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FEAR is the number one reason that people never
achieve their breakthrough to success. Yes, we can blame other
people for not giving us the chance. We can lament that we took the
wrong course. We can express concern about the uncertainty of
obtaining that success, and maybe, just maybe I'll look stupid.
In short, our fear comes down to two enemies. Our
uncertain future and our excuses from the past. Or. More simply:
“what if” and “If only”.
What if/If only
When you have a goal worth achieving, you will need
to achieve breakthroughs.
Breakthroughs that take you outside of your comfort
zone and going outside your comfort zone is fearful.
So what can you do to ensure that you create the
necessary breakthroughs that will lead to your dramatic
And we have to conquer two enemies: âWhat ifâ and âIf
And each requires you to do two things:
- Take courage
- Get off your âbutâ
Let me share a brief personal story:
Known as the Swiss Wall, La Chavanette at Avoriaz is
one of the most dangerous ski slopes in the world.
It is a disturbingly steep, mogul run and the slope
gets icy quickly, turning the area between moguls into ice sheets.
Not making a turn in these situations means that you miss the next
mogul, and pick up too much speed to make the next one after that,
starting off a tumble that ends a couple of hundred metres down the
slope, while hitting a few dozen icy bumps in the course.
A number of years ago, as a reasonable, but by no
means good skier, I decided that I just had to conquer this
Why? Well, I can only now think that it was a moment
of sheer madness. At the time, however, I just wanted to prove to
myself that I could do it.
Standing at the top of the slope, I looked down the
40 degree slope with considerable fear mixed with trepidation,
mixed with determination and a whole lot of cortisol and adrenaline
pumping through my body.
I took about 5 minutes to muster up the courage. To
launch myself off the edge.
It was exhausting, knee jangling, hard concentrated
deliberate movements. Desperately remembering to keep my weight
down the hill and my edges as loose as I dared. Turn after turn
after turn after turn. Around one mogul, push off, turn, shift
weight, edge, again and again and again. Endorphins took over from
the adrenaline to mask the pain in my legs and screaming lungs.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, I arrived at
the bottom of the slope. My legs like jelly, my heart racing tears
from the icy wind streaming down my face. Every fibre of my body
was pulsing with electricity and sheer, unbounded joy as dopamine
filled my entire being. I was alive, I had done it. I hadnât
fallen. I had conquered the wall.
I hadnât been fast. It hadnât been elegant. But it
had been me.
FEAR is the #1 issue when it comes to making a
FEAR is what you FEEL when your Amygdala (the
emotional centre of your brain) considers that there is a threat to
you and signals the production of Cortisol.
Cortisol floods your blood stream and informs your
heart to beat faster, your lungs to pump faster, your legs and arms
to prepare to run or to fight and since all this demands energy,
your digestive system is shut down. What you FEEL is warmer, youâll
perspire more due to the energy in your muscles and faster heart
beat. You have âbutterfliesâ in your stomach as the digestive tract
is closed for business (heck who needs to digest food if you are
about to be eatenâ¦
Only, you are not about to be eaten. Itâs highly
likely that you are not about to die, nor about to get injured.
The amygdala response is a primitive and essential
trigger for survival. But it is very poor at distinguishing between
a real threat to life and limb, and one that might possibly hurt
your pride. Itâs the same cortisol induced response.
Your amygdala is essentially like a sentry guard
checking the external environment and your own thinking process for
the slightest sign of a threat to you. It is a trigger happy sentry
guard at that, shooting first and asking questions later.
Everytime you are thinking about stepping out of your
comfort zone, your amygdala is going âwhat if thisâ¦ what if
There is good news. You have a brain that is much
more than your amygdala. You have a neo-cortex. You are intelligent
and can consciously choose to think and choose to override the
There is a snag. The amygdala has already pulled the
trigger on cortisol production. THEN you can think. It is a
deliberate, conscious effort. One that you are perfectly capable of
doing. I know this. Because I know that you have moved out of your
warm bed today. That was a safe place. Comfortable too. The world
outside. Well itâs full of threats. You could get knocked down by a
bus. A freak wind could come and blow your house away. You could be
struck by lightening. All are possible. Yet you still got out of
bed this morning. That took courage.
And, youâve been on a plane and flown somewhere?
Do you know the pilot personally? You probably didnât
even see the pilot and you trusted your very life to someone you
donât know and havenât even seen. And youâre onboard a metal tube,
filled with explosive fuel traveling at 600 miles an hour some 3
miles above the planet.
You see, you take courage every day. Some days more
than others. Well if you can board a plane, you can get a personal
Courage, after all, is doing something with fear.
If what you are doing is not fearful. It ainât going
to be a breakthrough.
Get off your but
Now, Iâm not being rude here. This is BUT with a
single T, not two. I am not referring to your backside. I mean, get
off your excuses.
This is your second breakthrough enemy.
If only refers to yesterday and more often than not,
somebody else or something else that you donât control.
If only the economy was betterâ¦
If only my boss would recognize my hard work
If only the weather was warmer
If only I hadnât eaten that slice of cake
The variation of If only is the âshould familyâ. I
should have, he should, she should, they should.
The simple fact of the matter is this:
There are things pertaining to your dreams and goals
that you are not able to control.
Life happens all the time.
And, you have made mistakes.
Actually, Iâd better check here, is there anyone
listening who hasnât ever made a single mistake? Is there somebody
out there who is perfect in every way? If there is, what are you
We all do things that we regret. Things we should
have done, things we should NOT have done. People we crossed.
Choices we made.
These have happened.
These are NOT excuses.
These are opportunities to do something different
from now on.
In another podcast How to hack motivation to make you
happier, I shared that your happiness of your success is achieved
when you are progressively moving towards the achievement of your
goals that are beyond your current comfort zone, so that they
stretch you. Your progress towards those breakthrough goals makes
Today, Iâve shared the fact that you have two main
enemies to achieving those breakthroughs â âIf Onlyâ and âWhat IFâ
and how you take courage and get off your but to choose to continue
on in spite of your fear.
So what do we do about it.
We acknowledge the facts. Yes, maybe you SHOULD have
done something different. But you didnât. Simply acknowledge this
is so. Even if this is someone elseâs perception (and their
perception is âwrongâ â it is still their perception and maybe they
shouldnât have that perception, but they do.
Harsh? Some of you may think this is too much. That
they really should change, that it isnât you that needs to change
but them. But whether they do or not doesnât matter. Only you can
look after you.
You may have disappointments or regrets about the
past. Acknowledge these.
Once we acknowledge the past, we can learn from it.
Are there any patterns? What would you do differently now, knowing
what did happen.
Thirdly we adjust our behaviour from now.
Put the past where it belongs:
- Acknowledge what
- Learn from it, and
- Adjust behaviour.
What if I do that and there's a problem in the
If only someone would tell me the real secret to
successâ¦. Oh, yes, I did that a couple of weeks ago in a podcast on
The Three Step Secret to Success â How to realise your dreams
One thing you can do right now is give this podcast a
rating and a review on the website, iTunes or Stitcher now. Your
review and rating will help other people overcome their obstacles
of their past and their future.
Be greatly blessed