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Chris LoCurto

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January 23, 2013

Facing Your Fears

January 23, 2013 | By | 32 Comments">32 Comments

Fear is one of those things that has a habit of grabbing ahold of you and never letting go.
Rock Climbing

 

It’s kind of like cheap cologne. (My first post ever. Go easy on me, it’s pretty bad)
Fear is one of those things that will keep you from doing just about anything.

If fear can convince you that you will:

  • Hate the outcome
  • Get hurt
  • Suffer embarrassment

then fear has done it’s job.

Years ago I was at an event where a company was promoting their climbing wall.
It went about thirty feet in the air and then around the twenty-five foot mark there was this crazy overhang that stuck out probably three feet. (Think Stallone in Cliffhanger)

Basically they strapped you into a tiny harness with the rope anchored at the top all while being held by some guy that rivaled Nitro from American Gladiator.

The goal, once you were about half way up, was to thrust yourself from your secure position and grab a  “rock” bolted right on the edge.
From there you climb up the overhang and finally ring the bell in victory.

 I can remember watching person after person make it all the way to that scary ledge only to give up due to their fear of falling.

I mean…it certainly was a very rational excuse to make.
It would have been an epic fall back down to the pavement.

As I continued to watch I realized there was virtually no way the guy on the other end of the rope was going to let anybody fall.
And since he wasn’t exactly a twig himself I was pretty sure that anyone falling was just gonna hang in the air for an awkward second until they grabbed hold again.

So…I decided to push fear aside and give it a try.
(Did I mention it was a tiny harness?)
As I made my way to that massive ledge I didn’t just reach for the suspended rock, I actually hurled myself  from the wall out to the edge.
I grabbed the rock by my fingertips and then quickly continued up to ring the victory bell.

Where did this courage come from?
Well, just the realization that if my hand slipped and I started to fall Nitro would be down there holding the rope gave me a lot of confidence.
Even though I was taking a risky chance, I wasn’t going to get hurt.
I wasn’t really going to fall.

Question: What exciting thing is fear keeping you from doing?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.slingerland.3 Jamie Slingerland

    Chris, This topic is so important. In our business and family the leader must work create a culture where taking risks is mandated. Life is short and being bound up with fear is unacceptable. The cost are too great. The people around us need us and the art we make. We must pursue courage at least those of us who long to make an impact.
    Thanks again for all you do,
    Jamie
    Buffalo, NY

  • Jean Kennedy

    Chris fear stinks. It smells bad in little spaces of our lives as well as in the mansions. I am learning to overcome fear one grab or leap at a time. Thanks Chris.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    I’m not…at least anymore.

    I wrote this yesterday…it’s kind of my new philosophy when it comes to fear:

    James 4 says in the Message (we were reading this last night with our daughter):

    “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin.”

    So to fear I say a loud “NO!” and watch it run away like the little punk that it is. I say “YES!” to God and I quit dabbling in fear.

    You cannot take a little fear here, but leave it out there. It’s not something you sprinkle on the recipe of life.

    You either completely annihilate it or it annihilates you.

    I choose to annihilate it every day. It has to be done every day. Picture fear, doubts, negative comments about you, laughter towards you, naysayers…picture them being annihilated. Trampled upon and left in your dust. Every single day.

    I’m doing more than punching fear in the face…I’m making a sport out of beating the crap out of it and leaving it behind.

  • http://www.softskillsforhardjobs.com/ Jim Ryan

    Some days I think I’m a huge risk taker, other times I’m think I’m a wuss. How do you decide when you have planned enough and it’s time to go for it? I just turned 53 yesterday and time seems to be speeding up.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I’m huge on planning Jim. Well…I’m huge on having a team that does that really well. :-) I think the important thing is to cover everything you can think of. At some point, you have to decide if your planning is causing paralysis of the analysis. If so, then you’ve gone too far. Ship it and pray! lol

      • http://www.softskillsforhardjobs.com/ Jim Ryan

        OMG love paralysis of the analysis. Can I use that? Maybe as a tattoo…

  • Chadrick Black

    I fear I’ll stop being afraid.

    I believe fear is a vital emotion used to pull or push us
    out of our comfort zone. Either we’re pulled towards fear with a belief that “What’s on the other side of this fear is worth the risk”. (i.e. Going to a job interview, finishing a marathon, etc.) Or we’re pushed back by it. When approaching a new goal, I try to minimize mistakes by paying attention when fear is pushing back at me, slowing me down to think or seek counsel at critical moments. (As you know, sometimes there is a thin line between bravery and stupidity. And being I grew up in Alabama and often heard the phrase, “Hey, Y’all watch this!” when I was younger, I can attest to this.). Bottom-line: There is a reason we should be afraid of some things.

    So if fear isn’t pushing us or pulling us, removing our center of gravity and making us feel off balance, then what do we feel? We feel security. And for thousands of years, from Ancient Rome to modern America, humans have proven time and again that if you take the risk of living away from a man, you ultimately take away a man’s desire to make more of himself as well as contribute to society and future generations.

    Therefore, I don’t want full-fledged 100% security. I want to be afraid. I want to be pulled towards it because of the rewards of accomplishment it offers. I want to be pushed back by fear to protect me and make me think along the way

    I really want to reach the end of this journey and say, I felt
    fear, I felt it often, but very rarely did I succumb to it…

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Chadrick…..wow!!

  • http://www.DavidASpecht.com/ David A Specht

    Fear causes paralysis. And I see a lot of that paralysis in the marketplace. Companies who are otherwise successful, pull back from plans, growth or improvement due to fear. We know there are a lot of “outside forces” that can affect us, but if we stop doing what we do, the paralysis of fear will become a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Bingo David! I always tell people that fear freezes! And there’s not a whole lot that you can do when you’re paralyzed is there?

  • TroyD

    I was a rock climber for years, however, the guy holding my rope was half my size! I learned that the fear only makes the top more rewarding. I saw some really beautiful views, most of which while waiting for my heart to calm down! Once you trust the rope and your partner, the “what’s my worst case scenario” question gets easier every time.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow! Great perspective Troy! I just rang a bell. But the truth is, it’s a beautiful view up there.

      • TroyD

        Thats like me tell you, Mr. Race Car Driver, that I only drove 80 on the way to work today. :-) Every adventure whether in business, home or rock climbing starts with a simple bell ring, but that gives you the courage to try harder for the next goal. I literally started with that same bell, it wasn’t long after I was climbing 300+ foot cliffs and other spires in Needles South Dakota. The trick is to always dream big, and find those people just ahead of you that can show you the holds and catch the rope if you slip. 2012 was a difficult year for many people, myself included, but God will use all things for good. That difficulty gave me a “what have I got to lose” attitude to start a small business I have dreamed about for 13 years. Right now my business is a bell, but I am following you and others, training for much more. Thank you and your followers for your rope of inspiration and encouragement. (and the prayers several of you lifted last year)

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Fear of failure and fear of rejection. These are two fears that probably keep me from scaling new heights.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I’m right there with you. Wait…no I’m not! I’m getting over those! :-)

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Fear is awesome, I think. It forces us to have the courage to make great things happen. Couple that with remembering that God is in complete control and we’ll be unstoppable.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen Jared!!

  • MrTravisScott

    I think the biggest fear I face is…”what will people think”. I have a great job now, but i am in the process of starting a project that I hope will grow. I hope it will grow into something that will sustain my family and replace my current income.

    However…I am trying to get over the fear of what everyone else will think. I know once people find out what I am doing then they are going to give me their opinion. They are going to explain why it is or isn’t a good idea. I know they would think I am crazy to try to start another biz when I am making a great living.

    What people think is definitely holding me back

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Travis, you are so NOT alone! The thing you need to realize is, you need people around you to grow that biz. However, you don’t need the wrong people around you. Find those who support you and believe in you, and you’ll succeed at what you want to do.

  • http://www.DavidRobertsons.com/about David Robertson

    I used to believe that fear was a negative sibling to excitement. However, I am not sure I would understand fear in that light anymore.

    Chris, as I get closer to the LORD, I sincerely do believe that fear is caused by not having enough trust in a “Nitro.” As a child, my Nitro was a dad that I could run to for help on anything. As an adult I’ve found mini-nitros in money, career, spouse, and even self-reliance. All these mini-nitros worked at first, but only temporarily. The further I moved forward in life the more my mini-nitros actually became cages which limited me.

    Truthfully, our spirit of adoption declared in Romans 8:15 actually is the only true Nitro to end all others. GOD is un-ending & more than enough to carry our freedom from fear. That is why Romans 8:15 is my favorite verse.

    If a Nike marketing agency were writing this verse they would write, “No fear, but help me daddy!”

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

    I love Zig Ziglar’s acronym FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real. We think the worst will happen based on a distorted perception of reality. I’ve shared here how I have a collection of fears (drowning, heights, cell phone overage…) and how my husband has provided opportunities to overcome them (scuba diving, flying an airplane and snorkeling in a volcano crater). I still don’t want to learn how to swim and I don’t think I’ll apply for a pilot’s license anytime soon, and definitely I don’t plan on doing the climbing wall, no matter how many Nitros are holding the other end of the rope. But I can proudly say I did it and I’m still here. I can’t say there is any other explanation of how I’ve conquered many fearful situations than holding on to my faith. There’s a reason why we read in Scripture “Do not fear”, 365 times. I try to hold on to that instead.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      HAAA!!! I’m totally with you on the cell phone overage Lilmeister. ;-)

  • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

    I’ve been thinking about fear a lot lately. I’ve started to define it this way: ‘Fear is the feeling that worst possible scenario WILL happen.’

    As I look back on even the worst times in my life, the worst possible scenario in all circumstances has never happened! And, even if it did, (thinking about the book of Job), how would I react?

    The story of the harness reminds me of the scene in last summer’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, where there is a leap of faith required, and the rope that keeps you from falling is the very rope that keeps you from making the crucial leap. Fear. Holding on to the feeling that the worst possible scenario will come true.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      So true Erik! That has played a part in SO many of the decisions I haven’t made!

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    “Epic fall” – priceless!

    Fear has kept me from doing a lot of things in the past. I am fighting this in 2013. I’m pushing away from some “security” to try to grab a hold of something better. I think that one thing that has stopped me from pursuing earlier was that I didn’t see my Nitro – I didn’t see a safety net. I’ve learned to trust more in God, and I’ve also been able to slowly set some things up as a safety net (well, it would slow down the fall, at least). I’ll be sharing some more of this in an upcoming post on my blog.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I wonder what would happen if we all new we had a Nitro when we’re kids. hmmm

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    I am tired of fear holding me back so this is my year to be brave! Like Jon, this tribe has really helped build my confidence, as well as a community through my Blog Topics Master Class and Brave New Year with Chris Brogan. My brave acts lately include stepping up to a leadership role at church as chairperson of the Mission Committee, and committing to run the Country Music FULL marathon. What I still need to overcome is my fear of dreaming big – discovering what I’m truly meant to do instead settling. Great post and perfectly timed for me, Chris!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      That is awesome Carol!! Way to go you!!

  • http://jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

    Chris, I’m pretty sure you are tall enough that you would extend like 5 feet beyond the 3 foot ledge. Just saying.

    I think people can often get courage from seeing others face fear, regardless of whether or not there was a good outcome. That is why so many people that come from families with entrepreneurs inherit the entrepreneur “gene” and take the risk themselves — even if the parent or role model failed.

    Interestingly enough, the little community you’ve built here has provided just that for me: a group of people facing fears of various shapes and sizes and providing each other the courage to overcome them.

    Even if we’re not all giants, we are.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I completely agree Jon. I think a lot of fear comes from being around people/friends/family who don’t take risks.

      And again, agreed! Not only has this community given me the…guts to do things, but I’ve watched as it’s helped and built up others.

      Fantastic input as always!

  • Aaron West

    Such a great word. Whether it is in business, family, or life in general, as a Christian, as long as I know and understand God has the end of the rope and is not going to let me fall, then I can face those fears. Interestingly enough, about 350 times in the Bible God says, ” Fear not…”

    Oh, and I was the first to comment!!! Thanks Chris for doing these.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen brother! It’s amazing the strength you have when you trust God! And it is SO great to see you here!!