During an event I hosted awhile back, I had an interesting conversation with Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman about his experiences in combat.
I asked him the question: “What would your choice be if you had to pick an ideal wingman to go into combat?”
His response might just surprise you . . .
The macho pilots are the ones that don’t come home. The ones with courage, who are scared on the inside even though they appear to be fearless, are the ones you want to fly with. That’s because they don’t let their feelings dictate their actions.
My jaw dropped! This was insanely powerful! His sheer break down of what appears to look like courage and what actually is courage astonished me.
What can this advice teach us about fear that so many of us are often in a constant state of misunderstanding this popular word?
Well, for starters, being fearless isn’t necessarily a good character trait. Now, I’m not saying that you should be fearful, but I am saying that it’s okay to have a healthy amount of “fear”, or a set of emotions that allow us to check in with ourselves.
In short, if you’re not careful, being fearless can make you reckless and forget about some of the details in the process.
Courage, on the other hand, is something to aspire to. And courage is not the absence of fear; it’s being afraid but doing it anyway. That’s the difference between courage and fearlessness.
See, everyday, we all get to make the decision:
“Am I going to move forward today, in spite of my fear, or not?”
We’ve got choices to make and fear to get over. If the fear is there, it’s not a bad thing! It’s proof that you are pursuing something worthwhile. It means you feel something. It lets you know you’re alive, making moves, trying new things and forging new paths.
And of course, it reminds you to have faith.
At the end of the day, what’s truly important is that we be courageous and move towards our goals, and go right through the fear; right through the little noise inside of us that tells us any number of reasons why it won’t work out and then do it anyways.
If it’s one thing I could tell you, it’s as simple as this:
Fear shouldn’t be feared.
It’s a powerful tool that tells you that you are doing something outside your comfort zone – the only place real progress is made.
I remember my first couple of years as an entrepreneur. Man, I set out to prove to people that I wasn’t a loser. Yeah, I was really in my head at that time. I had such a fear of looking like a fool and embarrassing myself, just like I did on the baseball diamond at age 9 all those years ago.
I was trying to catch a fly ball. I got myself into position, held my glove up and caught it. Oh, I caught it all right . . . right in the forehead.
I’m actually laughing now as I write this, but back then my friends laughed and laughed at me. From that moment on, I made a promise to myself that I would never be embarrassed like that again. The fear will be there, but my desire not to feel like that again is bigger than my fear.
Please note, I also learned that it’s okay to make mistakes and embarrass yourself every now and then. It’s good for checking the ego. (laughter)
However, the key point is that there will always be some healthy dose of fear, especially on the goals and commitments you made to yourself. And regardless of following through on the commitments that you’ve made, the fear is going to be there.
Think about it . . . How often do we change our minds, our focus, our direction, and what we’re doing based on how we feel in the moment?
Don’t get me wrong, your feelings are very real; we all have them.
But you are NOT your feelings. They don’t control you.
And although you can’t control them sometimes, you can always control how you act in spite of them. When you make a commitment or decision from the right place in your heart, your head, and your business, there’s no going back, and why would you.
Where would your business and your life be right now if you had not followed through on the last three major decisions or commitments you made for yourself?
Remember that we as humans do a pretty good job of following through on verbalized commitments.
It’s one thing to think something in our heads, but once we actually say it and it’s out there in the universe, we feel a much greater accountability towards making it happen.
What we have to get good at as entrepreneurs, is to keep those self promises that no one else but us knows about. When we’re alone and no one can hear us, those are the times when it is most important that we keep the commitments we make to ourselves.
Right now I want you to think about the last three commitments you made to yourself in your head. Whether you verbalized them or not, you’re still breaking your word to yourself if you don’t follow through.
And breaking your word to yourself has consequences. It’s like losing traction on your tires, one lug at a time. If that keeps happening, you’ll find yourself literally spinning your wheels in your business.
In short, it’s very important to keep your commitments to you because it means you’re in integrity with yourself. This is a major source of personal power. This is where your POWER as an entrepreneur comes from.
The fact is, you can’t honor commitments to others when you cannot honor them to yourself. Remember, when we break our word to our self, it’s no different than breaking our word to our spouses, business partners, or wingmen. You could even say it’s worse, because it’s all on you.
As we continue through this holiday season towards the new year, I want you to make it a resolution to keep your resolutions; keep those commitments that truly mean something to you.
It even helps to look in the mirror and tell yourself about your commitments. Trust me, I know this totally sounds cheesy, but it truly works for me. Just verbalize them to yourself and others.
I’m telling you, putting them out there makes it that much more powerful. And when you do it, tell yourself the days of you breaking your commitments to yourself and others are DONE. 2017 is the year you will empower yourself by keeping your word to yourself, your family and friends, and your business partners – all in that order.
Honor Your Commitments
I can’t tell you the sense of empowerment you will feel when you honor your commitments. They will be unsurpassed by anything you’ve experienced before. Put yourself out there and be bold! The commitments that are bold push us to perform at a higher level and are the ones that give us the most power to change our circumstances and lives for the better.
Oh, and don’t commit to something you won’t follow through on just to please others and be liked in the process. You’re going to have to let that shit go.
It’s about the commitments you make to yourself; the ones that really mean something to your core. Those are the most important ones and the ones you should break LAST, if you’re going to break any.
Finally, remember that you cannot serve others unless you serve yourself, which means one thing . . . you need to keep your word to yourself at all costs.
And you don’t have to do it by yourself. One of my core values is to surround myself with a team of wingmen who fly by my side and make me stronger.
Find your wingmen who will be by your side through the dogfights in life. Commit to yourself and commit to them. Once you do that, you will want to push through the terror barrier of your feelings every time they attack you.
Your fear will be there in 2017, but it won’t be ready for you. It’s a new year and a blank slate, and you’re coming at it stronger than ever with a commitment to yourself that you’re not afraid to do anything to keep.
And that my friends, is what will make you an unstoppable force this coming year!
Please comment below and tell me your #1 commitment for 2017