🥊 How to Channel Fear Into Fuel (to Stop Holding Yourself Back)
What boxers, bulls, and muscle memory can teach us
I hope you’re having a wonderful week. If you’re new here, welcome. Check out past editions and hit reply with questions or feedback. I’d love to hear from you.
Now, let’s dive into today’s edition.
The Importance of Grounding Yourself
Two weeks ago, a professional conversation turned personal when a former colleague opened up to me about her past. She said:
“When I got divorced, I was at my lowest point. I was anxious, stressed, angry, and depleted. I went into hermit mode—not doing anything more than my day job. And for six months, I waited for a new, grounded partner to magically show up and piece my life back together. But that didn’t happen.
I realized I was being delusional. In reality, I would have to ground myself to attract a grounded partner. So that’s what I did.”
This woman is now happily remarried with two kids. Inspiring, right?
I immediately connected the dots to the biggest challenge I’ve had as a creator and entrepreneur.
I’ve worked really hard these past twelve months—including evenings and weekends—and I’ve enjoyed it. There were many Saturday mornings when I bounced out of bed to start writing or creating course materials with my morning coffee. And I had to pry myself away to get outside and see friends and family.
But that also led to many Mondays where I felt exhausted and my enthusiasm wasn’t enough to refuel my empty tank.
I realized I was kidding myself thinking someone was coming to save me from an unsustainable work schedule. And as my own boss, my most important job is to ground myself. So I took swift action and now:
I work strictly between 8am-5pm from Monday to Friday to maintain my energy
I’m more proactive about evening and weekend plans to reinforce my 8-5 rule
I take meetings in the afternoons to prioritize deep work without distractions
I cowork with friends who empathize and support me through blocks
I take “walking meetings” outside (in person or by phone) to move more
The combination of all five has changed my life in two weeks. I feel calmer, I have more energy, I’m thinking more clearly, and I’m eliminating distractions.
So my question to you is, do you feel grounded and if not, what are you going to do to change that? (Reminder: no one’s coming to do it for you.)
Channelling Fear Into Fuel
Grounding yourself is as essential to tackling fear, as taking the right stance is to a professional boxer. If you’re not ready to take a hit, you’re bound to get knocked out. So boxers rely on muscle memory to prevail.
“Muscle memory is the phenomenon of being able to perform complex tasks with ease, accuracy, and seemingly on autopilot. This happens after much practice of repeating certain moves over and over again.”—Gloveworx
You can train yourself to channel fear into fuel in the same way.
When I started writing online in February 2021, I was shaking the first time I hit publish. I’d written an article about my first failure as an adult, so I was putting myself out there twofold. I worried people would think less of me for my failure and for my delivery (as a new writer).
As soon as the article was online, I jumped straight into a workout to ease my nerves.
Fast-forward thirty minutes, and my nerves raced back to me as I checked Facebook and Instagram for comments. But there was nothing but love and admiration posted by friends and family. Phew.
Now, eighteen months later, I don’t agonize about publishing with shaky hands. But I still get nervous. Hell, sometimes I feel nervous about sending you this newsletter. I wonder if you’ll enjoy it, learn something, or at least find it interesting—or whether you’ll be bored, unimpressed, and racing to hit unsubscribe.
But I always hit publish—forty-nine weeks and counting. And what’s kept me going is my ability to channel fear into fuel.
Here’s my two-step process:
Step 1: The Big Picture
A Story From a Sitcom
There’s an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond—a classic ‘90s sitcom—where the main character, Ray, takes his forty-year-old brother, Robert, to a petting zoo. Robert had recently quit his job as a police officer after being gored by a bull during the raid of an illegal rodeo.
Despite making a full physical recovery, Robert had a panic attack on his first day back on the force. And he determined he was no longer up to the job.
But Ray realized a new job wouldn’t help Robert. What he really needed, was to “confront his attacker.” Ray had previously learned from Robert that confronting an attacker can be crucial to a victim’s emotional healing. And while it seemed silly to apply the concept to a scenario involving an animal, Ray knew it was vital to helping Robert conquer his fear.
Here’s a brief clip of Robert confronting “Nestor, The Happy Bull” after Ray tracked him down at the petting zoo:
This further supports my case that comedy is rooted in tragedy (if you missed my newsletter on Emotional Teaching, you can read it here).
There are two learnings I hope you take away from this story:
Sometimes teaching is as simple as putting someone in touch with what they already know but are struggling to implement.
Sometimes your most valuable teachings are helping people overcome feeling “silly” to do what’s necessary to move forward.
Now, let’s dive into how to “confront our attackers” when it comes to abstract fears.
When I confront my two biggest fears professionally, I wind up with two scenarios (detailed below).
Scenario A: I’m too scared to share my ideas in public
In this scenario, I axe my newsletter, articles, YouTube videos, etc. and decades from now, I wonder how sharing my ideas, attracting like-minded people, and turbo-charging my growth could have impacted my life.
Scenario B: I’m too scared of having regrets to not share my ideas in public
Scenario B is now an “anti-goal” (a place I never want to be in and will avoid at all costs). My biggest fear is now my fuel. And as a grounded woman, I can respond to other, less intense fears—such as sharing my ideas in public—with the gracefulness of muscle memory (by training myself on how to respond).
Step 2: The Roadmap From Fearful to Fuelled
So what does avoiding scenario B (having regrets) look like in action?
In May, I made my first $100 online selling course design materials on Gumroad. It was a huge achievement for me, and I learned a lot from the experience. So naturally, I wanted to write about it.
That kicked off my five-sequence roadmap from fearful to fuelled.
Here’s the rundown:
Event (fear trigger): I wanted to post about how I earned my first $100 online.
Pinpoint the source of fear: I was afraid of people judging me.
Scenario A: People might reply or comment ridiculing me for being proud of making an amount as small as $100.
How I would respond: I’ll remind myself that the people I admire say the first $1 is the hardest. I can share that with critics if I feel inclined but otherwise I don’t need to dignify negative comments with a reply.
Scenario B: People might reply or comment that I’m “bragging.”
How I would respond: I’ll remind myself that 90% of what’s facilitated my solopreneur career has been what I’ve learned from those ahead of me. So I want to be as generous with my own learnings. Again, I can share that with critics if I feel inclined but otherwise I don’t need to dignify negative comments with a reply.
Determine whether any scenario would prevent me from moving forward: Neither scenario A nor B occurring would bother me as much as not sharing my learnings out of fear would.
Proceed: So I posted my thread.
In the end, my thread got 400 likes and I added 300 followers—that’s a lot considering it had taken me eighteen months to get my previous 700 followers. On top of that, forty-four people commented congratulating me—most of whom I didn’t even know. But there was one comment that made me pause and panic for a second.
Here it is, along with my response:
In hindsight, the question is nothing worth stressing over. And for all I know, it was well intended. But at the time—in my state of vulnerability—my immediate reaction was “Oh no, do I not seem credible? Is what I shared poorly worded or misleading?”
I spiralled for a couple of minutes, but then I got a grip and replied per the above screenshot. My (imaginary) crisis was averted. But the experience was a good reminder to not assume bad intent, nor to take comments personally, or question my worth based on the words of a stranger.
I’m aware the ticket price for raising my profile in my industry will come with some negative baggage—like social media critics—but like any driving vehicle, I can compartmentalize it and keep cruising. I hope you do the same.
The Joy of Having Style
I was listening to an old ‘90s playlist on a walk the other day and these lyrics from New Radicals stood out to me:
“We're flat broke—but hey, we do it in style.”
Those of us new to “the arena” often feel timid asserting ourselves as players—especially those of us who are women (or Canadian—or in my case, both). But no matter where you are in the journey, be proud of yourself for doing things in (your) style. There’s no other way to do it.
My final question to you is, how will you channel your fear into fuel to stop holding yourself back from pursuing something you really want?
That’s all for today. If you enjoyed this week’s edition, please like, comment, or share. It would help me tremendously in expanding my reach.
And thanks for being one of 246 course creators, writers and solopreneurs sharing your journey with me. I appreciate you.
Have a wonder-full week,
P.S. Here’s a throwback snap to the flying car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It’s the perfect emblem to channel fear into fuel to drive to unimaginably cool places.