Fear is My Best Friend And Teacher

Me in the old capital of Spain

In 2012, I moved to Kansas City, MO. At that point, in my mid 20โ€™s, hungry to succeed in my career, and in life.

This hunger to succeed, to make the big bucks, to prove myself to the world, was freaking real. It was not this on and off again switch that waffled back and forth between initiative and taking it easy.

NOPE.

๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘‘ โ€œ๐‘‚๐‘โ€ 24/7 ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘š๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘š๐‘ฆ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘”โ„Ž๐‘ก๐‘ , ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘ , ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’.

And boy did I find the right match. A top global brand was launching a pilot in Kansas City, with the intention to disrupt a few industries. The intent being to pilot, adapt, then grow.

And I was hired as one of the first employees, as a sales rep. โ€œHell YES! Time to show the world what I can do!โ€

That hunger, that drive to โ€œsucceedโ€ at the time meant..

๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜†, ๐˜€๐—ผ ๐—œ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—œ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜

๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ธ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ด๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜†๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜‚๐—ฝ ๐˜๐—ผ

๐— ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ผ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜, ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฏ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ

Interestingly, at the time, I couldnโ€™t tell you those were my goals, as most were unconscious. However, even not knowing what to say I wanted, my actions guided me anyways.

๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ ๐ƒ๐‘๐ˆ๐•๐„. ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐œ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง.

Daily, I woke up with this insatiable hunger to be the best, do my best, and to NEVER stop moving forward. I lived and breathed this job, and my commitment to being the best.

Very quickly, as the pilot started, and gained traction, my efforts paid off. I landed my manager gig.

โ€œ๐‘บ๐’˜๐’†๐’†๐’•. ๐‘ต๐’๐’˜ ๐‘ฐ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’•๐’†๐’‚๐’Ž ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐‘ฐ ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’–๐’Š๐’๐’…. ๐‘ฌ๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’๐’ˆ๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“. ๐‘ต๐’ ๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’„๐’†๐’๐’†๐’ƒ๐’“๐’‚๐’•๐’†, ๐’๐’“ ๐’‰๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰ ๐’‡๐’Š๐’—๐’† ๐’Ž๐’š๐’”๐’†๐’๐’‡, ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’†โ€™๐’” ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’Œ, ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’Œ ๐’•๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’…๐’๐’๐’†.โ€

Oh man, I was elated. I remember feeling a sense of joy, of satisfaction, for all of 10 minutes. Then my focus turned toโ€ฆ

โ€œAlright. Time to work on my next promotion.โ€

I even started designing a job description that didnโ€™t exist, as I intended on creating the need for the role.

I quickly noticed, in my new role, that my team, dragged their feet, a lot. Or, they would complete assignments, with poor quality.

โ€œ๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜โ€™๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ? ๐—œ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—บ๐˜†๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณโ€

โ€œ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜. ๐—œ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—บ๐˜†๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ.โ€

Iโ€™m sure you can see where this is going.

I was so pulled towards this vision of what I needed to be happy, to be successful, to be respected, it left me in a constant state of trying to control EVERYTHING!

And that FEAR of failure, rejection, of not being recognized, or respected, started creating the opposite of what I wanted.

The people that I had gotten close to when we first started working together, clearly wore a face of, โ€œIโ€™m only being nice because I have to be, to keep getting a check.โ€

It wasnโ€™t until one day, sitting in our inventory closet, I was complaining about everyone else, that one guy on my team spoke up.

โ€œ๐‘ด๐’‚๐’•๐’•, ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’”๐’๐’ ๐’˜๐’† ๐’…๐’๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’‘๐’–๐’• ๐’Š๐’ ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’†๐’‡๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’•, ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’”๐’๐’ ๐’˜๐’† ๐’…๐’๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’—๐’†๐’๐’š ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’Œ ๐’•๐’๐’˜๐’‚๐’“๐’…๐’” ๐’€๐‘ถ๐‘ผ๐‘น ๐‘ฎ๐‘ถ๐‘จ๐‘ณ๐‘บ, ๐’Š๐’” ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’„๐’‚๐’–๐’”๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’๐’š ๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’… ๐’•๐’ ๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’‰. ๐’€๐’๐’– ๐’…๐’๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’๐’š ๐’๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’†๐’, ๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’‚๐’• ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’‘๐’‰๐’๐’๐’† ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’” ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’”๐’‘๐’†๐’‚๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ, ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’ ๐’‚๐’…๐’๐’‘๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’‚๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’”. ๐‘พ๐’‰๐’š ๐’˜๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’˜๐’† ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’‘ ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’…๐’๐’†๐’”๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’ ๐’”๐’†๐’†๐’Ž ๐’•๐’ ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’–๐’• ๐’–๐’”?โ€

HOLY SH**

My ego went nuts! His level candidness set off all the alarmsโ€ฆ

โ€œ๐‘ซ๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’ ๐‘ฐ ๐’‚๐’Ž?, ๐‘ฐโ€™๐’Ž ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’†๐’“!โ€

โ€œ๐‘ซ๐’Š๐’… ๐’‰๐’† ๐’‹๐’–๐’”๐’• ๐’”๐’‚๐’š ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’Ž๐’†?โ€

โ€œ๐‘ถ๐’‰, ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’ˆ๐’๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’ ๐’“๐’†๐’ˆ๐’“๐’†๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’•!โ€

Fortunately, these โ€œalarmsโ€ stayed in my head. And after my jaw connected back to my face, from dropping so far, I was able to shut up long enough to entertain the words he said. Asking myself questions like:

๐‚๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐›๐ž ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ž?

Do ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ž๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ?

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ฆ ๐ˆ ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ ?

Which led to the two most important questions, that ultimately, after this interaction, set a foundation for not only my management style but the way I work with people, to this day:

๐–๐ก๐ฒ ๐š๐ฆ ๐ˆ ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ?

๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ˆ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž?

When looking back over that time, the messages I was consciously telling myself, were constricting messages ofโ€ฆ

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฃ๐จ๐› ๐๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ, ๐ฆ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐๐จ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ฒ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ

๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐ฉ๐š๐ฒ๐œ๐ก๐ž๐œ๐ค

๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐š๐ ๐ž๐ซ, ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ฌ ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ข๐๐ž๐š๐ฌ

What I was really telling myself, that I did not realize for a few years..

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ˆ ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ๐จ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง, ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐ก๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ˆ ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐ฆ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ $$$, ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐š ๐ฉ๐ข๐ž๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฌ๐ก**

๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ˆ ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐ฆโ€™๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ, ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐š ๐Ÿ๐š๐ข๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž

ANDโ€ฆ โ€œIF I donโ€™t have all of those things perfectly lined up, I will live a miserable existence.โ€

In summary, my thoughts and behaviors were all driven by fear.

๐‘ญ๐’†๐’‚๐’“ ๐’๐’‡โ€ฆ

๐‘ณ๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ โ€” ๐‘ด๐’š ๐’‹๐’๐’ƒ, ๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’‘๐’†๐’„๐’•, ๐’Ž๐’๐’๐’†๐’š, ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’†๐’”๐’”

๐‘ต๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’‚๐’„๐’‰๐’Š๐’†๐’—๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ โ€” ๐‘น๐’†๐’„๐’๐’ˆ๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’, ๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’‘๐’†๐’„๐’•, ๐’Ž๐’๐’๐’†๐’š, ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’Š๐’๐’†๐’”๐’”

Those fears were moving me down the path of creating the exact opposite of what I wanted. ๐‘ฐโ€™๐’Ž ๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’‚๐’•๐’†๐’‡๐’–๐’ ๐’•๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’†๐’‚๐’Ž ๐’Ž๐’†๐’Ž๐’ƒ๐’†๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’”๐’‘๐’๐’Œ๐’† ๐’–๐’‘ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’‚ ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’ˆ๐’๐’• ๐’Ž๐’š ๐’‚๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’.

๐‘ฐ๐’• ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’†๐’… ๐’Ž๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’Ž๐’š ๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’†๐’†๐’“ ๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“!

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