How To Overcome Fear
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my business journey, it’s that fear is constant and it’s here to stay.
Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being seen fear or even fear of being an imposter, business building and fear go hand in hand.
And it’s for this reason that people who are most successful in business and are able to make a bigger impact aren’t necessarily the smartest, the kindest, the warmest or the most business savvy. They’re simple the ones who have learned to be get comfortable with uncomfortable feelings.
They’ve learned how to coexist with fear.
In this episode of Conscious Business Builders podcast I’m joined by Peter Scott IV.
Peter is the Founder of the Fearless Coach Academy and Author of the #1 Bestselling book, “The Fearless Mindset”. His mission is to transform humanity’s relationship with fear so that anyone can make the impact and earn the income they desire.
If you’re ready to learn a little more about fear and how you can overcome it so you can make a bigger impact in the world, you’re going to love our chat.
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Welcome and thanks for much Peter for coming on the Conscious Business Builders podcast.
What led to you becoming a Fearless Coach Mentor?
I’m super passionate about helping entrepreneurs specifically, but if I was to expand on that, I would say humanity at large and shifting humanity’s relationship with fear so that it no longer stops us.
I have this fundamental belief that the biggest thing that stops us from anything that we want in life, whether it’s that deep loving relationship, that successful business or career, or the body of our dreams, the biggest thing that I see that stops us is fear and the reason I got into this is honestly because my entire life was consumed by fear.
A lot of people think that entrepreneurs are either born or they’re made. I was the furthest thing from a born entrepreneur. I was like the opposite of what an entrepreneur is. And so it was really scary for me to transition to this, but I’ll share a little bit of my backstory.
My first memory of really feeling a lot of fear in my life happened when I was about 10 years old. And I remember sitting down in a courtroom with my grandparents on my left, an attorney on my right, and my mother, directly across from me. And at 10 years old, I had to look into my mum’s eyes and tell her that I no longer felt safe living with her because of her alcoholism.
Sorry you had to go through that. Something I’ve never shared with my listeners before is that I am a daughter of an alcoholic too. I don’t want to get into my story and I’m really not ready to talk about it, but I can appreciate how difficult that would have been.
The reason why I’m sharing that is because we often go through life and we have these significant emotional events. And that was one for me. At 10 years old I felt that telling my mum the truth meant losing her love. And I know that’s not true. When I look back at it, my mum loved me through all of that. And you know, today to be very clear, my mum and I have an amazing relationship. She’s been sober for over 20 years. So it’s turned into a beautiful story.
Here’s the thing though, we go through life and we make these decisions unconsciously. Many times those decisions create a belief that starts shaping our reality. I found out early on that I became this chameleon, this people pleaser, this person who tried to just seek love and approval from somebody else, whether it was a family member or a friend.
Fast forward, gosh, maybe 15 years, and I’m 25 years old. My father gets ill, and he gets really sick. I remember asking him while he’s in hospice, why he did this to himself, because he actually literally gave up on life and kind of drank himself to death. And it was really a sad last few years of his life, but I’ll never forget what he told me. He goes ‘Peter, I chose to do this because I was afraid.
So I know that’s a long story, but to condense it, the reason I became so passionate about this is because my whole life was controlled by fear. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to help people, but I was in a job working in investment banking, I wasn’t passionate about it. And the thing that kept me in that position was fear. I was afraid of leaving the paycheck behind, I was afraid of uncertainty. And when my father passed that’s when I made the shift. I made a commitment to become a student of this, to read books, to hire mentors, to jump out of planes, to do all these things to help myself overcome fear. And through that I ended up, over the last seven years, building a whole business around it.
Well, thank you so much for sharing that. I’m sure so many of our listeners can relate to not only some of the family issues, but also just the feelings of the security of having a job and the fear of leaving that secure paycheck. It’s a fear of the unknown, really. So I really appreciate you sharing that. It really helps people to connect, because we’ve all had variances in our lives that we’ve had to try and overcome. But it’s fear that’s always the thing that stops us.
So let’s talk about fear. Can you please explain what fear is. Obviously it’s natures way of keeping us safe, but what role does it play in keeping us safe?
why do we need to get comfortable with feeling FEAR in order to be able to achieve our dreams?
I love this question. I love that you say it’s nature’s way of keeping us safe. I totally agree. Because, you know, I talk a lot about being fearless, right? And I want to be very clear for your listeners, that when I say fearless, I don’t mean being without fear. I don’t think that’s necessarily healthy. I’m talking about having the courage to do the thing that scares you.
There’s really two types of fear. One fear I would describe in this way. I would call it the feeling of anxiety that’s caused by the presence of imminent danger. So when we’re in physical danger, when we’re literally in danger, we’re feeling fear because of that flight or fight response that keeps us alive. This isn’t a problem, it’s probably a good thing, but most of us, most of the time, are not in imminent danger.
So what’s the other type of fear that we’re talking about? Because there’s a fear that people feel on a daily basis. And that’s not necessarily feeling that we are in danger. It’s more of the chaotic projection of a painful future.
So to answer your question, I define it as a chaotic projection of a painful future. It’s taking something that does not exist, and it’s pushing it out into the future, and it’s imagining a bad outcome. That to me is what fear is. Whether it’s fear of failure, or fear of rejection or fear of losing love. There’s so many different types of fear. But the one thing is that fear is not experienced in the present moment. It’s a figment of our imagination in the future.
That’s gold. It’s basically anxiety but it’s catastrophising to the worst extent, isn’t it?
Totally. We feel more fear from being interviewed on a podcast or speaking in front of in front of an audience than we do around being in danger. And that’s the crazy thing. One of my mentors, many years ago said, Peter, there’s two types of fear. There’s rational fears, that keep us alive. Those are good things. And there’s irrational fears that keep us from living. And what I am so passionate about is not helping you get rid of rational fears. We want that to show up for you because that keeps you alive. But all those other fears that are stopping you in your business, or stopping you having a vulnerable conversation with a loved one, that’s where I want to help you change and move through so that you’re no longer stopped by them.
You help coaches overcome the fear that’s stopping them from really growing their business, earning and income and making the impact they desire.
In your experience working with different people, backgrounds and genders, how do you see the fear showing up differently for men and women?
Generally speaking, I would say that both men and women share similar fears. Many of us have the fear of failure. And I don’t think that’s more for women or more for men. I think that’s something that all of us can relate to. That’s more society based. Think back to our school and university days where our education system was based on grades and our performance. If we don’t do well enough, then we consider that we fail and so we’re literally conditioned from a very early age to avoid and be afraid of failure.
Where I do think there is a distinction between men and women, is the first rational fear. My wife has shared with me, and I could be totally wrong, so forgive me if I am, but she shared that women will feel a little bit more fear associated with imminent danger than a man would.
But when it comes to fear of rejection and fear of not being lovable or not being worthy, I don’t see that being differentiated by genders. I think that’s part of the human experience as a whole.
When I started my first online business 11 years ago fear of success was my biggest worry. As a work at home mum with a baby I feared that my business would grow too quickly and become all consuming.
What would you say to an educator, expert, consultant or coach who is building an online presence and is worried it will grow too big for them to handle?
That’s a very, very common fear, not just for working mums but for men as well.
What I would say is that the quickest way to move through the fear of success is being to be willing to let go of control. And that’s the hardest part.
I’m not a father yet but I’ve heard many entrepreneurs and business owners that are parents say that, yes, there’s the love of your child and nothing comes close to that. But there are times when you’re building a business and it almost feels like it’s your baby. You’re building it and you have to be there all the time to nurture it, and to make sure that it is healthy and safe.
What I would say is that the fear of success was a big thing that stopped me until I started to get comfortable with letting go of control and delegate and asking for help. And this is way easier said than done. This is probably one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to do.
What you can automate?
What can you delegate?
Start building a team around you to free you up because as a solopreneur, it is really hard when you’re wearing every single hat. If you’re doing the sales and the lead generation, the nurture and the fulfilment and all those different things, which every entrepreneur does at a certain stage of their business, it’s understandable why the fear of success would stop them as they are already at capacity.
So the best way to let go of that fear and move through that is to say, okay, what do I love doing? What are the things that need to get done, but I don’t love doing and how can I free myself up and pull myself out of that, so that the business can run without me?
I’ll give you an example of this. A few months ago, I hired a coach. And he’s our head coach now at The Fearless Coach Academy. He’s coaching all of our students. And it was really scary for me to let go of control and help him deliver some of our coaching. At first, I was holding on to that responsibility for dear life. And I was finding that I was training him but I still wasn’t giving him the freedom. I wasn’t giving him the freedom yet to coach on my behalf. And it was causing me more stress. And I’m like, oh my gosh, if this is what success is, I don’t want it.
As I’ve learned to let go, as I’ve surrendered and he stepped in, my clients are getting better results. My ego doesn’t like that because I think I’m the coach. I’m the unicorn. But the reality is, there’s only so much that you can do in your business.
I have a favourite book that really talks about that a lot. And that’s The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. He talks about the zones of genius and the zones of excellence. The zone of excellence is what you’re good at but not a genius at. You really want to be working in that zone of genius, that one area where you are the unicorn, that you can’t easily delegate and is what you really enjoy. You really want to be automating, delegating or outsourcing everything else in your business.
I love that you mentioned that because I recommended that to a group of students last night on one of our mastermind calls so I would agree.
Many Australians (and New Zealanders) suffer from the impact of ‘tall poppy syndrome’. In our cultures there’s a tendency to tear down high achievers. This, not surprisingly, leads many to fear being too visible and not wanting to be seen to be bragging about success.
Do you have any tips for our listeners who are holding themselves back for these reasons, yet may not even realise it? Have you seen this with your coaching?
I love that you’re asking us about culture, I must be part Australian. I know I don’t sound it but I can totally relate to that fear of being seen and the resistance of bragging in any way.
Here’s what I would say. And I’m going to speak specifically from experience with coaching and consulting, because that’s the nature of the businesses that we run. I agree, I see a lot of peers of mine, bragging about successful months that they’ve had. And sometimes that resonates with people. But I think it’s resonating a lot less than it used to. I think people are actually becoming a bit jaded to that, not just in Australia, but globally.
So what I would have your listeners consider is instead of bragging about your own results, why not consider bragging about your clients results?
That was a big shift for me. So in the beginning, I didn’t have any clients yet. I had to kind of tell the world how great I was. And it felt awkward and felt uncomfortable, but what I did was I would always do it with a lot of transparency and authenticity. What I mean by that is, I would speak to my weaknesses I would say here’s what I struggled with. Here’s where I’m at now, it’s been such a fulfilling journey. So I’m not just bragging, I’m comparing the current reality to how far I’ve come from in the past. That’s a great way to humbly share about your own success because what you’re doing is you’re teaching a story. And you’re teaching lessons to the growth of your journey as a business owner. That’s stage one.
Stage Two is, let’s focus the spotlight not on us, but on the wins of our clients. And when I started to celebrate the wins of my clients, that’s when people really started to listen and respect me even more. So just from a marketing perspective, that’s the one thing that I would say.
The deeper issue is our fear of being seen. Because at the surface, we don’t want somebody to view us as arrogant but what we’re really afraid of is that we may not be lovable, or we may be rejected. And as you grow in your business, I believe it’s unavoidable. It’s absolutely unavoidable to not have people that don’t fully believe in you or that disagree with you. And so when I get people who disagree, I celebrate that, I actually welcome that. Because I know if somebody is disagreeing with my message, it means my message is polarising enough for somebody else to really get a benefit from it. Like it’s actually helping them.
I look at it this way, I don’t want to try to have this vanilla existence where no one notices me because if no one disagrees with me, then no one agrees with me. If no one has a conflicting belief, then no one will actually take action on what I’m advising.
I had to reach a point where I’ve let go of my need to get approval and validation from somebody outside of me. Although that doesn’t mean its completely gone – I’m still human, just like all of us. But I’ve let go of that pattern a lot and its freed me up to on why I’m doing this.
I’m doing this because I’m wanting to transform humanity. I’m doing this because I’m wanting to change the lives of my clients. And that’s what I’m most focused on. If somebody judges me for doing that, that’s their stuff. And it has nothing to do with me.
I love how you just tie that back into reframing and focusing back on why you’re in business in the first place.
Whenever I’ve got rattled over the years in my business, there have been some trolls on social media and people can be very judgy if you are trying to tell people to change their behaviours, I honed back in on my why. I’m really about helping humans live lighter on the planet. And that’s the reason I’m in business. My message is too important not to get in front of a microphone and not to overcome this fear that’s holding me back.
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned, came from my best friend. He sadly passed away last year but his name was Sean Stephenson. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Sean, he’s from the US. But he’s three feet tall and in a wheelchair and he was one of the best speakers on the planet. He shared the stage with the Dalai Lama and Richard Branson, and was just amazing human being. And he would train speakers, he would teach people how to find their voice, own their voice and deliver moving keynote speeches. And I remember being at an event of his once, and he asked people in the audience to raise their hand if they had the fear of public speaking. And you know, a bunch of hands raised, and he went deeper. And he basically pulled up the person who had the most debilitating fear ever, right? Like she would be she would look at a crowd and cry. And what he did was he did an exercise to where he had a handful of people in the room, go up to a microphone, and share with them the most the most painful thing that they’re currently going through in their life. This wasn’t like surface level pain. This was deep pain like people who were just diagnosed with cancer, or they just lost their home and they went bankrupt, or a child had had tragically been killed, like devastating events in their life. And they shared this and he had them say this person’s name and say, I need your help. And it was a little exercise to show that once this person stopped focusing in on themselves, and they started focusing out on humanity or out on your audience, that fear of public speaking, that fear of judgement, that fear of rejection, fades away. Because the fear of public speaking, Sean would say, is an unconscious act of selfishness. We’re unconsciously more concerned about how we look and feel than actually helping people. And when we focus out on the environment like you do, or on humanity, then those fears, doubts and insecurities begin to quiet they become whispers instead of shouts. And you take bold action, because you’re so committed to something bigger than you.
I’m so glad you shared that. That’s amazing. And what an incredible friend to have in your life. I’m sorry he’s not around. What a lasting legacy.
He’s not here physically, but he’s with us every single day. I feel him all the time. So thank you.
We’ve talked about some of the ways to overcome fears and it seems like some of them are just little mindset shifts.
Are there any other ways that you help your clients to overcome fear?
I like giving actionable strategies. If you are listening this, as long as you’re not driving, I would recommend writing this down. I think this is a really powerful exercise which I do every single week and I’ve got my clients doing to.
I wrote a book a few years ago called The Fearless Mindset. In it we cover a journaling exercise called the three step fearless system, used whenever we have a fear that we start becoming consciously aware of.
For example, fear of success.
Most people try to pretend that that fear isn’t there. This exercise that I have you do is actually defining exactly what that fear is, and writing it out in out in painstaking detail.
Think about and describe, pen to paper, what the worst possible case scenario could be if that fear came true. Now this goes against probably everything that you learn in personal development because personal development says be positive and think positively. But what this does is it takes the emotional charge away from something in your mind, it puts it to paper. When you look at what that worst case scenario is, you actually see how almost impossible that scenario is to actually happen.
Then you list out all the different things that you could do to prevent that thing from happening. So the first step is to define the worst case scenario and define the fear. Second step is to list out what you can do to prevent it. And there’s always things that we can do to prevent it.
Once you’ve listed out those fears, and what can be done to prevent them, what, given worse case scenario, are the one, two or three things that you can do to repair the damage.
When you do those three steps, when you look at what the fear is, you describe it in detail, you list out what you’re going to do to prevent it, and you list out what you could do to repair it. You’re no longer frozen by the fear. The emotional charge is not consuming you anymore. You look at something rationally. And then you make a decision and say, okay, cool, this is what could happen, here’s the direction that I’m going in, and you commit to taking action towards that direction.
That’s a simple three step process. And here’s the most important part of the entire thing. Let’s say that we’re afraid of growing our business. And lets look at your business Laura, what’s the cost of inaction? What’s the cost of you not building this business around sustainability? What is the cost of letting five or 10 or 20 more years of your finite life go by and not making the impact that you know you’re capable of? When we ask ourselves that, the cost is far greater than the cost of us attempting and failing. The cost of doing nothing is significantly more painful than the cost of taking action in the face of your fears.
I was trained a few years ago as an NLP trainer. So neuro linguistic programming and we learned a technique called mental and emotional release, it was a really powerful technique. And what it did was find the root cause of a negative emotion, whether it’s fear or anger or sadness, and we would float back to that event in our life. We would preserve the learnings from it and release the negative emotion and that’s something that’s done more emotionally, this one’s done more logically.
Give my three step exercise a shot. Do it once a week and see how much more how more courageous you become over the next couple months, and how quiet your fears come. Because typically, our fear is the loudest thing that we hear. Another great quote that Sean Stephenson shared with me was ‘fear shouts and intuition whispers.’ But if we can quiet our mind, if we can quiet those fears by doing an exercise like this, we start hearing and listening and following our gut and our intuition, which in my opinion, I don’t think can guide us in the wrong direction.
Can I ask you a personal question going back to the story that you shared at the start of this conversation? With the benefit of hindsight and looking back, do you think overcoming your fear at the age of 10 in the courtroom when telling you mum you didn’t want to live with her because of her alcoholism, do you think the fact that you’ve overcome that fear and did that prompted her to get help to change her behaviour and change her life?
100% absolutely. We as human beings are more motivated to avoid pain than we are to experience pleasure. And my mum put in a lot of effort trying to get clean and trying to quit alcohol and sober up. She went to multiple rehab centres and things like that. But the change didn’t happen until she lost her son and daughter. That’s when it was painful enough, there was enough leverage in her life to draw a line in the sand and say, I’ve had enough. As a kid I felt like my mum was choosing the bottle over me. And I know she wasn’t consciously doing that, but that’s what it felt like. But to answer your question 100% she shared with me that that was the defining moment for her when she recognised that her addiction spiralled out of control that much to where she lost her children. There was no other option. She made that choice to get sober.
As a little boy, by overcoming your fear, you’ve helped change the trajectory of your life, and your mum’s life as well.
I don’t deserve all the credit. I was super blessed to have grandparents who were very active in my life and I know that they helped me through that stage in my life. And honestly, the crazy part of this whole story, is for most of my life, I didn’t remember that event, I had blocked it out. It was obviously something that happened. But when we go through really painful moments, we often unconsciously block things out and try to pretend like it wasn’t there. And that memory surface because of Sean Stephenson again, I know he’s coming up a lot in this conversation, but we were on a road trip once and I told him that I wanted to launch a coaching business. And he’s like, so tell me about your childhood. What was it like and I remember saying ‘Sean, listen there’s nothing unique about me. I’ve had a pretty vanilla existence’ which obviously based on the story is not necessarily true, but that’s what I thought. And he, being a trained therapist, dug deeper and deeper and deeper. And he helped me see this story. And his jaw dropped. I’ll never forget, he goes, ‘Peter, how could you think you don’t have what it takes to be a coach? Look at what you’ve been through. You think you don’t have a message? That mess of your past that you’re so ashamed of. That’s your message, your messages hidden within your mess.’ And so as painful as that was, I am so grateful. There’s no chance I would be doing this today, in my career, if I had not been through that as a kid.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. For those who wish to connect with Peter, links can be found below to his social media accounts and website.
Peter Scott IV is the Founder of the Fearless Coach Academy and Author of the #1 Bestselling book, “The Fearless Mindset”.
Peter helps elite coaches who aren’t growing fast enough scale their coaching business through a proven process focused on attracting qualified prospects, enrolling those prospects into happy clients, and delivering leveraged coaching programs.
His mission is to transform humanity’s relationship with fear so that anyone can make the impact and earn the income they desire.
When he’s not working on his mission he’s most likely surfing, golfing, or hiking with friends and family.
you so much for sharing your story. For those who wish to connect with Peter, links can be found below to his social media accounts and website.
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