Never Fail Again: 13 Ways to Turn Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brillance

Written by Scott October 5, 2011

Conquer Fear

“Ninety percent of life is just showing up.”

~ Woody Allen

About a year ago I sat down for tea with a friend and mentor of mine, Mary Jaksch, co-founder of A-List Blogging Bootcamps and Good Life Zen.

I was ecstatic.

Thanks to what I had learned (and diligently applied) from her and Leo Baubauta via their friendship and their blogging club, my business had grown by nearly 1,300% in the previous nine months.

I had arranged time to meet with Mary because I wanted to talk about what was next – my big plans for the year to come. This is something I routinely practice with all my models in any space that I’m passionate about improving. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I prefer to seek out the folks that can teach me how to roll the one that already works perfectly well.

As we were chatting ideas and next steps, we got to talking about pitfalls and things to watch out for in the business. I wanted to make sure I didn’t run into any easily-avoidable brick walls…

Then Mary looked over to me and said, “Scott, there is one thing over all others that’s the biggest risk to your online career at your stage. Do you know what it is?”

I was all ears…

“Quitting”, she said with a half smile, half I-mean-business sort of look. 

“I’ve helped develop dozens of really sharp bloggers and entrepreneurs over the past couple years. Folks who had real talent. They could write like rock stars, they could connect, they could think big, they had so much potential. But for one reason or another they decided to stop.”

Here I was hanging on every word as one of my gurus explained to me that the biggest risk that threatened my online success was something I was in complete control of.

How freakin’ awesome is that?

Your biggest risk of failure is giving up.

Do you realize what that means? It means you’re in control. It means you get to decide whether you experience victory or not. It means dreams are miles more attainable than you think. It means that doing work we LOVE can be reality if we want it badly enough.

There are a million and one things that we can’t control. People, random occurrences, circumstances, stock market crashes, the list goes on.

But none of them hold a candle anywhere near the effect your decision to stay in the game has on your success.

The crazy thing is most of us already know this.

So why do so many people still give up on their dreams?

Simply put, it’s f*#/ing scary going after what matters. There’s doubt. There’s people who tell you you can’t do it. People who tell you you’re stupid. People who even try to get you to think you’re stupid. Then you might even start to believe it.

It can be brutal. In fact it always is. In the hundreds of Living Legends I’ve interviewed, hung out with, worked out with and built things with, there is not a single story of their success that did not come out of massive fear, doubt and downright nasty prospects for victory. That life.

The going is going to be tough. The world-changers decide to do it anyway.

I recently read something from Howard Marks that surely resonates with any entrepreneur. It went something like this [paraphrased]:

If you can stay in the game long enough, your odds of success go up dramatically, as many of your competitors will eventually give up or find ways to defeat themselves.

You can’t afford to be your worst enemy.

Another friend, model and huge mentor of mine, Jonathan Fields, just published his latest book, Uncertainty, which dissects this very topic. He deeply interviewed dozens upon dozens of tremendously successful people (in the true sense of the word) to understand what allows some people to charge into fear, doubt and uncertainty head on, and what causes so many others to simply give up. Or worse yet, never try in the first place.

His findings are profound and more than worth the read. The science and psychology behind his work is mind-blowing. He’s also put together some sweet free resources and tests on the book’s website.

Fear is an emotion.

It’s something that can appear in an instant without even knowing where it came from. But it can also disappear just as fast – we just need to know how to handle it.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

13 Ways to Turn Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brillance – How to Never Fail Again

  1. Take everything as a lesson. No matter what happens, it always better prepares you for what’s next. With this mindset, ultimate failure is impossible.
  2. Find people who have successfully done it before. Find your models and mentors. You’re likely not alone in your quest. Befriend them. Understand what they went through and how to approach the fears that are going to come up. No fear is worse than that of the unknown. Find out what’s coming.
  3. Find people who have failed. These guys are much harder to find but even more important to understand. Like Charlie Munger says, “I want to know where I’m going to die so I don’t go there.”
  4. Purposely go out and experience failure. Instead of avoiding it, seek it out. Get turned down. Start hearing “no”. Go experience what you’re so scared of. I bet it’s not that bad.
  5. Set real expectations. Everything, and I mean everything, takes longer than expected. Take that to heart so it doesn’t hit you too hard when the next delay comes up.
  6. Become an absolute expert. Study up. Learn everything you can about your space. Under-preparation is a leading cause of failure. It’s also completely in your control.
  7. Understand what you truly stand to gain from your success. If your reasons for accomplishing something are compelling enough, nothing can stop you. Find the right reasons.
  8. Realize what you have to lose if you don’t go after what you care about. What will it mean for your health, your family, your excitement or the impact you won’t have on the world? Fear of missing out can be the biggest motivator of all.
  9. Understand your worst case scenario. It’s never as bad as you think. Often it’s a lot closer to your current scenario than most people realize. Let your worst case empower you.
  10. Collaborate. Don’t work on things all alone. Doubt is too nearby to fend off by yourself. Bring on a partner or teammate. It’s so much easier to build with someone else.
  11. Create a support team. A group outside your immediate project. I have a mastermind group for Live Your Legend and another for my investment business, Cumbre Capital. These people have similar businesses & similar goals, they support me, they give me ideas, they keep me accountable, they make lows not quite as deep and highs even higher.
  12. Learn to see opportunity. Many of us are hardwired to see what makes a situation brutal. Train yourself to see the positive. With everything that happens to you (good or bad), make a habit of listing all the opportunities it creates. They are always there, I promise. If you end up in your worst case scenario above, what good will come of that?

 13. Don’t Quit. Two words. That’s it.

Embrace Uncertainty

Uncertainty Creates Dreams

It’s been just over a year since I sat down for tea with Mary. I took her words to heart. Not just at Live Your Legend, but in every part of life – from fitness to friends and even to my marriage. Everything.

Since my meeting with Mary, Live Your Legend has grown by nearly another 1,000%.

It would take more than both hands and both feet to count the number of times I felt like slamming the computer and moving on. Either because things were taking longer than expected, others were going faster, or I just plain screwed things up. Since I decided early on that quitting wasn’t an option, I kept going. And I keep going.

Uncertainty has become a sign that what I’m doing actually matters. 

Uncertainty can lead to fear, anxiety, self-sabotage – even paralysis. Uncertainty can kill dreams. Sadly, it often does.

But, Uncertainty is also the single most consistent factor in those who experience those same dreams.

The dream-livers should not be the rare few.

You are in control of more than you think.

All you have to do is keep going.

*****

Use Uncertainty to Your Advantage

Jonathan Fields’ book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance, just hit the shelves last week. His work has been an inspiration since the moment I heard about him years ago. I’m grateful to say he’s since become a friend, mentor and overall awesome model of what it means to truly live your purpose & passion, and help the world as best you can. He defines the term Living Legend.

You can pick the book up in just about any bookstore, online or off. He poured his heart and soul into this project and his book website has some killer free content too.

Also, in honor of his book launch, he put together one of the most inspring 3-minute YouTube Videos I’ve seen in a long time. Check it out. It’s called “Have a little faith.

Life’s uncertain. Live it anyway.

—-

*p.s. I’m not getting paid a dime to promote this book. I just want to share it with you all–both because Jonathan and all you readers deserve it. Enjoy.

Image courtesy of Hiltch

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“It was 18 months ago when I came across Live Your Legend and it just completely blew my mind. I was living this life thinking I have to kind of just do this. Then it was like a kid on Christmas Day with my wife thinking ‘we don’t have to do this anymore.’ It was literally a life change. It opened so many doors. Thanks for everything you’re doing.”

- Simon P., Singapore