Tag Archives: fear

Fear Can Hold You Back Or Be The Fuel To Move You Forward

All of us struggle with fear. It’s human nature. Fear has one big weapon against us: pain.

Think of the things you’re most fearful of and every one of them involves pain. Pain is inevitable in life.

It can be something that you dread ever having happen to you. It can be something you’ve already experienced that you never want to have happen again.

It can be caused by insecurities that you have about yourself, your abilities, your weaknesses, or what you don’t know.

Pain creates imprints in our minds and hearts that cause us to want to avoid anything that looks or feels like discomfort in any way.

Pain doesn’t have to be a hindrance to the life you want. Get help, direction, and be free from the fear of pain with a free strategy session here.

Fear is a big subject that I talk a lot about. It’s the theme of this episode of The Appetizer Radio Show, illustrated through a variety of subjects covered by alt-rock and punk bands like Blink 182, Dry The River, P.O.D., Face to Face and more.

For most of us, pain is caused from bad experiences where someone hurt you, didn’t accept you (rejection and/or abandonment), you lost something or someone, or a result you wanted to happen that went in the opposite direction.

Most pain isn’t physical, but sometimes physical pain leads to fear too.

Often our worst fears are in our minds

We dwell on what could happen, on how something could go that will be a repeat of a negative past experience. So what do we do with fear?

Often, we run from it.

This was my story for most of my life. I’m a small-framed dude (as you can see in the video above). I’ve been on the short and skinny side of body-types since the beginning of my existence.

Subsequently, I was picked on, bullied, and treated as less than for a lot of my adolescence. This led to a ton of insecurities and fears about how others saw me.

But mostly, it had everything to do with how I saw myself. I saw myself as someone who would be overlooked, undervalued, taken advantage of, and put down.

So I ran from people a lot. I could make friends fairly easily. But deep down inside I was afraid that my friends would wake up one day and see the short skinny kid I saw in the mirror and not want to hang around me anymore. Fear was the result of my negative self-perception.

Can you relate to that fear?

When fear became something I could no longer run from

Being a small framed dude, I was also perpetually afraid of getting beaten up. Mostly by strangers or people I didn’t know.

This culminated into an experience I had standing on a street corner one day where I was crossing to go see a friend. I needed to walk across the street, and down the block to go see him.

But at the intersection where I was walking, I looked to the other side of the road and saw this thuggish, rough-looking dude.

And admittedly, I judged his character in that moment as someone who was going to jump me, beat me up, and take whatever money I had on me.

I had no viable reason to suspect the guy other than his choice of clothing and the look on his face. But in my fear, I determined that he had ill-intentions and would cause me physical harm.

So what did I do? I decided to make a 90-degree turn and cross a different street, going 4.5 blocks around to get to where I wanted to go. I justified this choice by telling myself I needed the exercise, which is a bullshit thing to do to justify giving in to fear.

While I walked the extra few blocks, this still inner voice spoke to me. It said, “How much longer are you going to live this way? You’re a grown-ass man. Do you want to live like this for the rest of your life?”

I was 27 years old and was building what would become a prominent career in radio and music. Yet I was afraid to cross the street because of some stranger I didn’t know. What the hell was up with that?

The decision that led to breakthrough and forever changed my life

I decided that enough was enough. I was tired of running. I was tired of letting fear control my actions and attitudes about myself and others. I had to do something to change it.

So I made a few phone calls when I got back home and decided to join a boxing gym. I figured, what better way to get over my fear of getting beaten up by putting myself in a place where that would likely happen? But in the process I hoped to learn how to defend myself.

In the end I gained so much more than knowledge and experience in fighting. I gained confidence, perspective, and some core principles that have carried with me into my personal and professional life in ways that have led to exponential success.

Be solid to win in life & climb out of the pit of fear

One of those core principles is the art of being solid. Solid as a person. Solid as a friend. Solid as a member of communities that help others.

When people see me they think I ooze confidence. Maybe. But confidence has come by facing the things that I’m most afraid of and not backing down from them.

Fear wants to keep you out of the game of life. But it’s up to you to climb out. And in doing that climb, you regain your heart, mind, and confidence.

In that boxing gym I climbed out of my pit.

It was a hard climb. There were tough days. There were days where I dreaded going.

Especially when I knew I was going to be sparring. Sparring is when you put all the principles, techniques, and exercises into use against a real opponent. One that hits you back. One that is also trying to get out in one piece.

Will you face your fear or continue to run from it?

Few things in life are easy. Facing fears is certainly not one of them. But it’s what has to be done in order to be free.

Freedom is the gift of doing what you want without hindrance or opposition. For many of us, fear is the biggest opposition we will face to having real freedom.

What will you do to overcome your fear?

On a practical standpoint, it may be starting a practice of retraining your mind to accept yourself instead of reject yourself. The practice of mantras and affirmations are helpful here (see below for more help).

Rocky comes back against Clubber Lang in Rocky III

It may be doing the work of putting yourself in situations where you face what you dread, be that getting in front of people in a business situation where your skills and talents could be questioned.

It may be asking that lady or man out of a date, when you’ve previously thought they were out of your league.

It may be volunteering to do a presentation where you have to speak publicly, when you’ve told yourself too often that no one wants to listen to you.

Or it could be that you put on some gloves and step into a ring where you get to test to see what you’re really made of.

In any case, running from what you fear will move you backwards because you’re not operating out of your greatness. You’re operating out of your doubts about who you are and what you can do.

Facing your fears will bring you clarity and confidence

When you run away from something, you can’t see what it is that was worth hiding from. But, when you face your fears you’re able to articulate the truth much better.

Often, you realize that what you were afraid of isn’t as bad as you thought it was. Which leads to confidence and a growth in character.

Clarity comes when we see things for what they really are. When we choose to have courage in the face of obstacles, we see the intricacies and details that were once hidden from us.

Which leads to growth. And change. And a different result in the end.

Decide who you want to be and become that person

What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be someone who runs, who quits when things get challenging, and who gives up on yourself? Or do you want to be a champion in life, full of confidence and strength?

A person who is solid, uncommon, and whole is one who doesn’t let the past dictate the future, who doesn’t listen to the voice of fear but instead digs deep inside to overcome any challenge that stands in the way.

This is the person I’m dedicated to become. And I’m dedicated to helping you get to your greatness too.

Have fears have been an obstacle for you, keeping you from achieving peace, confidence, and success? We can change that and empower you to overcome any obstacle that’s keeping your from the peace, clarity, direction and success you want. Set up your free 15 minute strategy session with me now!


In my new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell And Come Out Whole (due out in late 2018), I share more insights into how boxing changing my life, how to heal from loss and pain, and how to become a person who can overcome any obstacle instead of letting challenges get the better of you.

Sign up now to get early access to this book, plus tons of bonuses before it’s released.

Grow More Love By Letting Go

We all want to have happy, healthy relationships in our lives. But too often we try to make those relationships work through controlling the steps and actions of others. Because issues that create pain cause us to lose what we hold so close. Yet it’s interesting how letting go creates more of what we want than holding tightly does.

In every type of relationship there is the desire to be in control of the outcome. If you do X-Y-Z, someone will treat you better. Or at least they should. So we tell ourselves.

We all want to be in control most of the time. But with relationships, control is holding on to someone with closed hands, trying to determine their responses or behavior. But you can’t control anyone else and have them truly give you what you want.

Letting go is the way to healthy relationships

Control causes manipulation. Which breeds bitterness. Which creates loss and division. Which ends up in an ending you don’t want.

People who try to control others hold them tightly with their hearts and minds, using words to steer certain responses. It’s problematic.

There’s no freedom in a relationship like this, be it friendship, family, or romantic. Subsequently, it’s much harder to give and receive love when you’re being restricted, held on too tightly by someone else.

Love is what we all want more of

Love can be defined in many ways. For simplicity’s sake, we can define love as the joining of peace, joy, freedom, happiness, kindness, appreciation, acceptance, harmony, and affection.

Wayne Dyer defines it this way: “Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

Ultimately, love is the art of letting go and letting God (aka the Universe, Almighty Love, the Most High, the Higher Power or however you care to define Deity).

This past episode of The Appetizer Radio Show is built around this philosophy, describing the art of letting go for a full, healthy and whole life with others. I incorporated music that illustrated this point.

Also in the radio show was pieces of a doctrine that my good friend, mentor and pastor shared with us recently. He gathered this wisdom from one of his friends. I want to share it with you here to practice the art of letting go, one piece at a time:

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off.

It’s the realization that I don’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, because I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective.

It is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,

but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,

but to take each day as it comes and to cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,

but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,

but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and to love more.

To be fully alive and fully whole, you have to let go. It’s a process, a practice, and something you get better at with time and repetition. What are you holding too tightly to? Is there someone in your life that you wished treated you better or differently that you’re holding on to? Is there pain in your past that you haven’t released yet because of fear or anger?

Let go. It’s where healing comes from. It’s also the gateway to love and peace in every area of your life.

To have true success, you have to let go of what’s broken. If letting go is a challenge for you, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do about it: Set up a time for us to talk today on letting go of fears, negativity, and past hurts that are holding you back. Many of my coaching clients have been learning how to let go of the past and move powerfully into a successful future. You can too. Book your free strategy session with me here.

 


How To Reshape Our Understanding Of True Strength

What does “true strength” mean to you?

Original Superman Art by Joe Mad

Original Superman Art by Joe Mad

I used to think of most things in the context of the comic book characters whose posters and movies which would adorn my walls. I sometimes still think of athletes who can do incredible feats with their bodies. I think of inner courage, heart, and perseverance, especially in the face of near impossible odds.

I think of Bo Jackson. Self-explanatory there.

Yet when I want to look for an example that we can learn from, I spend my time searching the internet for the things I listed and come up short. Isn’t it odd, the things that I want to associate with being true strength I only half-heartedly support, instead relying on some physical example to fulfill the need to “see it” in action?

Are Superman’s limitless powers true strength? Of course, flying into the sun takes some balls. In his case, it also maxes his pedigree and bench press by doing so. Moving mountains and trains and other giant objects that weigh more than what can be defined numerically counts as strength too. It’s also impossible strength.

Moving to athletics. Bo Jackson highlight videos are illustrations of strength. As are JJ Watt and any defensive end who can push over a 300 lbs man. Finesse is also in there, and combining those two elements makes for some magical video viewing.

Rocky's true strength is physical and internal in Rocky 3

Rocky’s true strength is physical and internal in Rocky 3

True strength is harder to characterize than only in a physical embodiment. Perhaps that’s one of the draws to Rocky Balboa, despite the fact that he had a considerable physical ability. That inner voice that won’t allow you to quit, no matter what, is something that only the truly strong have.

Speaking of Rocky, it takes strength to face our fears, especially when that fear stands 6’2″, weighs 230 lbs, has a mohawk and delivers pain. Strength isn’t just a physical attribute, it’s internal too. Rocky showed me how to face and overcome fears in powerful ways.

What about Mother Teressa or Ghandi? Those two people stood up against oppressive regimes, fighting for the ignored and abandoned, and didn’t use violence as their weapons, even in the midst of violence. That takes real strength, strength that no physical attribute can grant you.
I’ve been reading the autobiography of Muhummad Ali. It shows the man’s inner strength was the real force to be reckoned with.

The most endearing attribute of Ali has more to do with how he stood up for his beliefs in the wake of the draft and the war in Vietnam than any of his championship belts. How he stood in the face of hatred from his own countrymen and women because he didn’t want to shed the blood of another man, how he was ostracized and called anti-American because he didn’t want war is incredible to conceive. Withstanding that kind of rhetoric and public sentiment while not lashing out against anyone took more strength than anything else he did in or out of the ring. And yet it’s not something we would associate with him as strength until we’re confronted with it ourselves.

In this space of growth farming, where cultivating seeds of connections with new people is the method of achieving success, it takes a different kind of strength to win. It takes inner determination, love, grace, empathy and compassion. It takes us going first, initiating the connections and doing things differently than what has come before us.

It takes us finding that we’re made of more than just what we think. Inside you and I are what looks like the muscle-bound warriors whose physical appearance gives us inspiration. Yet that need for leadership, courage, risk-taking, vulnerability, and perseverance are the true measures of strength that draws our tribe in.

It’s actually these qualities that make us grow, because that’s the change that we all want to see in the world. Your heart makes you strong. What you put into it is what fruits will come out from it, and what will draw others to you.

 

Why Culture Determines Your Growth & Success

 

The entrance to Bonnaroo

The entrance to Bonnaroo, escaping a place of fear and into a place of love & acceptance

There are so many areas in our world that we blame our culture on. The perpetual violence in the US, especially in places where children or minorities are the victims, leads to division among our own people. When we look deeper into the causes of these problems, a destructive culture is at the root.

How can culture be such a powerful influence on the behavior or people? That’s the question I am searching for answers to right now, especially after returning from a trip where a culture of love and unity had created an amazing culture.

What does “culture” mean

I live in a small town in West Texas. The predominant culture is older and white. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as the world has become more diverse with different ethnic groups, beliefs, races, and cultures inter-mingling together, we’re starting to taste the beauty of multi-culturalism in ways we haven’t before. There are positives and negatives that come out of this, but I am going to focus on what we can take away from the growth of culture in our every day lives, as well as how we have the responsibility of determining our own culture for growth and success.

Culture is simply this: the collection of arts and expressions of human intellectual achievement and growth.

Culture determines growth because that’s a part of what it is. A=A in simple math terms.

Bonnaroo Main Stage

Bonnaroo Main Stage

As you know, I recently treked halfway across the country to attend Bonnaroo 2016. We had a little caravan of friends go together, and we all had a lot of fun. There were some standout bands who performed including Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Brett Dennen, and Band of Horses. I also was turned on to the music of Bob Moses, Chvrches, Chris Stapleton, and Dresden  (among others). The music was simply amazing.

However, it wasn’t the music that impacted me the most. It was something else: the predominant culture of love and acceptance to EVERYONE, regardless of race, age, belief, creed, heritage, or ideology.

When you have over 65,000 people converging on one location, you’re going to experience diversity. There’s inevitable (remember A=A). As soon as we entered into the farm (Bonnaroo sits on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN), the overall feeling of being safe as ourselves, being accepted for who we are, and love for each fellow person was the established rule of order.

Our Team & New Friends

Our Team & New Friends

The best thing about this culture was that we all knew it going in based solely on what we saw and felt around us. There were no “10 Rules Of Attending Bonnaroo” when we entered in. There wasn’t a form we had to sign that said we agreed to be kind, loving, and supportive of each other before being admitted in. And there wasn’t a punishment of being banished if anyone didn’t adhere to this loving culture. It was the opposite of what our modern society is and does, where rules try to dictate the behaviors of people.

Am I saying that rules and laws are not good and are a problem? NOT AT ALL.

DressedForDay1What I am saying is that it was the cultivation, seeding, nourishing, and continual harvesting of a loving culture that makes this 4 day music festival continue to grow. Any musician who has tried to get on stage at a festival like this runs up against some pretty big-named bands. There’s a reason for that.

Anyone who has tried to start a music festival and build up momentum to keep it going the following year has experienced the difficulties of building something new. The Bonnaroo guys did too 15 years ago.  A farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee isn’t a beacon light for most people. However, give people great music (arts) and a supportive atmosphere of love (culture) and you can build a winner year after year.

What culture are you building

The tragedies of the Orlando shooting took place on the Saturday (day 3) of Bonnaroo, and we all had a lot of serious conversations with fellow Roo-vians that day and the days that followed. It made us confront ourselves, and look closer at this societal disparity in our modern culture where we turn ideologies into things that divide us to the point of death. Terrorism is all about creating more division by killing off people who cause them no harm, yet whose beliefs contradict their own. It’s bullshit. And it’s cowardly. That’s the terrorist culture.

Is the response to terrorism more violence to send a message? I don’t know. Hopefully our political leaders are discernible enough to find a path that works. My response to these acts of violence in our local and national areas is to operate from a culture that is loving and accepting. AND THAT IS FREAKING HARD TO DO IN THE FACE OF HATE AND VIOLENCE.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy. But we’re uncommon people creating remarkable actions. It’s who we are. A=A. I believe that loving culture creates positive change, where people can be more whole and more themselves. Is this a utopian ideal? Hell if I know. I’ve seen and experienced part of this. What if we carried the heart of Bonnaroo with us in our personal lives, our social interactions, and the communities we’re a part of with our art and business? How would that change our society for the better?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, and the question I’m asking you. Are you the difference that you want to see in the world? Ghandi was. In the face of direct violence, hatred, and a negative culture he became the change he wanted to experience. And he changed his world. More on that in this video:

How To Have Success In Business & LIfe- BE The Change You Want from DGrantSmith on Vimeo.

 

The Art Of Asking Is Community Building Manifesto

theartofasking_imageI’ve known the name Amanda Palmer for several years. I’ve known some of the music of Amanda Palmer for about the same amount of time. But after viewing her Ted Talk from 2013, I had to read her book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Helpbecause her talk spoke to my soul in a way very few people have.

Subsequently, I did something I very rarely do. I bought a brand new book from the book store and paid cover price. You can call me cheap, and you’re right. I buy a lot of books (hard copy and paperback, not digital/Kindle) and my preferred sources are Half-Price Books and Goodwill. Amazon on occasion will do for hard to find stuff. It’s important that you know this little facet about me because I don’t buy new books hardly ever. I made an exception in this case and it was one of the best decisions made this year.

The Art Of Asking is billed as a memoir, and it is. But it’s so much more. Palmer is not your typical artist, both musically or visually. And her openness and honesty with her struggles, self-image, and relationship building pave a subliminal pathway to understanding how asking really works. I’ve struggled my entire life with asking for anything, especially for help and for money. Yes, the two things we as humans, as creatives, and as builders need more than anything are these two things and I have spent decades trying to do so much on my own out of fear of asking.

Asking is a fear shared by you and I and (really) everyone else

It turns out that I’m not alone in having this fear. There’s a strong chance you fear or are at least hesitant in asking for something, though it might not be what I am hesitant in asking for.  I can say it’s because of how I was raised or grew up or something or other, but at the end of the day, I’m the common denominator for why I don’t have what I want and why I couldn’t ask for it. And I have to take responsibility for that.

The Art Of Asking was like a blueprint for me in shedding off the old skin that told me that asking for help, or asking for money, or asking for anything was a sign of weakness or failure, that it would annoy and bother people, that I would be perceived as a taker and not a giver, and that the answer would always be NO. Having written and now looking at that last sentence I see how frail my thinking and ideals had been for so long, which is why I’m so thankful for this book.

It turns out that Amanda struggled with asking too, though her reasons were different, and despite being able to ask her fans for nearly everything from promoting a gig to having a place to sleep after a show (couch surfing as she calls it) , there were somethings she struggled with for a long time before she could ask for it. It took nearly losing someone very close to her for that fear to break.

How to build community the Amanda Palmer way

The headline for this article states that The Art Of Asking is a community building manifesto and it certainly is that. From the perspective of audience growth, there are only a few other artists who have done anything close to building the kind of high powered, passionate, loyal and worldwide audience that Amanda Palmer has. She details what her fan growth process was and it mostly involves being WITH people, giving her fans access to her outside of the music stage, having personal and deep conversations with people who are strangers at first and then become something more.

This is how communities are built. Communication, openness and trust are the pillars of what build the communities we are a part of, be those artistic, business, or the locations we live in. Closing ourselves off from people and only giving them a portion of ourselves, or only showing them our gifts but not our faults limits the power of the community and the people who build it. This is not to say that there aren’t methods of safeguarding yourself against people who don’t have your best interests at heart. Amanda does give a few good examples of where openness went too far, and how she dealt with it. But being afraid of everyone in your community being a potential fiend is not how you treat the people who are building with you.

The Art Of Asking could have also been titled The Art Of Vulnerability or The Art Of Loving Completely. There are some very profound and powerful quotes that are still moving around in my brain, like seedlings just starting to grow roots that will sprout into amazing new things. I want to share some of those quotes with you here in the hopes that it will have a similar effect on you at the very least, and even more, lead you to read this book.

“It isn’t what you say to people, it’s more important what you do with them. It’s less important what you do with them that the way you’re with them.”

“If you love them they will give you everything.”

“It’s about finding your people, your listeners, your readers, and making art for and with them. Not for the masses, not for the critics, but for your ever-widening circles of friends. It doesn’t mean you’re protected from criticism. But if your art touches a single heart, strikes a single nerve, you’ll see people quietly heading your way and knocking on your door. Let them in. Them them to bring their friends up. If possible, provide wine.”

Amanda does talk a lot about naysayers, and breaking free from the ideals or criticism of people who consider asking to be the same as “shameless self-promotion.” This is especially hard for artists (or for anyone) who aren’t naturally social. This is what leads many artists to try and find a promoter or label to do the asking for them. At times that’s a good fit, but too often it’s not because the art of connection is the art of communication, and even people who think they lack a social strength still need to engage directly with people in some capacity.

Overcoming the fear of asking for help

All artists and creators face a similar fear: the fear of rejection or the fear of criticism. That’s honestly what kept me plugging away in near isolation building my work for many years. Thankfully I’ve been blessed to have some incredible friends, colleagues, and family who are givers despite my unwillingness to ask. Chances are you have connections with people like this too. What is keeping you from asking? Let me know, I’d love to hear your story and build community with you.

If you want more inspiration, enjoy her Ted Talk that would eventually lead to the writing of her memoir.

*Yes there are affiliate links to Amazon.com in this post for you to buy Amanda’s book should you be so moved by my experience with it and want to have a similar experience yourself. I appreciate you reading and choosing to buy through this page. You can click on this image here to see more details on buying the book on Amazon (which is cheaper than any other bookseller, and free shipping if you’re a Prime member).