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Do Not Be Afraid! Yeah, Right!

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Mindset Made Simple Tip #104 – Do Not Be Afraid! Yeah, Right!

Watch or listen HERE. See the link below to access the recording of last week’s "It Starts with You, Coach!" webinar.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.

This was the first Bible verse my son learned and the one we used on my mom’s funeral announcement. (I am pretty certain at its printing she was not afraid, but I certainly was!) This reminder is on every email I send, on my refrigerator and in other places that are in my line of vision throughout the day.

Do not be afraid is repeated, one way or another, 365 times in the Good Book…one for every day of the year!

Whether or not you have ever read this verse or not, we are afraid. From the world champion to the novice, everyone who has ever cared about anything has been afraid…it is the one thing we all have in common.

We worry about what others think and what they will say.

We worry about letting others (and ourselves) down.

We fear the unknown. We fear responsibility. We fear ruin, regret and rejection.

And if you played for me, you feared running the timed mile!

We can all agree that we are all afraid of something on this list!

But what does this fear do to us and those around us? To our culture? To our performance?

Does our fear rub off on others?

According to a study conducted by Dr. Lilianne Mujica-Parodi at Stony Brook University, our emotions are contagious!

In a relatively disgusting study, Dr. Mujica-Parodi collected sweat pads from men and women after their first-ever skydiving experience and compared those to sweat pads collected from people running on a treadmill.

I hope they paid the volunteers in the study well because they asked them to smell the sweaty pads while in an fMRI machine (which uses imaging to measure the changes in blood flow in an active part of the brain).

The researchers found that smelling the sweat pads from the skydiving group activated the fear response in the volunteers.

What this says is…the volunteers “caught” the fear that was felt by the crazy people who jumped out of the planes!

Not convinced your emotions affect others?

Try this! Ask whomever you are with to show absolutely no emotional reaction no matter whatever you do…have them go completely stoic. Have them look at you in the eyes. Then smile.

Guess what will happen to everyone from the happy-go-lucky type to the grumpy old man.

They will SMILE! Emotions are infectious!

Now the question is, how are you infecting others?

And, since we all are fearful at times, how can we manage that fear to ensure we aren’t contagious?

As we have discussed many times, we are blessed with a negativity bias. There is a part of our brain that sees the worst and conjures up the craziest scenarios possible. And as if that isn’t enough, it also questions our ability to handle the said scenario.

This is so me…and it is not a gift! And I think (I know) I was contagious as a coach…sometimes in a good way and others, not so much!

Author Tim Ferris thinks we can overcome our “gift” of negativity by practicing “fear setting” instead of or to go along with our goal setting. Through “fear setting”, we acknowledge the doubt, the scary stuff…the anxieties…the “MORE ONs” that hold us back.

When we identify what could happen and thoughtfully consider what may get in our way (those things we fear, real or imagined), we make it less daunting, we can sort through the facts and once we determine what is real, we can begin to formulate ways to manage and plan for the things we fear - real or imagined.

When we take the time to go through things in our mind…by visualizing what we want to happen and how we will deal with the things that could happen, whatever it is we are facing becomes familiar. We are practicing our approach!

It’s the preparation that helps squelch the fear…the rehearsal...the planning.

You will feel fear and a slew of other emotions when you face something that matters to you. This is the price of admission to competition and a successful life!

The question is, will you choose to acknowledge and then work to manage your fear by controlling your preparation... by prepping your mind and body and practicing when there is no pressure… to perform at your best despite how you feel when it matters?

If someone smells your sweat on game day…or looks at your face…will they catch your tenacity or your trepidation?

We can’t beat our fears and problems by mentally debating them or a plan alone (I am great at debating my approach to fears, aren’t you?). Deciding what we will do and then doing it is where the rubber meets the road.

Fear is real. It is part of the deal.

Ignoring it is like trying to hold a beachball underwater. It flies up higher the deeper you push it down.

It is also contagious.

With a mental and physical plan, we can act on what is in front of us and share momentum with our colleagues instead of fear.

We can thank our nervous system for alerting us to an opportunity (a sort of scary opportunity, but an opportunity nevertheless) and make it our friend and not our foe.

We can take whatever comes our way one step at a time…because we are ready…because we debunked the crazy stories our mind created when we laid out all of the things we fear the most and came to realize that a lot of it was our own MORE ON thinking.

We practiced, we rehearsed and we increased our competence and confidence by seeing what was and wasn’t real and by seeing what we want instead of what we are trying to avoid!

So, the next time you sweat, take a good look at what you can do with it.

Make a strong and courageous plan. Then infect everyone around you with it!

Manage the moments…do not be afraid… and have a great week!


P.S. If you missed my FREE It Starts With You, Coach! webinar but would like to check it out, you can find it HERE on my YouTube Channel. I’d love to hear what you think!

Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946


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