Overcome Your Fears to Gain Confidence

Fear and confidence is a topic that seems to continue coming up as I speak with clients. It came up a number of times last week at our mastermind event in Arizona, so I talked about it more on my weekly mastermind video call. Since then, I’ve continued to have a number of people bring it up so I want to continue the conversation here.

“One of the best ways to overcome fear of any kind is to habituate yourself to it.”

Darren Hardy

What Darren Hardy’s suggesting is that you face your fear head-on and bombard yourself with it until you don’t fear it any longer. 

When the average person fears speaking in public more than death, how does the military take young teenage kids and create brave soldiers out of them? How do they take soldiers into SEAL training and make ultimate warriors out of them?

When bullets start flying, what is it that makes these men and women run towards the battle rather than run away?

During bootcamp or SEAL BUD/S training they are put through endless fear, pressure and stress at extreme levels until their fear turns into confidence.

Have you ever heard of Hell Week? 

In Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, he gives a glimpse of Hell Week:

It was night three into the infamous Hell Week of SEAL training. The students, in camouflage fatigues, were soaked to the bone and covered in gritty sand that chafed them until they were raw and bleeding They shivered from the cold ocean water and cool wind of the Southern California night. The students moved with the aches and pains as only those who have suffered through seventy-two hours straight of nearly nonstop physical exertion can. Exhausted, over the previous three days they had slept for less than one hour total. Since Hell Week had begun, dozens of them had quit. Others had become sick or injured and were pulled from training. When this class had started Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (known as BUD/S) – the SEAL basic training course – several weeks before, nearly two hundred determined young men had eagerly begun. All dreamed of becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL, prepared for years, and came to BUD/S with every intention of graduating. And yet within the first forty-eight hours of Hell Week, most of those young men had surrendered to the brutal challenge, rung the bell three times – the signal for DOR, or drop on request – and walked away from their dream of becoming a SEAL. They quit.

I’m told that about 80% of those who start BUD/S do not finish. But those who do know that they are the elite. They’ve been through hell and back and survived. There’s nothing they can’t handle.

If you can train your brain to run towards bullets and bombs in battle, think how easy it can be to train yourself to run towards the stage to speak, or to make a prospect call, or to approach a group of strangers that you want to introduce yourself to.

As I reflected on my own life and thought about fears that I’ve had that I was able to turn into confidence, I thought back to my senior year in high school. I seemed to have followed in my older brothers footsteps in a lot of things as I was growing up. When he was in Rexburg ID going to college he started to rodeo. He started as a bareback rider and then took up roping and later steer wrestling. Soon, I was into the rodeo scene as well and was traveling the high school rodeo circuit as a calf roper and team roper. But as I watched him in the steer wrestling (bulldogging), I knew that was something I wanted to do someday.

If you’re not familiar with steer wrestling, I’ll explain what it is. I’ve heard a number of rodeo announcers compare it to getting into the back up a truck, having someone drive it down the road at 30mph and then you jump out of the back onto a passing mailbox. Maybe it’s not quite the same, but it gives you an idea.

In steer wrestling you have a steer in a chute that you let out and give a head start. You also have another cowboy (called the hazer) on a horse that is on the right side of the steer and his job is just to make the steer run straight. The steer wrestler is on his horse on the left side of the steer. After giving the steer a head start the steer wrestler chases the steer down going as fast as the horse can run.  As the horse runs past the steer, the steer wrestler jumps off of the horse, grabbing the horns of the steer. He then digs his feet into the ground to slow the steer down and without getting into the techniques, he wrestles the steer to the ground. 

At least that is how it’s supposed to happen. I’ve seen steers outrun the cowboys. I’ve seen the cowboys miss and land on their butts at 30mph and all sorts of other wrecks. I’ve seen the cowboy hit the ground as his horse stumbled and then as the horse fell it landed on his head. Well, I didn’t actually see that but that’s what they told me happened once I regained consciousness. But really, the scary part is the fact that you are riding a horse which is running as fast as it can and you jump off of it onto the horns of a steer.

I remember calling my brother and telling him that I’d like him to teach me how to steer wrestle. He said he would love to and the next time they were doing it he would let me know and I could come and watch. 

“Well, it’s a little more complicated than that,” I told him. “I actually entered the steer wrestling in a rodeo next weekend. So I need you to teach me before Friday!”

Do the thing you fear over and over again, until you train your brain that it’s no longer something to be feared.

Darren Hardy

To make a long story short, the next day we were at the practice pen and I was ready to learn. As my brother was talking me through the process he told me something that I was well aware of. He told me that when you first start out, the actual process of jumping off of the horse onto the steer was the scariest part. But he also told me that from all the people he had watch learn to steer wrestle, those that took multiple attempts but never actually jumped struggled the most. Every time they tried but did not jump, it was twice as scary the next time. Some of them ended up riding past the steer multiple times and finally decided they were done and never tried it again.

But he had a solution for this, he told me. He said that if my nerves got to me and I rode by the first steer, it was ok. Nothing to worry about. But that meant that no matter what I had to jump off on my second attempt to prevent the fear from building up. He also told me that it wouldn’t be a problem because they had a way to make sure I jumped.

If I rode past the first steer without jumping, on my second attempt the hazer, riding on the opposite side, would have a rope which would be tied around my waste. If I made the jump, great! But if I didn’t make the jump and was going to ride by, he would pull me off the horse. 

With my heart pounding out of my chest and enough adrenaline to stop a freight train, I started chasing down my first steer. As scary as it was, there was no way my brother was going to put a rope around my waste and pull me off of my horse. I jumped my very first steer, plus a number of others that night. 

It wasn’t after that one night that I began to feel confident in the process. But the more I did it, the more confident I became. But the fear part never disappeared 100%, but it changed to excitement and energy. Even once I was steer wrestling at the professional level, there were many times I had my heart pounding out of my chest. But every time I jumped, the fear became less and less and my confidence grew.

Oh, and by the way, I won second place at that first rodeo!

My confidence comes from my vision… I am a big believer that if you have a clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris)

So, if you have a fear of speaking, what should you do? Speak! Wherever you can. Find opportunities to speak and in spite of your fears, do it. If you have fears of calling prospects. Call them. Whatever your fears are, face them and do them so much that you become confident doing them.

Even when everything is going terrible, andI have no reason to be confident, I just decide to be

Derek Sivers (Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris)

I know that you can have fears that are much different than the fear of speaking or the fear of jumping off of a horse at full speed. The fear of hurting your family financially if you fail would be an example. But that is when finding a coach, a mentor or a mastermind comes in useful. Through these resources you can strategize, plan, role-play, etc. until you know how to proceed with a much lower level of risk and a higher level of confidence.

Overcome the fears that are holding you back from achieving your dreams!

Leave a comment below about something that you once feared but overcame it with action and it’s no longer a fear.

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Book Quote of the Week 148

“…the false thinking that any amount of reading, watching videos, browsing social media, or going through courses will get me out of my situation… the ONLY way out is for me to take action like crazy!”

Dana Derricks

What Does It Take To Succeed When You’re In A Slump?

I love this time of the year. NBA Playoff Games are on almost nightly. It’s so interesting to watch how different teams, players and coaches try to use their strategies to win each game. We were watching the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets. James Harden gets the ball in the corner, outside the three-point line. Then one of the strangest things happened. Instead of staying between his man and the basket, his defender literally got behind him, to his side. He was almost out of bounds on both the sideline and the baseline. My wife looked at me and asked what he was doing. In all my years of coaching basketball I’ve never tried that defense before, I didn’t know what he was doing. But soon, as the Utah Jazz continued to defend Hardin this way we (and the announcers) started to figure it out. One of James Harden’s most effective moves is the step-back three point shot. He’s deadly! Utah’s strategy was to give Harden the lane to the basket and they would count of the help defense when he did that. But they were not going to allow him to have his step-back three point shot. It really was pretty crazy to watch. Utah ended up losing the series but really, their defensive strategy agains Harden was quite effective, and interesting to say the least.  

The series we’ve been watching now has been the Golden State Warriors against the Houston Rockets. I’m a Warriors fan, my wife is a “Whoever is Playing Against the Warriors” fan. So we have fun watching it together. The Warriors have so much talent on their team. The one who stood out to me in the last game (Game 5) was Klay Thompson. He really hasn’t been playing well so far this series. But in this game it took him less than eight minutes to surpass his total scoring from the Game 4. “Klay Thompson is out of his slump!” were the words of the announcers. When I heard this from the announcer it made me think of a lesson I had learned from Tony Robbins which is applicable to sports, business or pretty much anything in life.

What Does It Take To Succeed (from Tony Robbins)

Tony explains that there is a pattern between (1) Potential, (2) Action, (3) Results, and (4) Belief/Certainty. They are all connected as in the diagram below and they create a never ending flow.

As Tony explains how all these are related it makes a lot of sense. But that’s not what I’m going to focus on right now. What I’m going to focus on is what we have to do to get out of a slump. As we go through this pattern, most people don’t reach their full potential because they don’t take massive action. Thus their results are not as good as they could be. Those results then form their belief or certainty, which are lower than what their true potential really is. 

Fortunately it works the other way too. As individuals take massive action and produce incredible results their belief and certainty in themselves goes through the roof. Their potential is expanded, followed by more massive actions, more big results, more certainty, etc.

So what do you notice about Klay Thompson, one of the premier shooters in the NBA, when he gets in a shooting slump? He stops shooting? He only looks to pass the ball? That’s what a lot of people would do. But that’s not what the most successful people do. Whether it’s in sports, business or something else, they keep shooting!

When you’re not getting the results you want, you start to doubt yourself, you become uncertain. That’s the beginning of your downward spiral. 

To get out of your “slump” you need belief or certainty. But if you’re in a slump, how do you get certainty? You get certainty and change the direction of the downward spiral by getting the results in advance. That is why, when you see an NBA playing in a shooting slump, they don’t stop shooting. They are playing at an elite level. They have been shooting thousands and thousands of shots for years and years. They’ve practiced every possible scenario they could face and they’ve made those shots in practice. When they are missing their shots, they keep shooting because they are certain they can make the next one, they’ve done it millions of times before. And when things start falling for them again, watch out!

It works the same with everything in life. As you put more time and effort into doing things you become more certain in yourself and in turn you see an improvement in your results. So the next time you are in a “slump” keep going. Build your certainty by visualizing all the success you’ve had in the past. Visualize yourself doing it. Your mind does not know the difference between something you vividly imagine emotionally and and something you actually experience if you do it enough times. Believe in yourself, create certainty!