How to use fear to get what you want
I’m not exactly sure what it is about fear. I’ve talked on a couple of videos about fear and about the gift of fear. Our brains are wired to tell us when our lives are in danger and all of a sudden, the adrenaline in our body reacts to help save our lives. Then you have the other kind of fear that is just made up, just stories that is perceived fear. It’s not real.
There’s a great book called ‘The Gift of Fear’. Please forgive me, the author’s name is escaping me right now probably because it’s Sunday and this was my day off and I’ve been relaxing but anyway, it really is a gift. Our bodies are wired to protect ourselves and that whole fight-or-flight thing can really come in handy, but let’s talk about the other types of fear.
Positive fear vs Negative Fear
I want to talk in the context of leadership. There is positive fear and then there’s super negative fear. There is leadership that comes from toxic fear and intimidation, you know what I’m talking about, right? Where they created this tension and this air that just made everybody scared. That’s negative fear. That’s when our hypothalamus goes into overdrive and the whole fight-or-flight thing kicks in and in a work environment, all that does is shut us down from any real thinking or problem-solving of being able to work to our potential. I think you all have a good sense of what that is.
Self- coaching is so important. Do you guys self-coach? There are three reasons to coach. One of them is to teach something. I’m coaching you, I’m teaching you how to play baseball. I’m teaching you how to do a particular job.
The second type of coaching is to correct behavior. If I see you do something incorrectly or not as well as you possibly could have, I need to coach you to get you back on the right path. That’s the second type of coaching.
The third type of coaching is to sustain excellence. This is like Michael Jordan, you know like Lebron, they’re at the pinnacle of their game. They still need coaching. If you’re a phenomenal player at your sport or your profession, you don’t need your coach to ignore you right?
In fact, it’s just as important that your coach keeps you going and keeps that fire lit. There’s a lot of self-coaching that happens and things that you do on your own. If you work on a team, the person over you, keeping your energy going at that pace in that speed is really important too. So that’s the three types of coaching.
But there is a type of self-coaching that can be very toxic. If you understand what I’m saying, talk to me because if you’re at home or you’re finding yourself having to work autonomously or at school having to self-motivate, this is just as much for you as it is for the senior leader that is in their 40s and 50s. You need a great coach external to you, but you got to have a really killer coach internally because honestly, that’s the one that you wake up with and the one you go to bed with at night.
I wanted to mention the positive consequences of fear because there are some great things about fear that can be positive, that can be constructive, and actually push you to do your best. There is crippling toxic fear and then there is motivating fear and the motivational fear comes from,
“What do I stand to gain? How bad do I want this thing? I want to achieve X and if I don’t hit that, I’m going to feel yuck and if I’m afraid of feeling yuck, I need to step up my game.”
Does that make sense? That’s the fear of not hitting my target and it is a positive stressor. They call that eustress. So, if I fear not achieving what I want to achieve or fear the feelings that I’m going to have, what do I give up if I don’t achieve that?
If you’re in charge of reviewing other employees, when you say, “Hey, if you don’t do this, this is what’s going to happen.”, that can easily sound like a threat. You could couple that with, “Hey, if you don’t do this, here’s the negative consequence and if you do this here are the positive consequences.” Always have positive consequences because those are the ones that will generate that sense of positive fear. “I don’t want to miss out on the positive consequences that tells my brain I’m not a fighter. I don’t need to be in fight or flight mode. I need to be in ‘pedal to the metal’ mode. Look what I have to gain if I do this instead of just focusing on what bad things going to happen to me.”
There’s so much positive fear that can be created by a good coach either external to you or internal to you when you wake up in the morning. “Hey, I could lay in the bed today. I could procrastinate more, but if I do that here are the consequences,” and if I’m afraid of those consequences, I’ll be more motivated inclined to get up and do something.
So, two things I want to do tonight on my day off is to get you thinking about the positive aspects of fear versus the toxic fear that we know sucks. It’s hard to self-coach, it is really hard. The cool thing about that though is you get to tell your head what to think. All you have to do is say something to tell yourself something different and guess what, your mind will believe you if you think hard enough.
I was talking to someone today that I love so much and the people she lives with are just very negative, not inspiring, and not empowering. So, all of that is on her to do for herself and if you’re in a position like that at work or at home, or both, you have to get good at this. If you can do it for yourself, I’m telling you one hundred percent of the way you think is in your control.
If you follow me, I am a tremendous advocate of mental health and sometimes we might need some counseling, sometimes we may need some medication. They’re things that potentially cause the chemicals in your brain to get off and we might need some help getting them back on track. That’s a fact. However, if we know that our brain is chemically balanced with or without medication, our brain in and of themselves can be controlled. We don’t you don’t have to accept the natural way your head thinks.
Feelings aren’t Facts
Feelings are driven by our brain’s responses to stimuli. They’re not facts and our brain is wired to operate at the lowest common denominator. Our brains are lazy. That’s why habits are so hard to break. That’s the truth that’s science not KimRey’s Science.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and your experience because my experience is only mine and it may not be relevant to anybody’s. My goal is to get you thinking a little different. So, again tonight the point is to recognize toxic fear.
If someone is talking to me in a way that makes me afraid, it shuts my brain down. People are leading me in a way that makes me fearful which makes me make more mistakes and compromise my results versus positive fear that comes from understanding, if I don’t perform, then I won’t be able to achieve what I want and I’m scared of that. I am flat out scared and not being able to feed my kid or put him through college or I don’t know.
So now I have a healthy fear that if I don’t do these things that may or may not be comfortable for me, I might not be prepared in the future and my fear of not being prepared drives me forward. That my friends is positive stress, that is eustress, that’s positive fear that helps drive me to get better results and do more be more be better.
I hope this will help you as you go into your week. I want you to think about what you think about, recognize when you’re feeling fear and ask yourself, “Is this toxic fear that I’m fearing that has absolutely no value whatsoever or is this positive fear where I want to put it in my gas tank and let it fuel me up to achieve what I really want to achieve?”. Recognize it if it’s toxic fear. I want you to cut that out, cut the toxic figure out because literally all toxic fear does is spin you out in fight or flight mode like animals in the jungle, but we are human beings. Our brain has that extra part this whole frontal lobe that’s about problem solving and we get to tell ourselves how we want to think.
Your feelings aren’t facts. Get to the facts and tell yourself what you want to think. Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts you have had again and again and again and again. When you think the same thing over and over again, it becomes a belief. If you want to believe that you’re lucky, think you’re lucky today. I’m lucky. I’m lucky. I’m lucky. I’m lucky. I’m lucky. Lucky is nothing, but believing.
Just do it.
Just try it.
Just try and let me know how it goes for you because that’s what I’m doing. I am self-coaching like it is my job. I love y’all.
Thank you so much!