Don’t Believe Your Momma

Don’t believe your momma. She kept telling you to be careful. 

Fear is resistance to greatness.

Encourage greatness:

We have a daredevil granddaughter. The parents of this two year old thrill-seeker bought her a kiddy roller coaster. It has a little car, three steps up the ramp, and two small hills. The last time I went over, she proudly showed me how she rides her coaster backwards while holding her hands in the air.

Don’t tell Ellasyn to be careful. Encourage her to ride her coaster blindfolded while standing on her head.

When she’s old enough, get the kid a dirt bike and a loopty loop. Tell her to go for it. You can’t get anywhere in life by being careful. Even when NASA scientists are being careful, it’s so astronauts can face risk responsibly.

Play it scary:

You can’t avoid fear when you do something for the first time. And how can you make a difference without doing something new?

Don’t overcome fear. Embrace it. Listen to it.

  1. Figure out the next scariest step you dare to take and take it. Repeat tomorrow.
  2. Practice responsible boldness. Prepare before you step into the scare. 70% ready is ready enough, unless it involves life or death.
  3. Get around people who play it scary. Listen to them when they say, “Go for it.”
  4. Encourage others to do scary things. Don’t say, “Be careful.” Say, “Be bold!”


If you aren’t feeling resistance, you’re doing meaningless busy work. Make yourself uncomfortable if you hope to make a difference in the world.

I’ve given thousands of presentations. I’m still anxious before stepping on stage. Be afraid, but don’t let it stop you.

How might leaders help others do scary things?

How might leaders use fear for positive ends?