Your Four Worst Fears

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  • “Most fears these days are just poor management of your mind.”
  • Learn the driving force behind the four most common fears people face when trying to grow to their next level, and how YOU can overcome them with these mindset tips.
  • “Yes, anticipate the struggles, the challenges, the difficulties. Think through the worst case scenario once. But if you are obsessing about the worst case, you are living in fear.”
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  • This is a MUST WATCH episode on understanding the source of your fear and actionable steps you can take towards greater courage.
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How to Stop Making Excuses
Overcoming Insecurity
The Power of Personal Responsibility
How to Have Difficult Conversations
When People Don’t Support You





[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show 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 Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

Oh my God, the excuses that people use about why they can’t get ahead in life. What do you think is the number one excuse for why people think that they’re not succeeding more? Or why do you think other people keep getting stuck or don’t break through? You know what I found?

Everyone thinks the answer tends to be fear.

People say, “Oh well, fear is holding her back,” or, “I have just a lot of fear—will this job work, will he say yes, will this turn out, will I make money?”

The fear supposedly paralyzes their progress.

But my question is: is that really true? Is fear the thing holding most people back?

Because I think that most fear is just poor management of the mind.

Now listen, if all of a sudden, a big huge animal jumped out and started chasing me, that would be physical fear. And physical fear is something like, “Oh my gosh, I better protect myself.” But most fears, they’re mental and emotional fears of some conjured future that we’re worried are going to happen.

So in this video, I’m going to talk to you about fear. We tend to have four primary fears, but under those four fears, there’s really a bedrock of two fears.

Once you understand how all of these play together, you really can’t blame fear anymore. You have to look at how you’re using your mind.

Most fears these days are just poor management of your mind. So if you want to break through and reach the next level of life, you’ve got to understand how you think about fear and how fear may be consciously or unconsciously holding you back. I hope you get some tools here of understanding how to use your mind better.

So let’s talk about those four primary fears.

1. Fear of Ruin

The first fear people have is usually what we call ruin. “I am going to ruin my life if I do that. Or if I try this, it might turn out so terrible, it will ruin this relationship, ruin the business, ruin my finances, or ruin my reputation.”

We fear doing something because what we do is we catastrophize. We think, “If I do this small action, or I make this decision, or I start this thing, this terrible thing will happen. The house will burn down, everything will fall apart, and my life will be ruined.”

But we have to ask, “Is that true? Will my life really be ruined if I try this?”

People think, “Oh my God, if I get a bad grade on this one report, my life is ruined. I can never go to college.” Or they start their first business and it doesn’t go well and the client doesn’t pay them. They’re like, “Oh my God, my business is ruined.” No, this is one incident, one circumstance, and one challenge.

What you have to say is, ”Is this one thing really going to ruin the rest of my life?”

Because tomorrow, you have a choice. And next week, you have a choice, and next month, you have a choice.

You have a choice on how you’re going to show up in life.

Tomorrow, you get to choose your attitude, what your actions are going to be, and what you’re going to work towards. And that power, understanding that you have a choice, and really living that, and thinking through that, that gives you personal power. Now, you have personal power, not false fear about this idea that everything is going to be ruined.

Isn’t it true? You already screwed up in life. I have. If only you knew how many times I’ve screwed up. Look at my face and listen to me. I’m clearly a screw up. People can mess up. My first video is so bad. Some of you think this video is bad. My first work effort, my first stage presentations, my first social media channels, my first business—I was no good, but nothing ruined it.

However, it did give me the opportunity to build. The mindset shift is from, this is going to ruin me, to: I’m building here.

“This terrible thing happened.” That’s okay, I’m going to build from it. I’m going to rise like the Phoenix. “I’m worried it’s going to mess up all these other things.” Nope, it’s going to build your character, build your skillset, build your capability to be resilient, and build your capability to keep going.

If you switch your mindset from ruin to build, then you’re honoring that struggle when things don’t go right.

Better yet, you’re not focusing on these big false fears that are in the future. Because again, you’re just using your mind wrong. You look at all these terrible things that are going to happen. People will say in the comment section, “But Brendon, it’s good to think of the worst case scenario.” Oh no, that’s great, but if you ruminate on the worst case scenario, if you keep thinking about the worst case scenario over and over and over, then you are planning for failure. You are planning for you worst fears.

Yes, anticipate the struggles, the challenges, the difficulties. Think through the worst case scenario once. But if you are obsessing about the worst case, you are living in fear.

To everyone who fears rejection, or thinks, “If I do this, she won’t love me anymore. If I do this, they’re going to make fun of me, and they’re going to judge me,” well I’m here to tell you: they are going to make fun of you, and they are going to judge you.

2. Fear of Rejection

That’s the second point: fear of rejection.

Many of the comments of this video will be, “Brendon’s an idiot.”

I’ve seen millions of them, and I’m okay with it.

Because your progress in life is not dictated on other people’s approval, acceptance, or understanding of you. Their understanding is not required for your progress.

So stop thinking that everybody has to cheer you on and throw rose petals at your feet.

Acknowledge that most people probably won’t get you and won’t understand your path. That’s okay because most people are on their own path. They don’t have to support you and everything that you do.

Once you don’t think that other people owe you appreciation, honor, respect, and cheering on, rejection is not so scary.

Because the truth is, most rejection doesn’t last anyway. Isn’t it true that someone in middle school rejected you? Made fun of you to use you or tease you? And now, that person is completely irrelevant in your life and does not shape your identity today. They do not shape your choice for your next hour, your next day, or your next breath.

“What if somebody hurts you in the past?” That happens to every single one of us. I’ve had my heart broken and many of you all know that led to my big journey in personal development. Because after my heart got broken, I fell into suicidal thoughts, a deep depression, and ultimately—and luckily—I had a car accident. It shook my head and said, “No kid, you want to live, not die.”

But I look back at that time of that person who rejected me, and hurt me, and cheated on me, and that person has no hold of me now in this moment, unless I choose to revisit that. Unless I choose to let that continue shaping me. But I choose to shape my own life. And once you choose to shape your own life, now rejection is not. It doesn’t have that strangle hold on you because you realize, whatever they think, some people are going to support you, and some people are going to hate you, and that will always be the case.

So stop living your life guiding your decisions based on the haters, and start living your life based on the decisions you want to make for who you want to become, and what you want to serve, and give, and contribute. That’s the change.

When you follow your path, and you stay on your thing, and you don’t expect everyone to cheer you on, and you understand that there’s always going to be haters, then it’s very easy. Only people who are surprised that there are haters, stop.

3. Fear of Regret

The third thing that people fear is regret.

They think, “Oh my gosh, regret. If I do something, I’m going to regret it. I’ll always regret that decision.” And other people say, “But what if I quit this job? I’ll always regret that decision. What if I leave this relationship? I’ll always regret that decision.”

First, please stop thinking of your life in terms of always. There is not always going to be anything negative in your life unless you choose it to be.

It’s just not a good parameter.

Second, I think it’s really worth it for you to adopt this mindset: “This is okay. I might regret it because maybe I make this decision and the grass isn’t greener on the other side.” At least you made that decision and you moved forward.

Because, you know what the real fear should be? Stagnation, going backwards, not growing, or not trying. If you try something and you feel full of regret, and it hurts your feelings or hurt other people, honor that and acknowledge it. Ask yourself, “So what did I learn? How can I be a better person and do it better next time?”

Because once you adopt a learning mindset, regret tends to go away.

It doesn’t mean that we’re always going to get things right. I’m sure that some people have been hurt by your actions or your behaviors in the past just like other people have hurt your actions and your behavior in the past.

You’ve been hurt by people. Every time you talk about regret with somebody, they say, “I really do regret this decision I made. I hurt this person, or I did something.”

If you regret something now that you have done, you need to do the actions necessary to release that regret so you can continue forward, free, and confident.

Maybe if you do regret the decision you made, do these simple things:

A) Apologize to people. Say you’re sorry and acknowledge your part in doing something that you regret.

B) Forgive yourself. Say, “Okay, at that time I wasn’t as conscious. I wasn’t as aware. I wasn’t as awake. I didn’t know what to do and my back was against the wall.” Don’t make excuses for yourself but recognize where you were and say, “Okay, based on where I’m at today, I need to forgive so that I can move on.” Let it go.

C) Please do yourself a simple favor of asking yourself every single day or in every single difficult situation: “How would my highest self do this? How would my best self approach this?”

The more you ask yourself about how the best of you would handle something, the less you’ll end up doing behaviors that you regret later on.

So if you’re dealing with regret, acknowledge it, release it, take that learning mindset, ask how you can do better, and then do better. Don’t let regret stop you.

You don’t fear regretting something. Ask, “Is this in alignment with my highest self? Should I do this and move forward?” Because you’ll be proud that at least you made progress instead of stalled out. Stalling out is the bigger fear.

The last big part of the primary fears is that we all fear greater responsibility.

I know it sounds weird but a lot of people are actually scared of taking on more. “Oh, if I have more success or more abundance or more responsibility, I won’t be able to handle it. That fear is too big for me and I’m not good enough. I won’t be able to deal with it.” So they back out of their dreams because they really feel like, even if they march towards it, all of the struggle, the skill, the difficulty, the comparison that happens along the way, they won’t be able to handle it. They get comfortable.

You’ve got to choose: Do you want to live a comfortable life exactly where you’re at right now? Or do you want to grow and give and serve more?

If you want to grow, give more influence, and serve more, it’s going to require you to take on more.

I remember when I was starting to do all this, and it used to be literally me in my studio with a little flip video camera and I go and I turn it on: “Hi, I’m Brendon Burchard!” It was just me. And back then I just couldn’t scale. I couldn’t grow. I couldn’t do it better. I didn’t want to hire a team. I thought, “I don’t know how to have a team. I don’t have employees. I don’t know how to find people, and build a culture, and make a company, and do business. I don’t know how to do that.”

I had to ask, “Do I want to reach and serve more people?”

If a do, I’m going to have to adopt the responsibility as a business owner, adopt the responsibility as a team builder, adopt the responsibility that comes with running a real business versus just staying where I was.

I was scared of all that it would take but I did not let that fear—my internal fear—dictate the external movement towards the things that matter. I acknowledged the feeling of, “I don’t know if I can handle this.” But everyday I said, “Well, the only way to know is to try to handle this.” Then along the way, I honored the struggle. Along the way, I tried to show up as my best self. I didn’t get it right all the time—not even close. But I gave myself the shot.

Because if you never give yourself the shot, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

If you never try to take on bigger responsibilities, bigger challenges, bolder actions, more courageous movement towards things that matter, you’ll always say, “I wish I coulda, woulda, and shoulda.”

To me, “I wish I coulda, woulda, shoulda” is a bigger fear and a bigger concern than you fearing that you can’t handle it. So those are the four primary fears. You say, “I’m scared of ruin, I’m scared of rejection, I’m scared of regret, I’m scared of not being able to handle responsibility.”

But under those four things you recognize, there’s really two foundational fears operating there.

Number one (I think is the obvious one): the fear of inadequacy.

“I’m going to be inadequate. I can’t possibly handle these responsibilities. I’m going to regret it so much that I’m not going to be able to move on in my life, that people are going to judge me and reject me. I’m not good enough for them. Oh, my life is ruined. I failed at something, and I’m not going to be able to keep going on. I don’t have the capabilities.”

So we fear we’re not good enough. We feel we don’t have the capability or the abilities in life to march through the failures. But I’m here to tell you, if you are watching something like this, you are more than enough.

At some point in your life, you have to say, “Alright, I’ve got to be okay with who I am.”

The opposite of inadequacy is confidence. But most people don’t understand confidence. Confidence is just your belief in your ability to figure things out.

You don’t have to have all the capabilities now. You will grow into them, so move. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You will learn as you go, so move. Stop letting inadequacy stop you.

I was terrified of public speaking. I didn’t know how to use cameras. I didn’t know how to make a difference. I didn’t know how to build curriculum. I didn’t know how to use social media. I didn’t know how to hire employees. I didn’t know how to build a business. And now, I’ve got four major brands, tens of millions of customers, clients, and fans around the world. Our companies have almost a thousand employees across the companies I own or invest in. And I didn’t know how to do any of that.

It didn’t stop me because I had the confidence that I could believe in myself and figure it out. You must shift from, “I’m not good enough.” No, you’re just untrained, my friend. “I’m not good enough.” No, you just don’t have the experience yet. “I’m not good enough.” No, you don’t have the mentor yet. “I’m not good enough.” No, you just haven’t tried enough yet to figure it out to master it.

So stop thinking that you have to be fully adequate in the moment. You are enough as you are, as a human, but you will build the capabilities as you go. Confidence is the belief in one’s ability to figure things out.

The other fear on earth is insignificance.

“Well, if I ruin my life, I won’t be significant to other people. I won’t feel significant to myself. I won’t matter in this planet at all.” The greatest fear of all is really insignificance—that we won’t matter.

It’s what throws people into really deep depression sometimes or into suicidal thoughts. “I don’t matter. I’m insignificant. I’m an ant. I’m nothing. I hate myself. I’m worth nothing.” That’s a terrible feeling and a terrible place. It’s the fear we all operate from many times in our lives—that we’re not going to be enough. That’s inadequacy. But when we feel we don’t matter—that’s insignificance.

Think about the terror—if you leave your relationship or if someone broke up with you, the pain that came from someone breaking up with you was that feeling of insignificance. I don’t matter to this person anymore. I’m not going to be loved. I’m not going to be cared for. I’m not going to mean anything to anybody. That’s a real fear, so what do you have to do? What’s the opposite?

Well, you can be driven by that fear or you can be driven by the idea of service.

What do I mean by that? You never worry about being significant or insignificant.

If all of a sudden, you turn your heart and your mind to connecting with other people and adding value to the world, you are being of service to the world.

Get outside of your small thinking by asking, “How could I contribute to the whole? How can I make a difference here?” Because if you are making a difference, everyday, you’re saying, “What can I do to contribute? How can I contribute something positive that helps somebody and shows compassion, empathy, and good values?”

If on a consistent basis you are tempting to serve, your mind goes, “You know what? You matter, and you’re doing something here. Good for you.” It cheers you on instead of freaking you out.

So ask, “How can you be a better servant? How can you contribute more? Or do good in the world?”

You hear me say it all the time to my Team HPX. That’s what I call you guys, our community. We call it Team HPX. HPX stands for the High Performance Experience. We’re all trying to live that next level of experience. And the next level of joy, love, and contribution to the world, so we call that the High Performance Experience.

We don’t want to be average. We want to be high performers so we call it Team HPX. And one thing I’m always asking Team HPX is to double down on your goodness.

I don’t just say that as a phrase. When you double down on your goodness, you stop worrying about whether or not you’re significant, because the evidence is there—that you are significant.

Serve and make your contributions and your difference in the world, and your mind sees the evidence. “I’m not insignificant, I’m doing something here that helps and serves.”

Now, that fear starts going away when you make just a few of these mindset shifts, my friends. I promise you. It changes your life.

You’re either going to be guided by the fear of those things or you’re going to be guided by your consciousness, and the freedom that comes from you shaping your own mind. That fear ultimately is a choice. Everyday, fear wins or freedom wins. I choose freedom.