How often are you afraid?
Fear is a feeling associated with the threat of danger, pain, or harm, but that threat can weigh heavily on our hearts.
Where are you on that spectrum? Let me ask the question again, how often are you afraid, especially when the future appears uncertain? How often are your thoughts, decisions, and actions being influenced by fear?
On today’s episode, Overcoming Fear, our VP of Operations Heather LoCurto joins us in the studio to discuss fear, how it can try to dictate our surface level responses, and how we can escape its paralyzing effects.
Don’t let fear become a defense mechanism that you get conditioned to!
Chris LoCurto 0:00
Why fear is such a powerful force in today's world, how each of us wrestles with fear at some level and how we can take steps towards overcoming fear that is coming up next.
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.
Welcome to the show, folks. I hope you're having a fabulous day wherever you are. I am. I'm having a fabulous day because joining me in the studio today is the lovely and talented in drop dead gorgeous, and amazing and phenomenal. You're winning brownie points.
Do you think anybody thinks I'm talking about Joe? No, not at all. I'm talking about the amazing Mrs. LoCurto. Welcome, baby, welcome to the show. So good to have you in, it's always a delight to have my wife and fellow farmer on the show with me.
Heather LoCurto 1:08
It's good to be here. I'm excited.
Chris LoCurto 1:10
It's good to have you here. So if you didn't know that we are farming. And that's just a piece of what's actually going on at the ridge and the things that we're doing to we feel God is adding a next level. Next level, hey, there you go. To the point, man group of creating this even greater atmosphere for people to come and get their lives changed in an even deeper, life changing crazy thing we haven't even, we haven't even built it up yet. And we're already seeing amazing life changing things happen up there. Go back to Episode 452, which is the story of the rich. So with that said, we're in the middle of a powerful mini series that is teasing out some of the core concepts that we're going to tackle at this year's next level leadership live event, which is coming up soon. So you need to make sure that you get your tickets and plan to join us here in Nashville. So listen, if you're a business owner or leader, this event was designed for you. This is our premier once in a year event that is open to the public. So you don't want to miss it. This year, we have even more of what you love, both the leadership and the life sessions. So go to Chrislocurto.com/nextlevelleadership. That's one word to reserve your seats today. Okay. When we come back, why fear dominates our culture today, how we all wrestle with fear at some level, and what we can do to take an active stand against it. That's coming up next.
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Give us a little bit of background of you what people need to know about you when it comes to this topic of fear.
Heather LoCurto 3:47
Yeah, well for those of you that have taken the DISC test, I am a high S and so decently high C decently high.
Chris LoCurto 3:58
Desire to be high I.
Heather LoCurto 4:00
Yes, my dream is to be high I. But you know,
I struggled with fear I this is a great topic for me to be teaching on because it's something that we've been working on with me for a long time and my personality is one that is timid and and struggles with fear and with my past. There were some things that have happened in my past that have created this just this level of fear and anxiety that that I struggled with.
Chris LoCurto 4:40
So yeah, I think when I first met you so many years ago, you know you say you were a shell of a woman there was this woman who you know you were not your authentic self. There wasn't you didn't you're very guarded didn't let people in. Not much of you came out you you did your thing. and that was it. You could see you wouldn't take on risks.
Heather LoCurto 5:04
Yes, I operated from such a state of fear that it just felt like I was walking around on eggshells, you know,
Chris LoCurto 5:14
you may fail at anything because I was oh, yeah, that was a risk.
Heather LoCurto 5:19
I would disappoint people because a fear of the unknown, like it was unfamiliar territory. And so I didn't want to take a risk. Because if I did, and I failed, what what did that say about me? And what would other people think of me and so I just lived in this box of only do things that I know, that I'm confident with that won't get me in trouble, so to speak with other people. And it caused me to, to not live authentically, to not live all out.
Chris LoCurto 6:00
Yeah. You and again, without going into details, you got some pretty crappy things that happened to you. traumatic things, one thing, especially as a very difficult situation in life that could create I mean, it's interesting as your husband to see how that situate what you've overcome it, which is great. But just a, just a situation with guns, that was so fearful for you. And, you know, just the fear of being around them and experiencing things and, and the, the overcoming that were last night, we had a situation where we got home and Cody's were like 100 feet away, they were right there on top of some of our goats and stuff. And you're, you're like, you got your gun. It's like, here we go, let's go, let's do it. But it was just interesting that, you know, you've had some traumatic experiences that you've had to overcome. The crazy thing is fear doesn't just come or stay as a result of going through rough times. It's not the the incident that you experienced on that specifically, you didn't all of a sudden just develop fear, because of that one situation.
Heather LoCurto 7:18
Yeah, I didn't wake up one day and just became fearful like it, you know, everybody deals with fear and, and everybody's experiences and their past and their in things that have influenced them all create different fears. So you know, I may have a fear of the unknown, or fear of man's opinion, or what people think of me, or fear of failure, which is such a huge thing. Like, you don't struggle with the same fears necessarily that I do. But our responses tend to be the same, whatever that fear is, and so understanding what your fears are, and being able to recognize those is so huge, in just being able to overcome that, that fear.
Chris LoCurto 8:14
Now that is so true, before we dive into helping people to, you know, have some information to solve this. And again, you're going to be teaching a whole lesson on this at the next level leadership live event. First off, what is fear?
Heather LoCurto 8:29
First, fear is obviously not all bad, right? You know, God gave us instinct for a reason. And so there is some fear that is healthy, there's the healthy warning sign.
Chris LoCurto 8:45
Coyote is that you're at the like, at the gate of your goats.
Heather LoCurto 8:48
Right, right, or being chased by a lion or, you know, there is some fear that is good for us, because it's our body's signal to Hey, kick in, run away or fight, stay in fight. It's that fight or flight. So that piece of it is normal, and healthy. What's unhealthy, when it comes to fear is the past circumstances and not keeping those things in check, and then responding based on what you think or perceive, assume and assumed right to be reality. That's where fear can get unhealthy. So
Chris LoCurto 9:33
is that creating this situation in your mind, that could happen? It might possibly happen. But the percentage of it actually happening is what slim?
Heather LoCurto 9:47
I mean, it's slim to none. I mean, think about all the times that we've operated in a state of fear and and those things did not happen.
Chris LoCurto 9:57
It is a billion how many Like, like even just the situation of like coyotes at the fence. That's only happened once we've heard him. But it's only happened once. But there are times where you know, somebody experiences something in life as a fearful situation. And then they do 10,000 assumptions over the years of what might could happen, you know, this person's opinion of me this person's judgment of me, oh, my gosh, if I fail, what if I fail? What if? What if, what if everything's these what ifs? And the crazy thing is, go ahead.
Heather LoCurto 10:31
Yeah. And then that becomes your, your go to that becomes so ingrained in you that then each time that feeling or that fear comes up, it's one less step backwards, that you take, to guard to protect, to not take risk to hold yourself back and missed opportunities, how many missed opportunities, and things happen over the course of our lives? Because we're making decisions based off of fear, or what ifs?
Chris LoCurto 11:08
Yeah, you pointed something out just a few seconds ago about how so much of the fear we create is based off of situations that we've experienced in life, right? So we can have a bad situation in life and then create 1000 assumptions that that might happen again, or something wrapped, right?
Heather LoCurto 11:28
Because the fear feels the same. Yeah, right. When that fear comes up, you're like, oh, wait, I remember this, your brain automatically goes to Yeah, remember this time back here? This? This is what it's like. So yeah, you you attribute it to that past fear, or to that past situation?
Chris LoCurto 11:46
How many times do we go back? And look at the countless number of times we assumed fear, and it didn't come true.
Heather LoCurto 11:53
I think we don't do that as often as we should, which
Chris LoCurto 11:57
is not even remote is what happens when
Heather LoCurto 11:58
we get through the fear. And then nothing bad happens.
Chris LoCurto 12:03
We just move on with it. We're just excited that nothing bad happened.
Heather LoCurto 12:05
We never go back and analyze what happened. How did I respond? Why did I respond that way? We just move forward. And so I think that's the the piece of leaving that fear on checked, where we start to make bad decisions.
Chris LoCurto 12:21
I think everybody can agree, if you look at the number of fearful situations that actually happened, that created the ability for us to assume fearful situations in the future. And compare that to the number of times we assumed fear. And it didn't happen. That it is like, you know, point 000 1% actual situations that happened, compared to the number of assumptions that we've had, right? It's just such a tiny amount. But we don't go back and think this hasn't happened. This hasn't happened to me, the situation hasn't come up. Or, you know, this is a ridiculous fearful thought. And so I think that's, I love that you're teaching this. Because there's so many tools in how to actually capture that thought, switch this thing around, gain quality perspective, focus on logic, instead of emotion, and so on and so forth. So why is it so difficult to recognize, especially in ourselves? I mean, it's easy for us to see it and other people. But why is it so difficult than us?
Heather LoCurto 13:26
Yeah, it's force a habit. I mean, we've trained ourselves over the years to respond that way, right? And then what happens when we, when we go to fear? You know, I know what happens in my mind, I automatically start running through worst case scenario, you know, and I think the worst thing is going to happen, and then my brain gets stuck fast.
Chris LoCurto 13:49
Can you jump to worst case scenario,
Heather LoCurto 13:51
oh, super fast, super fast. You know, even the sheep the other day, we gave them some grain and, or not some grain the heart. The other day, we gave them some alfalfa pellets, and I didn't moisten it and it's cold out. And so they choked. And they were foaming at the mouth, and I just freaked out. And I'm thinking, worst case scenario, I'm going to lose all my sheep. And, you know, this is it, this is the end and I've, I've done this, just kill them. I just kill them. You know, like, you're pregnant, my brain automatically goes to the worst case scenario, instead of being able to stop and process through in that moment, which is interesting. If you look at look at our emergency response team, right? You know, look at somebody who's in the military or our police officers or somebody working the room, they still have that same fear. That same adrenaline is shooting through their veins. It's it's still pumping in them, but they have been able to train themselves to stop and process through that and think rationally where we, we take the habit of going to fears case scenario, worst case scenarios or rational thought and then we are stuck in that irrational cycle.
Chris LoCurto 15:19
And why is that irrational? Why is going to worst case scenario irrational for a person to be focusing on?
Heather LoCurto 15:29
Because when you freak you freeze, it was like, with me with the sheep instead of me going okay, what can I what's going on right now? What are the steps that I need to do? Who can I reach out to what are my resources instead of processing through all those things?
Chris LoCurto 15:49
Which you did? It just took you it just took me a second.
Heather LoCurto 15:52
You I got stuck in the truck. Goodness, I'm killing my sheep, they're gonna die.
Chris LoCurto 16:00
But I mean, it's something that happens with you now, which is so phenomenal compared to who you were years and years ago, right? The person years and years ago would have just shut down,
Heather LoCurto 16:15
I wouldn't have been able to process through that.
Chris LoCurto 16:17
And within a few seconds, it's funny to see you just oh my gosh, and you grab your phone, you're like, Okay, right,
Heather LoCurto 16:24
because also is my best friend Google.
Chris LoCurto 16:28
Comes the high seed. You're right. Google is gonna help me save my sheet. And crazy enough, you went from worst case scenario in probably about? I don't know, six seconds, maybe 10 seconds at the most later. Okay, what do I do? You were able to shift? Which is not where you were, you know, 15 years ago? Gosh, how long has it been? You know, it's not where you were so long ago, right? You've been able to actually, it doesn't mean that the fear goes away. Yeah,
Heather LoCurto 17:01
I mean, that that my heart rate was still up. You know, I'm flush. I'm feeling that adrenaline pumped through me. But I'm able to now stop and go, What can I do? What are my options? Where are my resources? You know, and run through that checklist of there's options. Don't go to worst case scenario, what can I do right now? All right, don't
Chris LoCurto 17:25
freak because then you can't think you can't operate well. And that is something that we teach so much here when you freak you freeze. When you're in an actual fearful state. That's that's a legit fearful situation, right? That's not something you will obviously you are creating the worst case scenario in your mind. So there was those assumptions. But this is a situation where you're watching something happen in front of you. So this is that combo of a it's a legit fear. Something actually is happening. You're not assuming, you know, if all of the the fear that we normally experience in life is I shouldn't do this. Because of the 14,000 things that could possibly happen. Yeah. And instead, you know, this, this was a great thing to watch my wife very quickly. Grab, hold, stop. Do what you need to do. Don't freak out. Don't freeze, solve the problem. Yes.
Heather LoCurto 18:23
And again, if you look at your nurses, or your physicians that are working in ER room, no, everything that comes through those doors is not you know, they there are new things that happen all the time new crisis's that happen and what do they do? They don't freak and freeze, they assess, stop, assess, take steps to move,
Chris LoCurto 18:45
what are my options? What am I gonna do? What's most important? Yeah, absolutely. So we are completely aware that everybody out there deals with some level or wrestles some at some level with fear as well. First question, where's it come from?
Heather LoCurto 19:05
Well, there's two areas that fear comes from Right, right. I mean, it's the, hey, there's a lion chasing me and the fear of getting away. I mean, that's, that's the fight or flight. That's what God has equipped us with. And then there's the fear that comes from Satan, right? And to see the the lies, the what ifs, the the irrationality, the assumptions, and you know, lack of truth that that's happening in our minds, because man, we can create some crazy, crazy scenarios of what ifs.
Chris LoCurto 19:50
I don't know if I want to know how many crazy what if scenarios I've created in 51 years, can you ever get free of it?
Heather LoCurto 20:00
I wouldn't say you can get free from fear. It's always going to be there. Right? Yeah. You can overcome it with the right tools. You know, being able to stop in that moment and gain some perspective on what's real, what's not real? What are the lies that I'm telling myself? And use that perspective to make decisions? Right? That's using the tools that you're equipped with?
Chris LoCurto 20:35
Well, yeah, and you got to you got to get the tools you got to learn. That's why you're teaching, you got
Heather LoCurto 20:39
to learn the process. Gotta learn, say it. But if I don't create that habit, exactly, it's useless.
Chris LoCurto 20:45
I've never asked you this, which is so funny. But like I say, I tell people, I whenever I'm teaching somebody about how to overcome the lies, or get rid of the fear, and everything, the thing that I do in my brain is I have to go to a forceful knock it off, stop it, shut up, you know, one of those things to shock my brain, because I have learned that if I don't attack it quickly, for me, this is me. And I think this works for a lot of folks. But I've never asked you what you do. I've learned for me that if I can shock my brain like that, I go straight into logical, I get out of emotional. And I go to this is stupid. Stop focus, you know, I can shift myself into that logic. And I have to bring the truth in I have to start telling that I have to attack the lines with the truths. And which is also another phenomenal process that we teach people how to do. But I have to shock myself. What do you do? How do you like? How do you shift from that emotional, fearful situation into a logical? Let me process through this?
Heather LoCurto 21:53
Yeah, I don't know if I internally yell at myself, but there's definitely a
Chris LoCurto 21:59
externally that wow, that's hilarious. Heather knock it off. Knock it off. Yeah, that is awesome.
Heather LoCurto 22:08
Sometimes I need to hear myself verbally.
Chris LoCurto 22:13
Heather LoCurto 22:15
Yes. If I call myself by my middle name, first and middle name, then you know that I'm battling with some fear
Chris LoCurto 22:23
is so that is so funny. Yep. You absolutely do that.
Heather LoCurto 22:27
I don't know why. But that's my, that gives me the Wake Up To Go. Okay.
Chris LoCurto 22:31
Heather LoCurto 22:33
That's the problem. What do I need to do?
Chris LoCurto 22:36
Yeah, absolutely. So has this process been easier, hard for you? Over the years.
Heather LoCurto 22:44
It's hard. You know, it's so it's been so ingrained in me my whole life, that I still struggle with it. And and it's, you know, since we've gotten the farm and the animals, I'm seeing it more life is on the rise. One life is on the line, to I'm operating outside of my comfort zone, you're running a lot of that stuff when you're outside of your comfort zone. And there's so much unknown, and it feels so out of control, that that fear can easily creep in. And so I have to keep it in check. Of going, stop. What's going on? What's truth? Where am I lacking in knowledge? What are my resources and use those tools every single time?
Chris LoCurto 23:34
Yeah, it's funny, I was what was I doing StratPlan? I think it was when you were going through a situation up there. And I just had to you know, for me, I just had to leave come to work. You know, this is so for me, I trying to get Sunday as a as a workday for us up there. We honor Sabbath. So Sunday is our first day of the week. And so that's a workday for us. And then I trying to if possible, get a Tuesday. And if possible, that's the that's the day, I can usually spend some time up there. Getting things moving for the pointman group up there. Otherwise, I'm here at the office, tackling things or trying to doing events, whatever, man that was a lot of information. But I remember having to leave and just go hey, this is all you you know, this is you got to handle this this situation that was going on because you're the one who's leading that process out there and taking care of everything. And I remember getting to work and just in prayer for you prayer for the situation, all that kind of stuff, just realizing and feeling like God was saying no, she needs to experience this. She needs to go through this. This is a this is a massive growth moment. I don't know if it was massive, but it was a it was a pretty big growth moment for you to experience the stuff that you had to experience and how to lead yourself to that situation and lead Bryan, our team member up there. And, you know, all the situation that she ran to. Yeah, I think that was probably the least of your concerns, but still having to deal with a, again, another life threatening situation that you had to deal with. And I just remember being happy and proud that I wasn't there, that that was something that you were going to go through, you're going to deal with it, you're going to tackle it and overcome your own fears in those situations.
Heather LoCurto 25:33
Yeah, and I think it's timely, you know, I think with with this lesson that we're that we're teaching in spring, and the fact that I'm, I'm the one teaching it, I think God is definitely, you know, stretching me even more. Because, again, like I said, if you operate in a state of, you know, your world is comfortable, and you only do the things that are comfortable, and you don't take risks. And, you know, he things can become easy, and so with controlled, right, right. And then, you know, we go and get animals, and now it's not controlled. And so I'm experiencing, oh, here's that fear that I was doing pretty good here for a while I had a good stretch, because everything was comfortable. And I knew what I was doing. And every day had a rhythm. And you know, you get in this, this rhythm of I don't want to say complacency because it's not like complacency. But it's comfort, it's comfort, right. And so it's just a good, good stretching, it is muscles,
Chris LoCurto 26:43
it is fun and funny. When you recognize that God has shifted a face, you know, he's moving you into a different phase, there's a different time, there's a different thing going on, there's a different growth piece that he wants to walk us through. And we've been experiencing this well, obviously forever, our whole lives. But so much has happened in the last four years. I mean, like, just monumentally compared to other times in my life, I'm assuming the same for you. Which I shouldn't assume that. But there's so many phase changes that have happened. And it's not, it's not, it's not like sometimes God has done that, Hey, turn right here thing in my life, this is adding to adding to adding to, I'm going to have you go through this process to get some of this stuff out of you to shake some of this stuff out of you to get rid of this to to strengthen you to do whatever because the next phase, and then you get to the next phase, you're like, Okay, I'm glad I went through all that that was tough, difficult, but hey, I'm in the next phase, then it's like, oh, we're not even remotely close to done. Now, let's do this, and get rid of this and change this. And let me kick in the teeth here, because it's gonna help you, you know, as you do this piece in just phase after phase. And so I love I love doing that with you. I love experiencing that. Alright, when we come back, what you can do starting today, to move away from fear and into more freedom.
Unknown Speaker 28:16
Freedom, it's so powerful. I felt rejuvenated, almost renewed,
Unknown Speaker 28:20
I just felt so welcomed and loved and accepted for who I am and not an ounce of judgment. So I was very comfortable there that had a really big impact on me,
Unknown Speaker 28:31
it's going to be worth it. It's going to be hard. But it's going to be even better. On the other side.
Unknown Speaker 28:38
For me, it was just, it was just very refreshing. And I want to say lifegiving. For me, it really was,
Unknown Speaker 28:44
you know, I would go to next level life again. And probably again, and probably again, because it's so powerful.
Chris LoCurto 28:52
I want you to ask yourself a question. Could you hear the sense of hope and freedom and their voices just that I want you to know that could be you. Look, it's easy to get trapped in old habits, negative thought patterns and unhealthy relationships. It's gonna take some work, but yes, there is hope for you. If you want to experience the same kind of life transformation, this same kind of self awareness and freedom that they have or maybe you're just curious what the process would look like for you, then head on over to Chris accardo.com/next level life
Okay, so I've got two more questions for you. We we have got to learn to rationally determine whether our response is appropriate to the gravity of the situation, or whether our anxiety is driving unhealthy behavior. There's many times and you know, we've done this, we do this here, where somebody is going through a situation or freaking out or super fearful or whatever, and there's a couple of tools I'll use with somebody in the moment where I'll say, Hey, what is the level of fear you're experiencing that this is going to happen? And almost always, the answer is seven or eight. And then I'll walk them through, okay, well, what happens? If it does? What if it does happen? How bad would it be? And when somebody has time to stop and think about it, usually the perspective gathering and they come up with a like, well, it probably a two. Okay, so even if it does actually happen, it's really not that bad. Yeah, that's true. Another thing that we help people to experience or gain perspective on whatever that fearful thing is, most of the time, it's not dealing with the death of an animal that's right in front of you. Most of the time, it's not dealing with something has come to eat your animal coyotes have come to eat. Most of the time, people aren't dealing with that stuff. Most of the time, probably 99.9% of the time, it's man's opinion. It's fear of man. It's fear of judgment. It's fear of failure. It's all of these pieces. And the crazy thing is, is one of the tools I'll use is, hey, you're going through this, you're creating all this assumption, you're super fearful, you're super worried all this hate? Do you know that somebody is getting their head cut off somewhere in the in the world today? Do you know that somebody is losing a loved one right now, somewhere on the planet today? Question for you. Is your response equal to the potential of this assumption that you're experiencing? Right? Or even is your response equal to what's actually happening? And when somebody can gain that perspective, let's let's let's bring it back into a good level of reality. What is this thing that I'm so fearful of? Then the response usually is Oh, my gosh, this is nothing. This is nothing in the grand scheme. So question for you. You talked about what it's taken for you to move towards freedom, and away from fear. What would you say to someone who's listening and maybe struggling with fear right now? What to do right now?