Tag Archives: Rocky

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.

If fears have been an obstacle for you, keeping you from achieving peace, confidence, and success, let’s talk. I’ll help you overcome your fears and the pains that are holding you back from the life you want.


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.

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.

 

How To Avoid Being An Artistic Scrooge This Christmas

Michael Caine as Scrooge in A Muppet Christmas Carol, one of my favorite versions

Michael Caine as Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol
, one of my favorite versions

When you see the name Scrooge, do you instantly think of a crabby, bitter old man who not only hates Christmas but also hates people?

That’s the common interpretation of Scrooge. The other common thought about Scrooge is that someone with that reference only cares about money and is predominately greedy by nature.

I hope that none of these characteristics mark your artistry or humanity. Yet, the Scrooge aspect I want to highlight and talk about here doesn’t involve any of these criteria. There is something redeeming about Scrooge in the Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol that most of us aren’t always mindful of.

The Ebeneezer Scrooge who we first encounter in The Muppet Christmas Carol is not the Scrooge we are left with at the conclusion of the story. There is a transformation that takes place within the man’s heart over the course of the tale, marked in 3 stages as he is taken to memories of his past, realities of his present, and potential for his future. All of these stages have glimpses of hope and tragedy.

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

Scrooge is not who he really appears to be

These glimpses show us the real heart of Scrooge, despite how his life has transpired up to the visitation of the three spirits. We see a man who has allowed life to dictate his steps in a way that are counter to his true self. We see a man who, when we comes across boys he knew as a child, has fondness for the individuals. We see a man who experienced joy and love from a woman, but who mistakenly put a quest for wealth above his connection with her love and devotion. The loss of his love was the onset of his downward spiral into greed and hatred for people.

The warning in this tale is simple on the front end, but the real heart of Scrooge’s story is that if we aren’t careful we can easily become manipulated by seeking the wrong things for our happiness, and subsequently rob ourselves of true success. Scrooge was a man who made money by charging tenants for rent and had zero compassion for anyone who didn’t pay on time. He was easily the world’s worst landlord. Yet strangely he had one of the most compassionate and genuine people working for him. Could Bob Cratchet be as deserving of congratulations in turning around Scrooge’s attitude towards life and giving as the 3 spirits? I would argue that and even more.

Scrooge had allowed his loneliness to dictate how he approached other people, and for years that resentment, bitterness, and loss controlled his steps. The results were that, while he was more wealthy than most people in his town, he was also reviled and despised by nearly everyone. Cratchet, on the other hand, had much in the realm of wanting but his life was marked by joy and gratitude despite his low income or the ill health of his son, Tiny Tim.

As artists and entrepreneurs (or people in general), it’s easy for us to fall into the same traps that Scrooge did as a young person, when plans fail or the people closest to us drift away. When our dreams or intentions get off course, it’s common to not correct the ship but continue sailing in a direction that doesn’t take us to a land of opportunity, but instead one of regret. Have you experienced something like this?

We too run the risk of being so preoccupied with our own ambitions, or even allowing the losses we experience in life, to change our perspectives and attitudes towards others. This is human nature. We can spend years in frustration and anger at how our dreams were thrown off or our endeavors spoiled because of one thing or another. And we can build up resentment towards people in the process of just trying to deal with why life doesn’t always go our way.

Or

We can see things differently. We can allow the struggles and the obstacles to provide a new insight into how to change, shift, and pivot. We can look at those in our lives who seem to be constantly full of life and joy and find inspiration in moving forward. We can sit down with individuals, over a cup of coffee, a beer or over the phone and have conversations that build hope and perspective for the present and future.

We can change.

Strangely enough, another (sort of) Christmas story that I’m fond of leaves us with the notion that we can change, and change is one of the best gifts that we can give to ourselves and others. Rocky’s closing speech following the fight with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV not only inspired those who saw it, but ultimately ended the Cold War (want proof? See this video).

You can be a person who is uncommon and makes a difference in the lives of those around you, as well as your own. Don’t be an artistic (or business or startup or entrepreneurial or any other kind of) Scrooge this holiday and Christmas season. If something you have aspired to be hasn’t worked out like you wanted, or a dream you have has not gone as planned, it’s OK. Trust me, I’ve experienced these pains too (something I described briefly HERE). Allow your past to be released and your future to hold hope.

Change. Shift. Pivot. And have joy this season.

Want someone to sit down and talk with? I’d love to talk with you. Contact me and let’s chat.

*Are you surprised that I threw in Rocky Balboa in a post? You must not know me well. Let’s fix that. Reach out to me and we can have a good laugh together. Merry Christmas!