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Insane Bravery

Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; courage means you don’t let fear stop you.

Many of your hopes and dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

In 1989 I went to an Elton John concert. Man I had fun! On the drive home I had a dream. I wanted to learn how to play the piano. After seeing Elton John bust out amazing songs on his piano I thought, I'm going for it. I want to learn how to play. One problem. I was 28-years old and I had never played an instrument or had taken one music class. By the time I got in the house, the dream was pretty much dead gone. Fear placed my excitement on hold.

I was thinking things like what would my wife think? Would my friends think buying a keyboard and trying to learn how to play was weird or even dumb?

I've noticed something, no matter how excited we are by an opportunity, an experience, anything, fear possesses the ability to seize excitement and paralyze it and place it on hold.

Fear can bring us to our knees. So here are three key things you need to remember as you move toward INSANE BRAVERY:

1. Fear paralyzes action.

Fortunately, all fears are learned. No one is born with fears. Fears can therefore, be unlearned by practicing self-discipline repeatedly with regard to fear until it goes away. I like to take very small, tiny baby steps to try and overcome some of my fears.

Years ago, my wife had a fear of heights. She wanted to overcome this fear so she could enjoy hiking in Colorado. She connected with an expert hiker whose part-time job was to jump out of an airplane in the middle of a forest fire to try and put the fire out. Talk about insane bravery! Bit by bit he built her confidence up and after several months of reversing her fear of heights, she went canyoneering down a huge waterfall! No way!!

Today, we have both canyoneered and have done some amazing hikes and climbs.

2. Visualize Yourself As Unafraid

Visualizing yourself doing that thing you're afraid of with confidence and competence, your visual image will eventually be accepted by your subconscious mind as instructions for what you need to do to overcome.

Your self-image, the way you see yourself and think about yourself, is eventually changed by feeding your mind positive mental pictures of yourself performing at your best. I've done this a lot and it works!

I was asked to give a motivational talk on leadership at the Louisiana Super Dome. I was told there would be over 30,000 people in the audience. Holy Roman Empire Batman!! I was so freaked out when I heard this. I had one month to prepare. Over and over I would visualize myself giving this speech in this giant dome. The day of my motivational talk, heck yeah I was nervous but I'll be honest, I was NOT freaked-out. I did not shake or quiver. I gave my talk and received a standing ovation. What?! I was so excited how I had overcome a HUGE fear that was within me just 30 days earlier.

3. You are not alone in feeling fearful.

I'm going to confess something to you. I have a "phone-phobia." Not all the time but a lot of the time I have a fear of calling and making an appointment on the phone or if I don't know who is calling me, I always let the phone go to voicemail.

You see, years ago as a child, our family was very poor. When we got behind on paying our bills, we'd get a phone call by these people called bill collectors. My parents would have me always answer the phone and I'd be the one who'd talk to the bill collector. They were kind of mean and intimidating on the phone. I know, this might sound silly but even today, the phone-fear thing still messes with me.

Guess what I found out? I'm not alone. Everyone has some sort of fear. Remember, so many of us are fighting the same exact battles. What matters is taking those baby steps forward to someday win the battle!

Oh yeah, now back to learning how to play the piano. Elton John was amazing like I said and during my drive home I was planning on buying a keyboard and learning how to play. But by the time I got home I was laced with fear. "Michael, you are 28 and you have NEVER played ANY instrument or had musical lessons of any kind". However, the next morning I headed to the music store, I bought a keyboard and a few "How to Play the Piano" books and well, today I love playing Elton John songs like crazy!

I'll never forget a couple of years ago being in an Irish pub in Bray, Ireland. A musician had just finished playing his set. He had a keyboard on stage. I told him he was awesome and I love music. He asked,"Hey do you play?" I said, "I play the piano." He said, "Hey mate, play something." So I did. I played U2's (band from Ireland) song With or Without You. It was a blast and the Irish people in the pub were so kind and applauded.

Even the smallest step toward defeating a fear in your life is INSANE BRAVERY!

Your turn...

If you’re feeling up to it, I'd love to hear from YOU. Which point discussed above resonated (spoke) to you the most today?

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