351 - Speed Reduces Fear - John Laurito

Many of us experience fears when it comes to doing things outside of our comfort zones, such as pursuing a new career, starting a business, or asking for a raise. These fears can leave us feeling uncertain and doubt our ability to succeed. In today’s episode, host John Laurito emphasizes the importance of taking action to overcome these fears. It is helpful to focus on the first step that needs to be taken rather than fixating on the end result. We can gradually build momentum and gain confidence in our abilities by taking action. It’s important to remember that taking action is the only way to overcome our fears and achieve our goals.

[0:00] Intro

[1:12] Storytime!

[8:29] We make the fear worse just by waiting

[10:17] Just jump at it

[15:22] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.


John All right, Tomorrow’s Leaders, welcome to the show. Welcome back. Thank you for your faithful listening. I know when you saw the notification on your podcast system saying Tomorrow’s Leader, new episode, you’re thinking, hold, what the? I haven’t seen a new episode in a long time. 


John Yes, I know it’s been a long time. I’ve been on the road a lot, but the good news is I’ve built up a tremendous amount of episodes that I have in the bank that are going to be produced. I’ve got tons and tons of content to share with you from all kinds of different scenarios, situations, and traveling experiences. So I’m in production mode now, so you will be seeing quite a bit come through soon. So thank you for your patience. Part of my travels were to Mexico. I went to Puerto Vallarta with my kiddos, and it was fantastic. 


John I highly recommend going to Puerto Vallarta if you have never been before. This was my third time there, first time with the kids at an age where they could really enjoy it. So we had a ton of fun. And one of the things that we did was this beach excursion, or this hidden kind of beach area. Beautiful, beautiful place. Take a boat to this kind of remote secluded area and spend the day there doing all kinds of stuff. You know, swimming, relaxing in hammocks, and kayaking and all kinds of stuff. You can do scuba diving. And one of the things they had were these different courses or stations or whatever you call them that you could kind of test your ability to handle fear or get your adrenaline rush. 


John And for those of you who’ve been listening to the show for a while, you know I love seeking those types of things. I’ve done skydiving before, done all kinds of stuff. If you remember back a number of episodes, I think that was probably, I guess to this point, a couple years ago, I told the story of the scariest experience truly that I’ve ever had which was jumping off a 100 foot platform kind of right at the top of the treetops and truly much more scary than skydiving. So go back if you can find that episode. It’s probably around 100 or so but it’s a cool story. So one of the things that we had at this excursion was this one kind of test of your ability to handle fear. And what it was, if you can picture this, were a series of telephone poles that you had to stand up on the top of. 


John And it started off as like two feet tall, so it was really nothing. And then it goes to three feet and then there’s the one next to it. And these are all probably, I’m gonna say, three feet apart from each other. So it’s close enough so you can step to the other one, but it’s far enough so you can’t just put your foot out there. You really have to make the full commitment. So it’s not like you get more than one chance. If you’re going for it, you’re going for it. You’re either making it or you’re falling. And of course, they have a harness so you’re you’re you’ve got this belt or this harness and you’ve got this cable And this cable is running all the way, you know up to the to the very very top high up And and there’s a girl that’s holding this pulley thing. That’s kind of if you were to fall off She’s the one holding you. It’s it’s another fear factor because I’m thinking okay. 


John I’m 250 pounds is she gonna be able to Operate this thing and and avoid me splatting into the ground like a pancake. So in any event, so it’s, they’re three feet apart. It starts at two feet high, then it’s four feet, then it’s six feet, then it’s eight feet, then it’s 10 feet. And you go through this course and this sequential order of these telephone poles and you’re going on stepping on top. Now you have nothing to hold on to. There’s nothing. So your hands are free, if you can picture this, and you’re truly stepping onto the top of a telephone pole. So you know there’s no room on the top of a telephone pole. 


John Your feet barely fit on it. And it’s one thing when they’re two, four, six, eight, 10 feet off the ground, but as they get higher and higher, this is the scariest looking thing. Just if you look at it, you’re thinking, okay, wait a sec, I don’t want to do this. And so they go up sequentially up to the highest one, I’m going to say it’s 40 or 50 feet off the ground. It is really high. And so we’re looking at this, I’m with my kids, and we all decide, okay, we’re going to do it. You get strapped up in the harness, we’re watching a couple of people do it before us. 


John People are falling off. Sky goes first, brave, brave soul, and she makes it up maybe four, I’m going to say, like maybe up to the eight foot type of thing and then she jumps off and you know just kind of freezes up there. So that sets the tone for this and then Nick goes and I’m honestly I’m watching Nick do this thing and he’s he’s wobbling as he goes now he gets up to the 8 foot one and then the 10 foot one and again you kind of got it you’re not jumping but you’re really making a full commitment once you put your foot out there again you can’t just kind of feel it and see if you get your balance you really have to make the full commitment so he goes to the 10 foot then he goes to the 14 foot, 16 foot, 18 foot, 20 foot, and I’m seeing now at this point, he’s about halfway through the course, these telephone poles are wobbling. I mean, he’s literally standing on the 20 foot one and it’s swaying back and forth and he’s like yelling, he’s like, and he just can’t, he’s like, okay, I don’t think I can go anymore. 


John And he’s halfway there and we’re cheering him on and stuff like that and he takes another step and he makes it to the 22 foot and the 24 foot and the 26 and the 28 and now he’s up past 30 he’s almost there he’s probably got 5 or 6 more to go and he gets all the way to the very one before the last one now this one is truly terrifying looking because it just seemingly looks even like a further like they’ve spaced it out even further this one actually looks like you have to jump to really get to it and sure enough I’m watching him and he musters up the courage and he does it and he makes it all the way to the end makes it to the top and then he jumps off and you know high five and super pumped well I’m watching this I am now terrified I am I am truly shaking shaking like a leaf I don’t want to do this thing. I really don’t. 


John And then something just like went through my mind. I’m like, you know what? I’m just going to do this because part of what I saw him do was as he stopped and waited and stood there and swaying back and forth, his fear was like elevated and it kind of froze him. And that’s what happened with Sky. So I’m like, you know what, I’m literally just not going to think and I’m just going to go from one to the next to the next to the next and I’m just going to do it reasonably as fast as I can. I’m not going to run and jump. I’m going to do it though without hesitation. And I just went from one to the second to the third to the fourth to the fifth I got all the way to like you know I had one or two more I’m hesitating a little bit but I just made that last final leap and barely like terrified I’m standing up on this last one swaying back and forth almost in disbelief like that I went that fast and and then I jumped off and landed safely and this and that. And just unbelievable feeling. But here was the key thing. 


John The thing that this made me realize is how important, you know, last episode I talked about fear factor and how you can change your ability to handle fear based on changing your surroundings. I gave the example of watching a movie with somebody, a scary movie, versus watching it by yourself in a dark, old house that’s uninhabited and, you know, you’re up in the attic. I mean just like terrifying situation makes a really scary situation that much worse versus if you watch it with other people. Go back to that episode, take a listen. But this is another factor, right? So the worst part about fear is that we tend to make it worse by just waiting, right? That the anticipation is the worst part. 


John So there’s so many scary things that we have to do in stepping outside our comfort zone and the worst part of it is not actually the moment that we’re doing it. It’s all those moments before that we’re thinking about it and we’re thinking about it. We’re not thinking about the success. We’re thinking about the failure. We’re thinking about falling off and, you know, falling off this pole and this girl’s not able to hold me and I splat on the ground. I’m thinking about the worst-case scenario. So if I’m thinking about that call, that big call that’s making me really nervous, I don’t want to make it, I’m not thinking about making the call and having a successful outcome. The more I’m thinking, I’m actually anticipating and drumming up all these horrible scenarios in my mind. 


John I’m thinking about this person hanging up on me or not being receptive or if I’m thinking about taking a chance with something, I’m just thinking the longer I think about all the possible things that could go wrong. I’m thinking about the embarrassment, the failure, the setback, the rejection, the disappointment, whatever it is. Those are the things that are filling my mind. That’s just human tendency. So the next time you’re facing a fear, just jump at it. You know, we’ve had all kinds of situations. I know you guys, I’m doing this and you’re listening to this. You’re thinking, yeah, you know, there’s tons of times either I chickened out and never did anything or I waited so long that it ultimately, I didn’t have the success I could have had. 


John I remember a point, I remember my career, it was early in my leadership career and I was in a meeting with people that were well above, I was kind of the lowest rung in the totem pole in this meeting. But I remember the conversation and I remember I had an idea, something that I was going to throw out that really I think could have solved the problem or would have been a good idea. And I’m sitting there thinking, I’m like, you know, I’m the new guy here. I was just like I’m at a place and I’m thinking, I’m kind of thinking to myself, maybe it’s really not that good of an idea. Maybe it’s, you know, I just kind of rethought it and I’m thinking, okay, well, maybe after the meeting I’ll throw it out. And we get toward the end of the meeting and someone else throws out the idea. And they throw out the idea and everybody says, wow, that’s awesome. That’s exactly what we need to do. 


John Now I’m sitting here thinking, I thought of that like 30 minutes ago, but I was too chicken to say something. And because of that, I lost the opportunity to get some recognition or some credit or at that point early in my career, that’s, you know, the new guy that gives an idea that’s actually valuable. There’s some benefit to that, right? But because I thought too long and I’m hesitant and I’m weighing out all these factors that probably were unrealistic, I ended up not saying something I should have said. And then because of that, I didn’t get the credit that I should have gotten. It was somebody else that did. So I think about things like that. 


John There’s all kinds of stuff. You might be thinking about that call you have to make or the conversation you need to have. One of the episodes I did a while back was the 3% that makes the other 97% happen. One of the easiest things you can do to overcome that fear factor is if you’ve got a tough conversation that you need to have with somebody and you’ve just been delaying it because of fear is just make the first step. Tell that person, hey, I have something really important that I want to talk to you about. Can we talk tomorrow night or tomorrow morning or today? And once you’ve said that, you’ve now committed, right? That person is not gonna let you off the hook and say, wait a sec, you can’t chicken out of it at that point, right? So you can take that small step, which is that 3% that makes the other 97% happen. 


John And whether it’s, you know, you’re asking your boss for a raise or you’re trying to get a promotion or trying to ask somebody out or you’re telling somebody, giving some tough feedback, whatever it is that you’re delaying, ultimately that’s making it worse. And just commit. Take that first step. Hey, I got something I really want to talk to you about. I got quite important question I need to ask you. It’s interesting because the people that face fears, here’s the thing that happens. I get asked a lot of times how do you increase your confidence and that’s a big one right? If you could take a pill that would give you three times the confidence you have right now, your whole life would change. I mean it would transform.


John  It wouldn’t just change, it would transform just from that one extra element, the added confidence. It would push you to do things you wouldn’t normally do and ultimately what that would do is cause you to have success and opportunities that you wouldn’t have normally. And that’s the biggest thing. People that face their fears, they’re the ones that grow the fastest and grow the most. They’re the ones that succeed the most. They’re the ones that have the most opportunities. They’re the ones that ultimately have the most happiness. They have the most confidence in general because they’ve done these things and they know they’ve pushed themselves and have the ability to push themselves through fear. They’re the ones that get promotions and those great opportunities and it all comes from your ability to face fear. So think about this. Think about the next time you’re facing it. 


John Just press the go button. Just do it. Go into robot mode and force yourself to do it. Pick up the phone and make that phone call. Shoot that text over to that person. Whatever it is, take that initial step that commits you to doing the rest of it. And instead of waiting and thinking about all the negative stuff that could happen, just do it. 


John Nike’s saying it’s fantastic and it applies for life so well, just do it. So I’m hoping that gets the wheels turning today. I hope that gets you kind of off the ledge and doing something that you might have been afraid of doing of off the ledge and doing something that you might have been afraid of doing before and if so I’d love to hear about it. Tell me. I’m hoping this is valuable.


John Thanks for joining me on another episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. As always, like, subscribe. Go down below and leave a five star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks everybody. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, Rreach me at john@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!

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