I’ve been struggling trying to write this post all week.
This week on our podcast I had an awesome conversation with Austin Gunter.
Austin is a marketer and blogger living in San Francisco. His articles have been seen in The New York Times, Inc.com and Smashing Magazine.
I first met Austin because of a conversation he was having at a coffee shop. I overheard him and his group discussing business, work, different books, productivity and mindfulness.
I kept drifting to their conversation. I had to introduce myself and I’m glad I did.
That action kicked off our new friendship. Austin’s one of those people I want to promote because I think his story and his ideas can help people get unstuck.
This week I invited Austin to share his career story and share why he recommends reading Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill.
We discussed his perspective on failure. He also shared some significant setbacks, failures and fears he has experienced in his life. How he chose to manage his fears and failures through multiple transitions in his life and career provided some insightful lessons, so definitely listen to this interview!
What’s really ironic is that as I’m trying to write about what I learned from him, I’m struggling with my own fears. Hell, I’ve written and erased this post five times out of fear because I thought it wasn’t going to be good enough (or whatever that means!).
I listened to my introduction for Austin about 20 times. Each time I listened, I wished I tried something different. I can’t help but compare myself to Austin, who was so natural and genuine. I felt rushed and scripted. Sometimes we’re all just too hard on ourselves, aren’t we?
It got me thinking: What am I really afraid of?
- I’m afraid to post this on facebook
- I’m afraid to share the podcast on facebook in front of my peers
- I think my introduction on the podcast sucked.
- I’m afraid of what my friends and ex-coworkers may think.
- I’m afraid to go from making six-figures to driving Uber while building UnStuckable
- I’m afraid to go from being an expert to being a novice
- I think the sound quality isn’t up to snuff
- I really want to practice fifty more times (and I know I will be producing 50 more podcasts!)
How meta is this? I’m afraid of this stuff! I don’t want to fail. In my second episode since taking over as the primary host of our podcast from Stephen, that’s exactly what I talk about with Austin: fear & failure.
Before I started recording another episode with Stephen yesterday, I told him how nervous I was about sharing something I didn’t think was “good enough” to share with my peers.
Stephen told me to let it go and push forward. He told me he’d share it on Facebook if I didn’t get over it.
Austin told me to get over it too.
I needed that from both of them.
After rewriting this post a bunch of times I’ve decided to step up and share exactly what’s on my mind. (After all, Stephen and I are trying to inspire you to do the same thing, right?) I sincerely hope this post helps you realize we all struggle with feelings of fear and failure. We all start at zero and we all start as novices.
Only by first digging into your relationship with fear and failure, can you begin to understand how to overcome it. It’s also important to be surround by supportive people, that push you through your fears, so you can grow to another level.
Thank you Stephen and thank you Austin for pushing me.
Thank you Austin for genuinely sharing your insights about your relationship with failure and fear on our podcast and your blog.
Talking with Austin taught me three things:
- The difference between good and bad fear.
- How to use good fear to overcome bad fear.
- A new perspective on failure and what to focus on instead of my fears.
The difference between good fear and bad fear.
Fear is good.
We get good fear because we need it. Good fear makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Good fear warns you when you need to be warned. Good fear makes you sharper when you need to respond to danger. Good fear kicks you into overdrive and makes you stronger when you need to be stronger. Good fear keeps us safe.
We get bad fear because we want it. We want to be safe. Fear in a loop is bad. Fear in a loop turns into worry. Fear over the long term keeps us from changing and keeps us from growing. Bad fear keeps us home when we should be out in the larger world learning new things.
5 Steps to overcome bad fear & use good fear.
“Sometimes, despite all the fear, you just gotta call it. Face the hazardry, and remember the exquisite beauty of the experience that will be your traveling companion along the way.” Austin Gunters Blog
I’ve found five steps for facing the hazardry of fear. One of them I’m doing right now by writing this post.
- Clean Out & Purge.
Clean out your crap and anything you are holding onto. You can purge mentally. You can purge physically. You can clean out your friends, your to-do list, your inbox, your closet or your car. Purging helps you recognize what’s important and what matters most. It gives you a sense of control when going through a transition or the ability to stop the loop of bad fear.
- Fuel & Energize.
What you put in is what you get out. This is true for food, sleep and exercise. Take control of your energy and give yourself the fuel to overcome your bad fear by eating healthy, getting the sleep you need and moving your body.
- Build Awareness.
Label your fears, list your fears and share your fears. This is the first major step to really turning your fears from bad to good. Instead of looping your fears around in your head you can use your brain to find ways to work through your fears. This is what I’m doing in this post. I’m sharing my fears and attacking them head on because I can see them written down.
Now that you’ve cleaned out your crap, built up your energy and targeted your fears by listing them you can use them to your benefit. This is when your good fear can be used as motivation to wake up earlier, do one more lap or make one more call.
You can’t “Do” change. Change happens when you focus. One day you notice a thought or feeling that once triggered fear, now triggers focus. our worry is no longer there. Your worry has switched to motivation.
A new perspective on failure.
Some people think it’s good to fail fast. It has become popular to make a cult of failure, but Austin doesn’t buy that sentiment. I use to be attracted to that philosophy, but now I can see its faults.
Austin shared on the podcast: Sometimes the idea of failure creates fear. When you’re trying something new, pushing yourself or making a major transition you should be scared. This fear is good. Sometimes the fear lasts longer than it should. The fear turns to bad fear when we begin to get stuck in our negative thought loop. The bad fear keeps us from clearing our mind, harnessing our energy, being aware, focusing, changing or moving in flow.
It’s times like these that I think it’s important to remind yourself of Austin’s perspective on failure.
Austin understands that nobody ever actually wants to fail. He knows that failure can often be debilitating. He understands that to really fail you’ve placed some big bets on one route or one path. Maybe you’ve invested a lot of time, money or emotion. Sometimes the emotional investment is harder to get over than the monetary investment. When something you’re emotionally invested in disappears, the sense of failure and shame can be even more palpable.
Here’s what Austin wants people to really understand about failure:
“Failure is feedback. Failure is an opportunity.”
“Failure is the thing that unequivocally grabs you by the shoulders and says the path that you are on, the way that you are living, the choices that you are making the things that you are doing are no longer serving you. You are done. You have to try something new.” – Austin Gunter (Episode 152 of the UnStuckable Podcast at 16:15)
Austin believes this feedback is an amazing opportunity.
Napoleon Hill said of failure in Outwitting the Devil, “My experience has taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls failure has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think. If he thinks accurately, and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm himself with a new plan or purpose. Most real failures are due to limitations which men set up in their own minds. If they had the courage to go one step further, they would discover their error”
Thank you again to Austin Gunter for sharing his career story and his perspective on fear, failure and Outwitting The Devil.
You can find more information about Austin on his blog at www.AustinGunter.com.
You can listen to Austin in UnStuckable Episode 152: Fear, Failure & Outwitting The Devil with Austin Gunter
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