Fear is your friend.
Fear is your ally.
Fear is one of the greatest motivational tools that you have available.
All my life I’d cruised through everything from school to my career; the truth was that it was all too easy for me. I had too many options and was a career dilettante.
The fear had been missing, and as a result, I never achieved my potential. It was only when I woke up one morning and realised that I was in danger of life passing me by that I got scared.
It felt like my back was against the wall and this was my absolute last chance to get it right.
When I look back on those times, I was like a man possessed – fear and (self) anger drove me on to build a relentless work ethic. It was 4 am and I’d been ushered out of the hospital room because my son was being delivered by emergency caesarian, so I wrote programs and articles.
I thought constantly about every single detail of how to improve as a Trainer and a businessman. It was damned hard work, but I harnessed the fear to push me to do things that my previous complacency had never allowed me to do.
That was 10 years ago, and since that time I’ve built a global business that is on its way to fulfilling all the professional and financial goals that I have set for myself. Does that mean that I’m now comfortable?
I am never comfortable in business. I don’t sit at my desk shaking with fear about the next deal that might go wrong, but I always have that fear that “this person might let me down” (so I have to do a deal that means we have mutually aligned self-interest) or “this new gym is in a different market, it might fail” (so I have to pull out all the stops in making it succeed).
I know that some people see fear as their enemy and in some instances this is correct. You don’t want to go through life fearful that your lover will cheat on you or that your friend doesn’t really like you. But fear isn’t negative if you can channel it productively.
The gurus will tell you that you don’t want to fear failure. They are talking shit as usual.
You need to see failure as an inevitable byproduct of travelling the road to success and just a hurdle that every competitor has to overcome, so how you overcome it is another chance to outperform. You need to post Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” on your fridge door and remind yourself that triumph and disaster are both temporary imposters.
You need to see failure as being transitory, but you also need to be sh*t scared of it. You need to be scared of losing money, you need to be moved to mountains of anger if you lose a client unnecessarily, you need to be militant in protecting your reputation and good name. You need to accept that there are only so many second chances.
And then you need to use that fear to set your personal standards. If your life depended upon it, would you get in shape? If you had no safety net and needed money to pay your daughter’s medical bills would you work a second or third job?
We all have remarkable achievements locked away inside of us. The odd one of us doesn’t even need fear to push them far, but for the rest if us fear is your friend so long as (paradoxically) you’re not too scared to pull it close and whisper in its ear “F*ck you fear, I can’t get rid of you but you’re still gonna be my bitch”.