The Shocking Blessing of Fear

  • “The shocking part about fear is that fear will always be shocking. The blessing is that it can stretch you and can make you better.”
  • Fear is often seen as a negative emotion, but it also has the power to drive growth, transformation, and resilience. In this episode, Brendon dives into the ways fear can serve as a catalyst for positive change.
  • “We need to be more adaptive, more flexible, more open, more curious.”
  • f you’re looking for tips on how to navigate fear in your life, this episode is for you!
  • Watch the video to get the full teaching!


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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of Motivation With Brendon Burchard. Please note that this episode, like all episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, Motivation With Brendon Burchard has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in the Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

We have to stretch ourselves. We have to do it. No one’s going to set your stretch goal for you at work. It’s going to be a B.S. score because they’re going to make sure you’re going to achieve it by the quarter end because God forbid, we do anything that takes longer than a quarter. Your boss doesn’t have a clue about your potential. Your spouse doesn’t have a clue about your potential. With all respect, the only one who knows your true potential is when you really tap deep into it. And He who provided it. Whoa. That’s it. And so we have to realize you’re going to have to stretch. 

So today I actually put a slide together for you to call this something cool. And I thought we would call today’s talk: The shocking blessing of fear. Oh, the shocking blessing of fear. Because you know what? When I felt like everything going well, I’m in flow back here at this MGM talking and all these people. And many of you know, that wasn’t the highlight of my career. I’ve been blessed now to keynote almost every major North American arena hotel conference room, convention center, you know, every company I ever wanted to speak and keynote to, I’ve gotten to do that. My daily life is in front of huge audiences. And yet when I didn’t feel the edge back there, I thought, “Brendon, challenge yourself out there. You can go out and you can do a walk. You can go out and do your thing. Challenge yourself out there.” Because when you challenge yourself, it puts you in that place of, I don’t know how this is going to go. That’s where you belong more often. That’s going to bring life back. I don’t know how this is going to go. That’s where life is. 

1. Don’t Chase Certainty

If you always know how it’s going to go, boredom lives there. If you always know how it’s going to go, the peddling of the, you know, self-help gurus who say, “You need certainty”, that’s where they’re at. That’s not how life really works. Those who remain curious and open, are the ones who succeed further — their learners. If you’re always grasping at some adolescent desire for certainty, you’re in the wrong group. Well, because I don’t know. I don’t play at any levels in the highest levels of the world of anyone peddling certainty with their peddling is a reality of you need to be adaptive. You need to learn. Yes. Trust yourself, but be curious. Challenge yourself. Be so curious about how it could be different. Do something new and when you do that, I promise you that’s where life really is. Grasping to make it exactly as we want. 

Didn’t we just fail at that the last three years? Didn’t we just find out that doesn’t work so well when you try to, you know, edict how the world has to be and how your relationships have to be and how people have to act? It doesn’t always turn out so good.

We need to be more adaptive, more flexible, more open, and more curious.

Not just in our own lives to ignite ourselves, but I think in our relationships, too. Sometimes you forget in your relationship the persons that you love, you kind of forget. You don’t pay attention to them anymore. You don’t listen to what they want anymore. You don’t know their goals anymore. You’re not curious about them anymore. You know, I know my wife, I know my husband. He’s always this way. And then you put them in your little certainty-in-expectation box, and all of a sudden they’re not thriving in the relationship anymore because they can tell you’re not genuinely interested anymore. 

2. Embrace Change

So we’ve got to change. We’ve got to do things that are new. Sometimes there are things in our lives that we have to do. It’s going to be hard and we have to teach ourselves to show up and do hard things with trust, not a script. Do you know? This important conversation today because a lot of people are letting their fear and their doubts stop their progress. They’re freaking out. They’re freaking out. Yeah. I think, you know, traveling around the country, I’ve been talking with all these leaders and I keep asking, what do you think the emotional energy of the world is right now? Shout it out. What are some words that come to your mind? Worry. Anxiety, stress, stress. Patronizing, overwhelmed, disengaged, frustrated, unhappy, trying to survive.

3. Don’t Succumb To Discouragement

Let me give you a word that I’ve noticed and see if it rings a little bit true. I believe what we’re seeing out there in a mass culture almost hypnosis is one emotionally dominant reality for a lot of people right now. And that’s discouragement. They’re discouraged. The world got interrupted. They thought they were strong. They thought they could handle the change. You know, “I’m a resilient person.” And then it went on for years and they realize how hard it was. They got discouraged. This isn’t turning out the way I thought it was. In all the change, they started something new. They got into a moment of transition, you know, new job, new entrepreneurial opportunity. They got hyped about it. They got their first sales. They got the website up. They got their social media account started, and then it got hard and they got discouraged. This is harder than I thought. I don’t know if I can handle this. They got excited about a new place. Many people moved medieval, moved out. Many, many, many people ended a relationship, started a new relationship, had kids, and then it got into it and it’s like, “Whoa, this is not what I thought. This is hard. I don’t know if I can handle this.”

See, sometimes everyone tells you about progress and they sell progress is the big dream. But a lot of people get progress, and then it’s not what they wanted a little bit. Or it’s harder than they thought. And now they’re discouraged. And then discouragement starts eating their brain a little bit because they’re down. They start doubting themselves and it’s a slippery slope from discouragement and doubt into defeat. And so a lot of people, I think, around the world feel defeated. They feel like their years were stolen from them. The kids feel like their high school was stolen from them. Some people feel like, you know, their future was stolen from them. Their opportunities were stolen from them. People, often give our power over to everybody else. Oh, it’s the government or it’s this or it’s that.

4. Avoid Playing The “Blame Game”

And you know what? The beauty about being defeated is you can just blame everybody. Once you put that down and trust me, I’m not going on a big self-reliance pep talk here because I’ll talk you through some of the truths of my life, of the biggest fears of my life, and how terribly I dealt with them. Just terrible. Who’s done who’s dealt with a difficult fear or problem or discouragement in your life recently? And you dealt with a terribly? Look around them. And this is an incredibly successful group of people. Okay. At home, I hope you raise your hand, too. 

It’s like, listen, we all deal with difficult circumstances in poor ways sometimes, and in others. Sometimes there’s a mental shift, a mindset shift, a breakthrough that happens. That’s what this is about.

The shocking part about fear is fear will always feel shocking. The blessing is it can stretch you and can make you better.

Yeah? The blessing of fear is it readies you in a different way. It stretches you to adapt, to climb, to deal.

5. Don’t Hide From Fear

And right now, too many people are sitting at home and they’re scared. And instead of turning into that and engaging that, they’re disengaging. And in all the discomfort they’re finding, distraction their turning to their phone, they’re turning to their TVs. And we’ll talk about that day in epic ways and epic ways. And I’m somebody I’ve had so many fears in my life. I haven’t overcome all of them. And then I started learning some simple ways to use my mind, some simple ways to deal with the fear to turn into it instead of avoiding it. 

I know you already know that, but sometimes we need to run. I had terrifying fears of heights, of public speaking of starting my own career as a writer and a coach, and a teacher. Terrifying fear of being on video and stages. And now I’ve made that my career for a decade. But I was scared and I didn’t handle it well. Every time. But you know what? When you’re scared and you don’t handle it one time, that one time that you didn’t do it right, that’s supposed to be the teaching point, the training point, the readiness point. That’s where you go, Well, I didn’t deal with this well. What did I learn? Let me do it better next time. But the problem is, most of the world said I didn’t do it right. That’s terrible. That’s embarrassing. I’m out sucker. Yeah. Instead of saying, Let me do it right next time they said I’m out. 

And there’s probably been moments in your life where you did that, too. I’m out. I quit. And other times you couldn’t quit because the job, the career you’re back against the wall. Someone was counting on you. You had that dream. You weren’t going to let it go. And even though it’s hard, instead of saying I’m out, you said, I guess I’m all in. And those moments changed your life, didn’t they? Those moments were everything. I want you to be here for those moments for you today. Even though my own stories, I want you to find those moments that are for you. Those moments where you go, Oh, that’s why I was here. Not just to hear from the sky, but to go. Let me look at my life and think of where I need to reinvent and when I need to engage. Where can I engage? The difficult things, the scary things. Those things that make us vulnerable or threatened or defensive or antagonistic to turn back in and engage those hard things again. I know it’s pop psychology, except it really does work. You know, it really does work when we honor the struggle and the difficulty and we challenge ourselves through it. That changes everything. It’s just not always easy.