This series, curated by Brian Johnson, founder of Philosophers-Notes, features big ideas from leading thinkers on a wide range of personal-development topics. Find his video summary of Fearless (free!) below.
Too often we follow our fears instead of our dreams. That’s why master life coach Steve Chandler writes books like Fearless. It’s a light-hearted and insightful volume packed with big ideas on eliminating fear from our lives.
Let’s take a peek at a few of my favorite strategies — all designed to help us turn trepidation into triumph.
1) See Problems as Gifts
The first step to getting past fear, Chandler explains, is shifting the way we perceive our problems. “That’s the fascinating thing about problems,” he writes. “When taken on, they are life-changing gifts. Once we can do the mind shift (from paranoid mode to creative mode) necessary to see them for what they are, all problems become advanced seminars in What I Now Need to Learn to Advance on This Spiritual Journey up the Ladder of Consciousness to Some Real Fun and Good Mischief and a condition we’ve all heard described as fearless.”
Want to overcome your fears? Approach your problems as life-changing gifts by moving from trepidation to taking action.
2) Challenge Your Thoughts
Another important step in seeing your problems differently is challenging your thoughts. “Thoughts create fear. Thoughts create feelings. Yet most people don’t experience it that way,” Chandler notes. “Most people experience feelings being created by external events, and other people. And the future hiding under the bed. So whenever I find a fear underneath something, I want to write the thought down behind that fear. I want to challenge the thought, and challenge it, and challenge it, as if I were an attorney in a very important case — challenging a witness. Because that thought is going to turn out to not be true. Try it and you’ll find this out.”
I love the idea that fear doesn’t just jump out of the closet and scare the daylights out of us. It’s our thoughts that create our fear. And, if we want to get rid of the fear — and all the icky feelings that come along for the ride — we’ve got to assume more control over our thoughts.
3) Focus On Giving, Not Getting
We also need to change the focus of our energy if we want to tame our terrors.
Chandler explains it like this: “Most people focus on the big get. They want to know what their efforts will get them. But the final truth is surprising: Life focused on what you’re going to get is always less abundant than life focused on what you can give. Because the one (giving) requires creativity and courage, while the other (getting) is just another form of fear.”
Whenever you’re stressed, anxious, or fearful, think about where you’re focusing your energy. Odds are that you’re focusing more on what you’re going to get (or fail to get) and not focusing enough on what you can give.
Here’s another brilliant way Chandler suggests making the get-to-give switch: “Focus on creating great things that serve others profoundly. Stay on that and money won’t be a problem. . . . There’s always enough. It’s always unlimited. Focus on creating something masterful and you cannot be afraid. The two can’t coexist.”
4) Be Someone Else
When you’re feeling stuck or scared, Chandler suggests that you pretend you’re someone who’s fearless.
“Be someone else, someone other than you. Someone else entirely who is doing it. Be Brando or be De Niro or be someone who could do it,” he writes. “Why not make up someone who would serve you instead of feeling like you’re stuck in someone who does not?”
So, next time you’ve got butterflies in your stomach, think about who you could become to fearlessly deal with whatever’s stressing you out. This “other” person can be someone you admire or it can even be a version of yourself that seems ideal.
Whether you imagine acting as if you’re an entirely different person or just the ideal version of yourself, you can have some fun breaking out of your bonds of fear and rock it!
5) Just Do Something
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of temporarily taking on a new identity, you can simply choose to do something else.
Taking action can often be an effective antidote to anxiety, Chandler notes. “Sometimes the secret of life comes down to bold, creative moves. In the mind and in the world. And maybe a truly fearless life doesn’t take a lot of accumulated wisdom. It might simply be reflected in what Southwest Airlines’ founder Herb Kelleher used to say: ‘Yes, we have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.’”
It’s tempting to get wrapped up in a pretty bundle of ideas and fancy plans, but sometimes it makes a lot more sense to ignore all that and just get to work.
How about we let go of our fears, doubts, and worries and lean into the strategic plan known as “doing things” a little more today, because when we’re flying fearlessly, we give our best gifts to ourselves, our families, and the world.
About Steve Chandler: A master coach to top professionals, Steve Chandler is the author of more than 30 books, including Time Warrior and 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, that help people overcome their fears, master their time, and astonish through service.