Most people face fear at some point in their lives. A threat can come from something physical, emotional, financial, or many other sources. However it arrives, fear can stop you in your tracks and alter your path dramatically. It's the most basic human reaction: fight or flight. Left un-checked, fear can hold you back from achieving your true potential. This is particularly true in your career and in your relationships.
YPO member Brandon Webb has faced fear head on, and did not blink. Interestingly, his most fearful moments in life didn't happen during his time in the SEALs. Instead, they happened when he faced the possibility of personal failure for a second time, after losing his first business in 2008 and a divorce shortly after. Despite his fear of starting over again in business, Webb founded two additional companies. Today he is CEO and founder of Hurricane Group, a men's lifestyle brand with digital media and ecommerce products. In five years he's grown it to a company valued at over $100 million, with content that reaches 50 million men every month. Brandon is a New York Times bestselling author, and just released his latest book, Mastering Fear. Webb is also the co-founder of GSD Logistics, a third party logistics business focused on ecommerce fulfillment, and on using smart contracts with Blockchain to create transparency for its customers.
Here is just some of Webb's advice on how to overcome fear in your life:
1. Don't Deny It
Fear is a natural emotion. Just because Webb was a SEAL doesn't mean he hasn't felt fear as viscerally as anyone else. "I'm no stranger to fear," Webb says. "We all deal with it every day of our lives as human beings." But feeling it and succumbing to it are different. He explains, "I think I've just had some lessons early in life that have helped me make a habit out of recognizing fear as an inhibitor and learning to overcome it as a habit." Practice, of course, improves performance.
2. Help Someone Else
Webb turned his attention to fear after helping someone else overcome his fear. Webb shares, "I wrote Mastering Fear after teaching my best friend Kamal how to swim and overcome his fear of water." Everyone has something, or many things, in their lives that hold them back, and Webb and his friends are no exception. "Kamal is an incredibly successful guy, but he'd finally had enough and wanted to overcome his fear of water. After teaching him in one week, he said the experience changed his life and I needed to write about it," Webb explains. When you see someone overcome that kind of mental challenge, it highlights your own overblows fears, and inspires you to face them head on.
3. Channel It
Many people freeze or otherwise cower in the face of fear. One night, Webb was on a helicopter over the Persian Gulf, trying to help the pilot land on a destroyer to refuel. He quickly realized that the pilot had brought them down right over open waters. When Webb communicated this to the pilot, the pilot crumbled. Webb describes, "Our pilot, the guy in charge of this operation, the guy who's supposed to be our leader, is now seized by full-on panic--and he freezes. He screams, 'What's happening? Oh god oh god oh god!' and takes zero corrective action. Fear had paralyzed him, taken him, swallowed him whole." Thankfully, the co-pilot kept his wits about him. "We didn't die, though, for one reason: our copilot, Kennedy, knew how to harness fear. He ignored our useless gibbering pilot and commandeered the controls himself, pulling us up out of the water and planting us safely on the destroyer's deck. Fear like that will let you do impossible things--if you know how to channel it," Webb asserts. Instead of letting the fear overpower you, use it to your advantage. Use the adrenaline to do something useful.
4. Mental Management
One of the most important methods of mastering fear Webb shares is from his SEAL days. "In Navy SEAL sniper school, we teach mental management tools that help push negative thoughts and self-talk out of your heads," he explains. He goes on, "Sometimes we are our own worst enemy when it comes to the stories we make up in our head about fear. We say, "I'm not good enough,' or ask, 'What will they think of me?' None of it is productive." Webb believes this may be the most powerful tool he can share, saying, "If there were one take-away, it's learning the way to replace bad self-talk with positive self-talk," he concludes. You have incredible power inside yourself to control your reactions, but make sure you use the power for good.
Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.