Usually Unfounded, Often Excruciating… What’s the Answer?

Transcript of Video

I want to share a quick story with you, because when I think about it—this thing that happened to me—it was one of the first times I really ever dealt with fear that was so excruciating when I was experiencing it, but in hindsight, so uncalled for.

When I was in fourth grade, my foot had been submerged in boiling water. It was very painful and the result of it was I had these huge Twinkie-sized blisters on my small fourth grade foot. One blister went all the way from the big toe to halfway back my foot. It was this huge blister. So I couldn’t wear shoes for days. I was walking around on crutches and stuffed my foot into one of my dad’s socks.

I remember one day when my dad was like “We have to pop the blisters,” and I had never had a blister before so I had no idea what to expect. He said, “It’s not a big deal; we need to pop and drain it.” And I was just adamant that I did NOT want that to happen. I was begging him not to do it and he was very stern saying that it was going to happen, regardless of whether I wanted it to happen or not.

I was crying so hard my face was drenched. I was sobbing and begging—so scared it was going to hurt. It had already been very painful so I figured it was going to hurt even more when I got a look at the needle he was going to use to pop this blister. He was not going to let me out of this. And so once I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere with the pleading and my tear-soaked face, I did the only thing I could.

I shut my eyes and turned my head away so I didn’t have to watch it happen, because that usually helps a little. What’s funny is I remember I got to a point where I sort of barked at him, “Just do it already. What are you waiting for?” And he said, “Yup, it’s done. It’s drained.”

I hadn’t felt a thing. He did it while I was looking away and I had no idea what was going on. But again that’s one of those things where I look back and I thing “Man, it is amazing how fear can do that to us sometimes.”


  • It’s totally unfounded.

  • It’s not based on anything logical,

  • It’s just this imagination we have of bad things that could happen, even if there’s no evidence to support that it could happen,

  • and yet we let these fears help determine what action we’re going to take and what behavior we’re going to have. It’s just amazing that we do that.

That’s why it’s up to us to work really hard at not letting fear ever stop us from doing something that we want to do. That’s so important! I’m fortunate enough to have lived a life where I have gotten the opportunity to face so many of my fears.

For example, the very first time I was ever going to perform in public, in front of a bunch of people, I was so scared that I started throwing up and I threw up for 16 hours straight. I couldn’t control it and it wasn’t until it was canceled (because I was so sick) that I finally stopped throwing up and went to sleep. That was a failure. I let the fear get me so badly that it actually stopped me from doing something that I really wanted to do; that I practiced for and that I was really looking forward to but was scared to death to do.

Of course here I am, years later, and hundreds of speeches later. I perform in public constantly but it wasn’t like moving from one side to the other side in one step. It was a progression of taking a step forward; doing it despite the fact that I was scared to do it. Then doing it again. And again. You’ve just got to step through the fear. You’ve got to take action anyway.

What I want to ask you today is…

What is something that you really want to do and the only reason you haven’t done it yet is because something scares you about it?

Maybe it’s asking somebody out, joining a group, taking a class, talking to someone that you care about about a subject that scares you to talk about it, or maybe it’s something like skydiving. I’ve been skydiving multiple times and I can tell you the scariest part is when that door to the plane opens and it’s your turn to jump. Once you’re out, it’s fine. The fear subsides dramatically. The hard part is getting over that initial hump.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do, and you haven’t done yet, because it scares you, and I want you to make a plan for when you’re going to do it. Act in spite of fear.

The more you do that, by the way—the more times that you don’t let fear stop you, that you take action anyway—your courage muscle grows stronger and stronger. Eventually you get to that point where you’re so used to dealing with acting despite fear that you’ll feel that fear in your mind but you’ll just know… Fear is just False Expectations Appearing Real. You’ll know they’re false and you’ll act anyway!

Take that first step. In fact, I would love for you leave a comment of something you’ve been scared to do that you’re going to do now by taking the first step. I would love to celebrate with you when you get it done. So go ahead and leave a comment below of what action you are going to take, and I look forward to hearing when you accomplish it. Stay awesome!

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