I’m huge on topics that relates to overcoming my insecurities, anxieties, shame and specially fear. As I researched how to overcome the latter, I was normally told that we can be fearless, defeat it and once and for all, live my life being 100% fear free. I was also told that fear is nothing but an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.
I now laugh at that, but I used to truthfully believe that if I worked hard enough, I could become fearless. Because well, it’s not real according to that widely publicized four letter acronym, right?
WRONG. Let me tell you something, if you’re at the beach and a great white shark shows up swimming towards you. Is that a false evidence appearing real?
Fear is Fear. Period. What’s real for you is real and no one can say otherwise, unless you say so. The idea of being fearless has been proven wrong over and over again, through meticulous research by scientists, the military and mere civilians like you and I.
Brandon Webb, a US NAVY Seal who was involved in the Osama bin Laden attack, taught a good old friend how to swim in a week. This same friend have had numerous prior failed attempts to learn from various swimming classes. The recipe?
- Make a decision
- Curate your environment
- Stretch your circle of competence
- Know that you’re never really safe
Yes, that’s it. Obviously this is a simplification and relative to each person and their fears. But really, those are the steps that will help you master your fears.
Brandon asks for a one week commitment from his friend to show up every morning, so he can teach him how to swim and essentially master the fear of water.
- His friend decided to commit to this one week plan (Make a decision)
- Sure he could’ve thrown him into the beach and asked him to start swimming, but that would just increase his trauma. Instead, they started at the shallower area of the pool (Curate your environment)
- He committed to the one-week plan and showed up every single day. They did that over and over to increase his familiarity and confidence with his surroundings (Rehearse)
- He slowly began moving from the shallow part of the pool to the deeper areas, incrementally. To a point where he cannonball water his way into the pool towards the end of the week! (Stretch your circle of competence)
- Could he have lived his entire life without learning how to swim and overcoming his fear of water? Sure. But really, what would he be saving himself from? People are dying every single day from various unexpected reasons, why not embrace the nature cycle of life? (You’re never really safe)
Is this also sounding very familiar to you?
I struggled with public speaking since I know myself as a human, but decided to change this once and for all. No matter how much effort and how long it would take me.
I finally found a community for educating and training people that was going through the same challenges I was. I joined the group as a guest a few times, became a member and went from the easier challenges to the harder ones. I continued showing up over and over, and slowly was able to be giving more speeches than I ever thought I would in life.
About a year ago I made a decision, curated my environment, rehearsed my speeches, joined meeting after meeting and although I know the world out there is a dangerous place, I don’t really think I will ever die on stage.
One of my favorite stages? Buddies Online Toastmasters Club. Where I get to speak and get immediate feedback from the most internationally diverse audience I’ve ever been part of; China, Japan, Belarus, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Curacao, Puerto Rico, USA, etc.. Buddies is helping me become the speaker that can connect with minds of any parts of the world, and for that I am very grateful.