that, you know, when it’s used to control, the idea is that we’re going to take a bunch of people and make them afraid of another group of people. And then we’re going to pull them over in this area, you know? We’re going to sort of corral them here where they can be controlled to our advantage. Okay, and you see that over large swaths of human history across the globe. This is not an American phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, and it is not new.

And I think one of the things I want folks who watch this to kind of take away is the way that you get yourself out of that is to disconnect a little bit and to create space between you. Going back to this idea of your acronym that you shared with us, false evidence appearing real. When you can disconnect from all of that, first of all, your life’s going to be better. I’ll tell you, I went, so is all this stuff, you know, the pandemic happened and I kind of became a news junkie for a little while.

John: Yes, you did.

Steve: You know, and to the point that it was starting to really affect my thinking and I was becoming a little bit depressed. And so I stopped completely watching all of it. And even some podcasts that are a little more current affairs, you know, related, I stopped listening to and I actually replaced it, John, with I started listening to audiobooks more. So I filled up that time with audiobooks.

And there are a couple of newspapers that I feel aren’t playing that game, at least to the extent that the others are and I read those just to keep a lid on what’s, you know, what’s happening. But I went cold turkey on all of that, and it took about a week and a half and I felt dramatically better. My outlook on the world was better. You know, that here where we live, the development we live in as a conservation development so we’ve got about 500 acres of conservation land and about seven miles of nature trails.

And so I’d take these long, you know, my wife and I would go on these long four-mile walks through the trails. And I started noticing something. You know, there’s all this fear going around in the world, all the humans are whipped into a frenzy right now, right across the planet, it seems. I started looking, John, and you know what? The trees don’t care. You know what the trees are doing? They’re growing.

John: They’re absorbing the sun and the water.

Steve: Life for a tree is exactly the way it was right now as it was six months ago, a year ago, a decade ago, okay? We have these cool little animals here where we live. They’re not very common anymore called Fox squirrels, Sherman Fox squirrels, and they’re like giant squirrels. They’re about, you know, twice as big as a regular squirrel. They don’t care that Coronavirus is happening.

They don’t care that politically, you know, we’re all at each other’s throats. They’re not afraid of anything other than maybe the giant screech owl that likes to sit in the top of the trees and, you know, come, you know, find a little fox squirrel dinner sometimes. So, you know, it occurred to me that all of this stuff in the natural world is going on, just as it ever did. And, you know, here we are so focused on all of these things that are very temporal.

You know, like, we’re at each other’s throats politically, well that’ll probably largely quiet down by November 4, you know? Maybe a couple of weeks after that, but, you know, it’ll go away. The virus will sooner or later pass. There will be some people that die. Yes, absolutely. And that’s tragic. It’s terrible. You know, but we were never promised any security in life.

When you’re born, the only thing that you’re promised is that you’re going to die. You just don’t know when or how. This has just but another way. And it’s terrible that it’s here. But, you know, I’ve had friends that have died tragically of cancer and too young. You know, and I’ve had friends die I mean, at a young age, I had two friends die in an automobile accident senior year of high school. It was devastating. There are all kinds of things that will get you. This is just one of them. And should we be concerned about it?

Absolutely. You know, but I think we need to look at and recalibrate what the risk is. And so let’s talk a little bit about your approach to turning fear around because I think that’ll help everybody and particularly for business owners, I think, you know, the, you got to find a way forward right now. There is no other choice because as business owners, we wake up every day, you know, with the gun to our head, you know, saying okay, well what have you done for me lately? You got to make some sales. You got to move things forward. You got to create some value for somebody.

Focus, Evidence, Attitude, Results

John: I agree with you. So let’s put it in perspective this way. This is a joint podcast for two audiences, Unstoppable CEO and also for the Advisors. So think in terms of this. Whatever it is, a challenge, fear, so let’s use the word fear again, but change the words. So now F stands for focus, E stands for evidence, again, A is attitude, R his results. So focus, evidence, attitude and results. So now let’s rethink this. So I’ve got this fearful thing. And this is what you do. You got to focus and what I did by asking you the question, or making the statement Hey, they can’t eat you.

And we laughed about it. And then we talked about it. So first of all, we got to get our focus back. Because what you said earlier is so true, Steve. The reason that we have the fear is because we started listening or watching something else. We took our eye off of the ball. We took our eyes off of our goal or the result we’re looking for. So if we can get refocused, usually that’s enough. I just, oh, I see what’s happened. I’ve been spending too much time watching television, I just need to go read a good book or listen to a good book or take a walk.

So for me, when we’re done with this today, I have one more call I’ve got to take care of and then I’m going out to my 36 acres, hop on my tractor, cut some grass on the 16 acres, got a lot of grass, and get out my pole saw, trim some limbs, just physical manual labor out there. And that’s how I can get away from all this stuff. I got no cable out there. Half the time I can’t even get a text through to me. And you know what? I ain’t changing it. I do want to, I’ve got a little my file box over there in my briefcase, I’ll just use it.

And it’s nice not to be disturbed. So then next is evidence. Let’s talk about some of the evidence this way. Instead of being false evidence, okay, maybe it’s real. Where is the evidence that this is a real problem? What is it? Well, I just lost a whole bunch of money because I made an investment and the guys stole my money. Well, okay, I lost money. There’s evidence I lost it. So what’s my attitude about it? Is it woe is me. I’ve lost my money. I am a failure. I’m no good. How stupid was after doing that? That’s attitude. But maybe you take the attitude of, well, you know what that was, that’s what it cost me to learn.

That was the price of admission for this particular educational event. That’s the way I look at it. I just had something happened to cost me $2900. Excuse me, $1900. looked at I could have gotten real angry, could have gotten angry at the person that was involved. What good would that do? It all worked out to where it ended up being only cost me $500, but the point is, that was a price for a learning opportunity. And that’s the attitude it took.

Now, I wish I could say I’ve always been that way. But no, there’s even some things that I’ll get frustrated about and angry about. And then I’ll work on my attitude and say, it’s not worth it. Calm down. Go take a walk. Get upset, and then you’ve seen it. You’ve seen it for many years now. I’ll get angry, fuss and cuss, walk away, come back, solve the problems just like that. Like that. And then the R is results. What are the results I really want? What are the results that are acceptable to me?

Maybe I can’t get exactly what I want. If I can’t get exactly what I want, what am I willing to settle for? Then I can make a better decision. Anything below that line is not acceptable, okay? Unless I’m willing to change my standard. So focus, identify the evidence, talk it through. You and I do that a lot. So find somebody you can team up with, that will tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it makes you mad. And then attitude, working on the attitude, listening to the book that you’re listening to changes the attitude.

So instead of being fearful or angry because of what the talking heads say about the economy and the politicians, and then focus on the results. and I’m gonna make one more comment from the standpoint of the media and the politicians. I am to the point where I don’t really give a damn what people think about that. I will not, I will listen a little bit and I’m gonna say excuse me, are we here to talk about politics? Are we here to talk about your personal economy?

Well, the economy sucks. Are we talking about the international economy? Worldwide economy? The US economy? The state of Florida’s economy? Are we talking about the Gordon family economy? Because the only one that matters right now is your economy. So it’s your choice. What do you wanna talk about? And if you’re paying me for my time, we’ll talk about anything you want to. If you’re not paying me for my time, I got news for you. I’m going to control what we talk about. It might mean I get up and leave. Again, attitude. But that’s my take on it this

Steve: I thought you were going somewhere else with that. And I think this is actually very useful for everyone. So what John actually will say, although I know you say that as well, but what he’ll actually say if you try and bring up politics in a situation where it might not be appropriate is he’ll say, Oh, you want to talk about politics? Well, I was taught that you shouldn’t talk about politics, religion or sex. But if we’re going to talk, if you want to talk about politics, I really want to talk about sex. What do you say?

John: I did that yesterday. Because the people who came out all they wanted to talk about was how bad Trump is. And I don’t talk about that. I don’t care. I don’t care. And they wouldn’t back off. So wait a minute. I don’t, we should not be talking about politics, religion or sex in a business meeting. But since you’re talking about politics, I want to talk about sex. How’s your sex life? What, what? Eh, you heard me. How’s your sex life? And then they started laughing and got him back on track. And then I’m very, now, a lot of people can’t do that, because they don’t have a personality. I do, so I do.

Steve: I love it. I love it. Well, you know, I tell you, some of that is just the problem that’s getting the focus off of the stuff that we can’t control. And, you know, for the entrepreneurs that are listening, the truth of the matter is, while there are a lot of things in the external environment that may impact you, we’ve had clients who were in industries that got completely shut down and there’s nothing they could do about that. It was out of their control.

But for the vast majority of us, the things that are going to make us successful despite what is happening in the world right now and despite what has happened in the past. I mean, even in 08, 09 when I went through that, what I soon discovered was that even though the economy had tanked, that there was still opportunity.

And the things that I needed to do to create positive results were largely in my control. It was much more about my activity and my attitude. So you mentioned attitude. One of the, I think the big dangers right now is retreating away and that was one of the things that I was very much tempted to do at that time. You know, and so, having connection with other people and just talking about, Hey, I’m, you know, I do have these fears, but here’s what I’m doing.

John: Steve, I want you to talk about what you refer to as the three C’s, since you just used a, you said the word connection. I want you to take a few minutes and talk with us about that because I think that is a powerful concept and it helped you deal with anything that’s causing any type of stress in your world.

Clarity, Courage, Connection

Steve: Yeah, so I like, I always ask myself, okay, when I’m feeling fear and I feel it all the time, I don’t want anybody to think that because we’re sitting here having this conversation, somehow we’re immune to it. That isn’t the case at all. I don’t think any human is immune to it. The question is, how are you going to respond to it?

You know, if you go back to the word responsible, your response-able and I believe that I am response-able, not helpless. And, you know, I’ve got the power to respond and can control my response. And if I can’t control anything else, that I can control. And so, the first thing that I do is try and get clarity. So that’s the first of what I call the three C’s. And I ask, okay, well, what can I do? What’s within my power to act on?

And I try and get clarity around that. And then the second is courage. You know, one of the things that we’re doing right now on the business front, you know, I’ve gotten clarity around a new market opportunity. Well, now I have to go and act with courage because I don’t have any proven model in that market. I have a pretty good hunch about what’s going to work. And I have my experience, you know, and all of my expertise and all of that. But, you know, going back to your word evidence, I don’t have any direct evidence that what I want to try, what I got clear on is going to be, you know, the operable solution.

So I have to have courage and act without having confidence yet. I have to go and act despite the fact that I don’t have confidence that what I’m going to do is going to absolutely work. So clarity, courage, and then the third is connection. And that’s one of the things that I think that particular brand of fear that’s being used right now is really targeted at dissolving the connections. So, John, every opportunity I’ve ever received in my life has come from a connection with another person.

And I believe that we were all created to be in connection with one another, in relationship with one another. You know, we’re not meant to be alone, to be isolated and all of that. And I discovered this in, you know, in that really dark time that, you know, I talked about before, that the natural thing to do when you’re feeling fear is to pull back, yeah, and particularly if it’s related to business because you may feel like you’re a failure.

You know, you may feel that, you know, you’ve got all of these problems and they tend to turn your thinking inward, which tends to turn you away from other people. And there may be some embarrassment there. And that’s actually really counterproductive because the people that are around you that you’ve already built relationship with that already care about you, they may not be able to solve the problem for you but at a very minimum, they can stand by and support you.

John: So let me piggyback on that. You could have connection with the wrong people though. So let’s talk about that for a second.

Steve: Oh very much so. Yeah, and you need to analyze that.

John: So you may be around someone who’s constantly negative, trying to make you feel shame, embarrassment, whatever, guilt. I had a conversation with a gentleman this morning. He called me at 8:30 and he needed some help. So I was helping him because I did a little coaching to help him occasionally. And I said, the first thing you got to do, you got to stop talking about this, sit down with a clean sheet of paper.

And I literally went through this. The fear, focus, evidence, attitude and result. So I walked him through it. He said, It can’t be that simple. I said well, it is. Take 10 minutes, do it, call me back. I said, I’ve got another commitment. I got to be on a podcast. earlier when you and I first started this morning. And he called me back. He says, you won’t believe this. He said I’ve solved the problem. So tell me. And he literally went through it. He said, Well, first of all, I got focused.

There was no evidence. It was what I was, I blew out of proportion. It was my attitude. And once I got my attitude, right, I was back on. But his issue was he was connecting with some people that were trying to make him feel guilty and embarrassing him. And I said, why? Why are you allowing that to happen? He goes, I don’t know. So go do this exercise and you’ll figure it out. So sometimes the connection, we’re connected to people that are not good for us in that moment.

Doesn’t mean we have to end the relationship. It means we simply pull away. Had a situation with a family member two weeks ago, I just, I had to very politely say, Excuse me, this is not working right now. I’m going to leave. When things are better, we’ll reconnect and talk. And two days later, we sat down, had a cup of coffee, resolved it. But if I had stayed there and argued, where would that go? All I’m going to do is create anger and resentment. And again, I wish to hell I’ve learned that when I was much younger.

Steve: A lot of directions you could go with that. The thing that came to mind for me is, you know, the idea of turn the other cheek. And I think that’s the last about taking punishment than it is not returning venom, you know? And because, and I think there’s some wisdom in that and you’re seeing it now.

You create this sort of positive feedback loop where when someone comes at you with negativity or anger, and you return that it just inflames them and they bring more of it back to you. And it accelerates the whole thing. And so yeah, you can have relationships where that, you know, they can just spiral out of control and really mess things up for you. But I want to touch on something, John, because, to me, the secret in all of this, and to get out of the fear, and what I want folks to take away with.

So we’ve given you a couple of acronyms here. We’ve given you three. So the first around fear is, is false education appearing real, which is what real fear is. And then an antidote to that again, the acronym fear, focus, evidence, attitude and results. And then the three C’s clarity, courage and connection. And so we’ve given you some tools, some ways to think about this. But the thing that I want everybody to walk away with is that the single most valuable thing you can do is give yourself the space to think. So you’ve got a couple of frameworks.

I’m a big believer in having some simple frameworks to think things through because it gives your brain boxes to put things in and it allows you to sort of organize your thinking. And if you’ll give yourself the space and just a little bit of time, maybe it’s only 30 minutes, to sit down with a piece of paper and think on paper. And I think that’s a, for me, that was a really transformational thing. When I started getting the discipline, yeah, you’ve got it there, holding it up on the video.

When I started being able to sit down anytime I had a real problem and sit down with a notebook or a piece of paper or whatever, and think on the paper and get the problem out of my head where I could see it with my eyes and almost begin to deal with it as if it’s an external thing. It actually becomes so much easier. And I see people struggle and struggle and struggle with things and they resist writing it down like oh, it couldn’t be that easy. But actually, it is, you know? When you can write that down and look at them, look at it on the paper outside of yourself rather than try and sort it out in your head, everything becomes much easier, I think.

John: I totally agree with you, Steve. And I go back to goal setting. One of the things I do with clients is ask them to take a sheet of paper and I’ll give them my work pad. What I like to do is just take a sheet of paper, hand them a pen. Let’s talk about what you want. Write it down, write it down. And if you write it down, you’re much more likely to accomplish it. You know, that’s been proven study after study.

But so many people in business, so many advisors that I know, they say, Well, I know what I want, but haven’t taken time to really write it down. You and I both carry journals around with us. They’re arm’s length away. I’m writing constantly refining what I want, you know? Sometimes I’ll draw extra and say, don’t want that anymore. But if you don’t write it down, the likelihood of it happening is very slim. That’s my opinion. I think that’s been proven over and over for people who are smarter than I.

Steve: Yep, absolutely. Well, John, let’s bring this to a close and it just occurred to me that we ought to equip everybody with a tool. As you know, I like to take concepts and boil them down into worksheets. It’s one of the things that I learned from the Strategic Coach and Dan Sullivan there’s some magic about having a little box for your brain to focus on a piece of paper. It gives your brain a boundary and it also gives it a space to think.

And, so, John, we’re gonna, I’m gonna have my team take these three acronyms, and we’re going to create a thinking tool out of it. And what we’ll do is we’ll put it up on our website where you can download it. If you go to unstoppableceo.net/fear, FEAR, we’ll put it there. And we’ll get it up and online and you’ll be able to download it as a PDF. And my recommendation will be print it out and fill it in. Don’t do it online.

You won’t get the benefit. But we’ll put both of the fear acronyms, we’ll put the three C’s on there and we’ll give you some space to think through these things so that as you’re feeling the fear, you can, you’ll have a tool to work your way through it and out of it. And so I hope that’s beneficial to everybody. But, John, I think that’s the logical thing we need to do to put a bow on this.

John: I agree totally. And I’m glad we had the discussion because all of us are dealing with things you can, some people are going to say, Well, I’m not going to admit I have fear. But we all have fear. A fear of crossing the road of getting hit by a car, whatever. So just own it and say, Look, I do have some fears. Some of them are legitimate fears, some of them are false evidence. Some of them are not real fears.

It’s something I have conjured up in my mind. They’re real. And the ones that are real, we should address. The ones that are not real, find a way just to get rid of them. I’m glad you’re doing the tool. The tool will help tremendously. I do that like the word my focus session, I have to take a word and I’ll find a way to make it work as a tool. But anyway, my friend, thank you for taking the time to do this with us today. I enjoyed it.

Steve: Yeah, this has been great. Folks, if this has been helpful, let us know. You can send an email to me directly at steve@unstoppableceo.net. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please leave us a comment below if this has helped you. And go get that tool. Go to unstoppableceo.net/fear and download that PDF tool. And please share it with anybody that you think would benefit from hearing this message today. Thanks, everybody.

There are many ways to build your authority in business, but the very best way is by authoring a book.

If you've had "write a book" on your bucket list for too long, why not join the next "Write Your Million Dollar Book"
Free 5-Day Accelerator
for entrepreneurs?