Tag Archives: insecurities

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.

Creative PR Tools For Growth With Angela Mastrogiacomo

Angela Mastrogiacomo

The latest episode of the DIY Artist Route Podcast is here! And it features none other than my good friend Angela Mastrogiacomo.

Aside from being one of the most inspiring and kick-ass people I know, Angela excels at the real heart of PR and marketing work: relationship building.

That’s why I had to have her on the podcast to share her insights with you.

As a music curator and media host, there are a lot of marketing and PR people who contact me every day, usually for the same reasons.

They have an artist or band they want to promote. Maybe there’s a new single their artist just released and they want media feature on my radio show. They want a review or feature of some kind.

The Common Problem With Music Promotion

This are some of the traditional ways that music promoters, publicists, and PR companies operate. Tragically though, many marketing and PR endeavors fail.

Whether it’s a company that charges and arm & a leg for their work or it’s a do-it-from-scratch solo artist reaching out to media for feature, the key element in this puzzle is…….you guessed it, relationship building.

Which has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. When subjects as important as relationship building become buzzwords, it’s easy to lose the meaning of the concept. Which is another big subject we dive into in this podcast.

One big thing that trips creative entrepreneurs like you and I up is our own negative mindsets. Wait, what does that have to do with marketing, or with relationship building? Everything my friend!

Like Ryan Holiday Says “The Ego Is The Enemy”

Our ego can be our worst enemy. Ryan Holiday’s seminal book (of the same title) gives a lot of insight into this issue that all of us deal with. For some artists, the ego says that who they can’t connect with a music influencer with their story or music.

So they try to parrot the work that other bigger artists do to promote themselves. It’s not genuine, therefore it doesn’t connect in the best ways that a sincere approach to relationship does.

Other artists struggle with a more arrogant form of ego, one that tells them they should be treated like royalty. So talk yourself up like you’re a god, and have the media eating out of your hand. And if they don’t respond to you this way, screw ’em!

That’s the ego talking.

When you work on marketing yourself, building genuine one-to-one relationships takes you further than anything. It’s what’s made Angela so successful with her work on Muddy Paw PR and Infectious Magazine. She’s written tons of articles for Sonicbids and other music-centered publications, all covering the subjects of marketing, PR, and relationship building.

How To Let Go Of The Ego With Help From Angela Mastrogiacomo

We all deal with ego. Ego affects our mindsets, creates fears and insecurities, and if not dealt with can cause struggles that aren’t overcome. One weapon against the work of the ego is vulnerability. Sounds strange right? How can vulnerability be the antidote to ego? Angela and I discuss this at length in the podcast.

I’m being fairly overt here. Listen to the podcast. Download it. Share it. Then connect with both of us and share your story with us.

Here are some ways to connect with Angela. She wants to hear from you so reach out to her and tell her you heard her on the DIY Artist Route.

Muddy Paw PR

Infectious Magazine

Facebook

Twitter

She gave her email at the end of the podcast, but in case you missed it you can contact her via angela@muddypawpr.com

Fears and mindsets are struggles for everyone. Honestly, dealing with personal fears and negative mindsets has been a very big part of my year in 2017, which is why you haven’t seen me post as many blogs or pieces.

I’ve learned a lot in this process, and understand more how to face deep fears, and what it takes to overcome them to win in business and in life. If this is a struggle for you, you’re not alone.

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

How Having Your Back Leads You Forward

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I'm in my 30s now)

My high school graduation pic. People thought I was 16 until about 4 years ago (I’m in my 30s now)

Let me shoot you straight-when it comes to height and weight I’m a little dude. I might be taller than Bruno Mars or Prince (who is apparently 5’2″) but body size and weight are actually big deals to guys as much as girls.

This can lead to confidence issues in those beloved teenage years where all of your friends, who are also going through changes in their height, weight, and other body factors, are always the most encouraging people on earth. Wait, our peers are always the most encouraging people, right?

Of course I’m being facetious there. In high school I was a little over 5 feet tall and maybe weighed 100 lbs. That is a scrawny little dude. But that was me. And some other physical attributes helped me to be the brunt of a lot of jokes and a bit of bullying in school. I hated it, as most kids do. I also didn’t know really what to do about it, so I used sarcasm as a means of deflecting pointed remarks. And I hid/avoided the 2 people I knew would give me the most hell.

What made the difference for me in that era of time wasn’t a self-help book or taking a kung-fu class. Though I really did want to take kung-fu. Bruce Lee was only 5’4″ in his day and he kicked everyone’s ass. That gave me some hope. But it wasn’t the path for me. Instead, I found some love in an unexpected place that changed everything.

As you know, I’m a radio guy and have been since the late 1990s. How and where I got my start plays a role in this story of overcoming bullying because often our work or ambition experiences play larger roles in the things that we are and who we become. While in 10th grade I was given the opportunity to work on-air at a community college radio station about 30 miles from my hometown.

The station (89.7 KACC) was in Alvin, Tx. I lived in Sugar Land. One or two times a week I would drive down to Alvin and do my radio shift. It was a ton of fun and some of the best work experience I could have ever had. That experience on-air and doing radio stuff is what opened the door for me to start my freshman year of college working on-air in Abilene (ironically on 89.7 KACU).

The professional ground isn’t the focus of my story this time, but that gives context to where I’m going. There were two main guys who took me under their wing at KACC, Eddie and Shannon. Two room-mates who made me one of their buddies. I got to hang out with them off the air, camp out on weekends and essentially be a college guy 2 years before I should have.

In school I spent a lot of time feeling intimidated and picked on, though there was only one or two people who went to great lengths to do that to me and to others. Those instances of bullying, being picked on, belittled, and chastised still had terrible consequences on my self-esteem. Being embarrassed and bullied by someone who is physically bigger and stronger doesn’t do much to make you want to show up in class. There’s a reason why most TV shows and movies that involve high school portray bullies as jocks and athletes. The aggression they have has to be channeled, but realistically they feel as fearful as anyone else. Yet their pride makes them take that fear out on others. What do fearful people with physical power do? They prey on the smaller, physically weaker people. History tells us this repeatedly.

Hanging out with big Hispanic dudes who are 22 or 23 years old while you’re a short, skinny 16 year old white kid is empowering. It was to me. And they loved me, for whatever reason. One day while we were hanging out, one of my college friends, Shannon, could tell something was on my mind. It had been a rough week and I’d been austricized at school. Shannon asked what was wrong and I said a dude was messing with me, and he was much bigger than I so what could I do about it.

“Where does he live?” Shannon asked with a straight face. I knew what his thought process was. These weren’t guys who looked for fights, but they weren’t ones who ran from them either. And they were stout enough to hold their own and then some. Shannon was also a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.

“Don’t worry about it man,” I said. “I do appreciate it though.”

“No seriously, where does he live? I used to be a little guy like you and I got picked on a lot. It sucked. I remember what it feels like to be bullied. I will gladly show this punk what it feels like for a bigger, stronger person to put him in his place,” Shannon replied.

And that changed everything.

What followed wasn’t a scene out of a revenge film where we loaded up in a car, all 4 of us and drove the 30 miles back to my hometown, knocked on a door and then made mince-meat out of a teenage bully. What changed was my attitude and confidence.

Why didn’t I give the address to Eddie and Shannon to go take care of my bullying issue? Because even then I knew it would only make things worse, especially for them as young adults. The bully folks weren’t the kids of people who wouldn’t do anything about the 20-somethings who beat up their son. There were political and social elements that would make this situation much worse. So I thanked my friends for their love and said if it ever got to a place where I couldn’t handle it, I’d call them. Fortunately it never did.

Here’s what changed that made the difference.

When someone you trust and respect tells you that they have your back, will go out of their way to tackle a problem you have so that you don’t have to worry about it anymore, you should feel empowered.

IMG_1333My confidence took a steroid shot that day, and I didn’t even know it. Looking back now it all seems so clear. I didn’t cower or hide from people (or at least the same people I’d hidden from for the past few years when this happened). There was no reason to hide. If things got bad, I had a number to call who would come to my aid. That kind of support isn’t common, but it’s highly empowering.

Knowing we’re loved gives us confidence.

When you’re a kid, and sometimes even in adulthood, when we think of love we think romance or family bonds. Love isn’t just those things. Love is valuing someone else and doing whatever is necessary to make sure they are safe and taken care of. Love is looking at someone else’s best interest and putting them before you, even if it costs you something.

“I’ve got your back” is love in its purest sense. Nothing asked in return, no favors required to be put into effect. It’s just straight “You matter to me and I won’t let anyone or anything hurt you.”

As a followup to some of the life experiences described earlier, I’ve moved on and done a good bit of forgiveness, most of which the individuals involved know nothing about. That’s the thing about forgiveness, it’s really more about you than the people who caused you pain. Holding on to past pain and grudges only stymies your growth and ability to move forward. It also keeps those same fears in place, instead of releasing them to have the freedom you want.

Every single one of us struggles with fear in some form or fashion. For me it was fears regarding self-image and body size stuff. With friends who had my back, I was able to overcome a lot of these issues at that crossroad in time and move on to pursuing my dreams. I later returned to facing those fears head on in my 20s, which I talk about and describe in this blog post.

Do you struggle with fears and want to know that someone has your back? Let’s talk about what fears are keeping you from pursuing the goals and dreams that you have. Reach out to me below and let’s tackle them together. I have your back.