FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real. FEAR is the number one thing that holds people in mediocrity and must be addressed before anything else can be accomplished. Approaching anything new or different in your life, regardless of whether it's in your personal life or your professional life, requires some ability to deal with FEAR - some ability to get "out of the box." You will not sufficiently be able to get “out of the box” until you can address your FEARs. The whole purpose for this article is to help you do just that. Also, you will notice that each time you see the word FEAR it will be in all caps. The reason I have written it this way is to remind you that FEAR is just an acronym that stands for False Expectations Appearing Real. Each time you see the word in print or hear the word in conversation, remember what it stands for.
First I would like to talk about where FEAR comes from. Most FEARs come from a lack of information or education about what is FEARed. I’m not going to go into analyzing your nightmares or anything, I simply want to focus on the “real-life” FEARs that hold you back from higher levels of success. I would like you to think of something in your mind that brings FEAR to you. Now I want you to ask yourself a question – How much do you really know about that source? Please be honest. Do you know a lot or a little? Let’s talk about flying. Many people are afraid to fly. You may not be, however, many people are. If you talk to someone who is on an airplane, big or small, about why they are afraid to fly, you will generally get the same answer. I know this because I have been a pilot for almost twenty years and I have asked hundreds of people this very question. Most people will tell you they are afraid the plane will crash. I know that sounds like an obvious answer, however, when I ask the next question, Why are you afraid that the plane will crash? I again get the same answer most of the time. They will tell me that they are afraid the plane might fall out of the sky or crash into another plane.
When I first started my flight training, I can remember taking off in a Cessna 152 and feeling that flinch of my body each time the plane hit a bump or rocked to the side. When it would happen, I would want to brace myself against the sides of the plane as if the plane were going to stop flying. It is a natural reaction because your subconscious mind has not been conditioned to know that the plane works by the strict laws of physics and under normal circumstances, will not fall out of the sky. The air traffic control system in the United States is also not widely understood by the general public. The fact is that the system that is in place, which allows airplanes to fly without crashing into each other, is very precise. That is not to suggest that accidents don’t happen, however, under normal circumstances, the system keeps planes separated very well. My point is that flying is very safe and most FEAR of flying comes from a lack of information or education about the subject.
I would like to take you on a visualization exercise. I understand that you are reading and you probably cannot read with your eyes closed, so I would like you to allow yourself to really be a part of the story. I want you to be the person I am talking about. As I take you through this experience, I will be talking as if I am talking directly to you. I want you to be the person I am talking with and respond to me in your mind just as you would if we were actually in conversation. The more you allow yourself to be present in this experience, the more you will get out of the experience. When I am speaking to you I will leave a blank ____________, for your name. It is more effective than you seeing a name that is not yours. Remember ____________, when you see a blank, you say your name in your head, because I am talking to you. Are you ready _____________? Great! Lets go.
One of my favorite things to do is surprise people for their birthday. I don’t know if I can remember when your birthday is and I’m sure I missed the last one so I’m going to surprise you with a gift today. I will be over to your house to pick you up in ten minutes so be ready.
I know that was a short ten minutes _____________, but are you ready to go? Good. We can take my car, so let’s go ahead and get going. It will be about a thirty-minute drive to where we are going for your surprise. While we are driving, I would like to share some thoughts with you. First I would like you to know that this surprise is NOT an option. Unfortunately, it is already paid for and a refund is not possible. When we get there ____________, if for any reason you think you might have some FEARs that would keep you from enjoying this surprise, I want you to put them aside and concentrate on the experience. Okay ______________, we are almost there. As we pull in to the drive, I want you to close your eyes and I’ll walk you to the door. As you get out of the car, watch you step. Hold onto my arm and I’ll lead you. Okay, just a few more steps. Now _____________, I’m going to put you in place here and when I count to three, I want you to open your eyes and see your surprise. Are you ready _____________? Are you sure? Okay - 1…2…3! Open your eyes ____________, because I’m taking you on a SKYDIVE!!!
Alright __________, I know you might have some FEAR about this but I assure you everything is going to be okay. I’ve got ten years in the sport and 7000 jumps, so I know that you are going to be fine. What we are going to do is go inside and fill out some paperwork and then we will meet with your tandem master who will be taking you on your jump. Don’t worry, I’ll be right there with you because I’m going to jump with you and capture your entire experience on video so you can show all of your friends and family. Are you excited? Great! Lets go.
Now that you have that paperwork done, I’m want to introduce you to Dean. Dean will be your tandem master today and he is going to make sure that you have a great time and come back safely. Dean, this is __________, and __________, this is Dean. Great, now ___________, why don’t you come over here and put this jumpsuit on - you’ll probably have to take your shoes off. While you are doing that, I’m going to go get my camera equipment ready.
As I walk away to go get my camera ready, I look back at __________, and I see the emotion taking over. I can see the FEAR of the reality starting to set in. _________ is even starting to sweat. When I come back with my camera, _____________ is sitting there waiting and looking at the other people coming in from the landing area. I can almost see the knots building inside his/her stomach.
Are you ready to head to the plane __________? We are on a five-minute call so we are going to head on out to the tram that will take us down to the plane. Now _________, (Talking over loud aircraft engines) as we approach the plane I want you to stay right next to me so I can be sure you don’t walk into the prop, okay? I won’t be able to talk to you once we get on the plane because we won’t be sitting together – so have fun and I’ll see you in freefall. Watch your head when you go up the step so that you don’t smack it on the floater bar. Hey ________, remember - have fun. I’m going to be right in front of you during the freefall so don’t forget to smile…and don’t get fixated on the ground. Look around and enjoy the view.
I get _________ up the ladder and on to the plane. ________ and Dean are sitting all the way toward the pilot and I am in the back of the plane by the door. I love this part. I get to capture all of the emotion on video and show someone a world they otherwise wouldn’t know. As we taxi out with the engines at a loud roar, I look at _______’s face and I can see the FEAR is really setting in. I like to zoom in on the students face in this situation to truly capture the emotion that they are experiencing. As I zoom in on __________’s face, he/she is staring out the window with a blank look. As the plane climbs through ten thousand feet on the way to fourteen thousand, we are getting closer to my favorite part. I love filming because I get to watch people through all of their emotions and generally they are extremely thankful for the experience.
We are turning onto jump run now so we are about sixty seconds from exit. I look down the bench at _________ to get one last close-up of the emotions he/she is feeling. I can see tears running down ___________’s face. I know he/she is scared right now, but I’m betting it will be totally different when we get back on the ground. I look up and the yellow light comes on which means we are about ten seconds to jump. A skydiver next to me yells “DOOR!” That lets everyone know that the door is coming open. The five-foot wide, roll-up door of the twin Otter jump ship flies open and the rush of cold air fills the cabin. The intensity of the wind noise is sometimes shocking for first-time jumpers. The group ahead of me positions themselves in the door for exit. The team’s captain hollers “Ready – Set – GO!” The four-way team quickly falls away from the back of the door.
It’s our turn now. I look down the bench and ________ and Dean are sliding towards the door. I attempt to establish some quick eye contact with __________, but he/she is fixated on the door. I give one last attempt to communicate with ___________; I lean in close towards the two of them, “Are you ready to skydive?” No answer comes back. The blank stare looks so familiar. I’ve seen that look hundreds of times.
I promptly grab the floater bar and swing my self outside the airplane to the camera step. Quickly getting positioned, I look back inside the airplane at _________ and Dean. _________’s face is pale and blank. I try to make eye contact, but the FEAR is obviously in control right now. Dean begins the exit but is halted by __________’s death-grip on the airplane. Dean struggles to peel __________’s fingers from around the floater bar. Finally, they are ready to go. Dean starts his exit rock… ready – set – go. We all three leave the airplane. Dean gives _________ a summersault exit. As they get stable and Dean deploys the drogue, I fly on my back up in front of __________ and then flip over on my belly. That generally gets a smile from tandem passengers, when they see this body flying upside down in front of them while they are falling at 120 MPH. I position myself directly in front of and slightly below _________’s face. We are only about ten seconds out of the plane and already that fear on __________’s face has melted away to reveal a grin from ear to ear. That FEAR that was present is now gone and ____________ is looking all around and waving at me. As we fly around the sky, ________ gives me a thumbs-up along with a huge smile.
I film the tandem opening and then hurry down to the landing area so that I can film their landing. As they approach overhead, I can hear _____________ yelling “Wha-Hooo!” He/she is waving at all of the spectators and the laughter is evident. The tandem approaches with a beautiful stand-up landing. Before I can even say a word, _____________ begins yelling, “That was the greatest thing I’ve ever done – I want to go again!” I ask, “So, does that mean you enjoyed it?” ___________ replies by saying “Oh my gawd, it was so cool.” “I didn’t feel like I was falling or anything.” “Watching you fly around was awesome – I didn’t know you could fly like that – we were flying.”
This may seem like a silly exercise to you, however, if you did indeed let yourself be a part of the story, I’m going to bet that you felt some emotions of your own as we got closer to the jump. What is significant about this exercise is the level of FEAR that is present at the beginning versus the end. The reason the FEAR is not present at the end is simply because the subject learns that when they leave the airplane there is no stomach-in-your-throat feeling, there is no feeling of falling, the ground does not rush up at them and they did not die. They realize that they can truly fly relative to something else in freefall. All of the stuff that they created in their head about skydiving was just that – STUFF they created. None of it was reality. The reason they created that stuff was because of a lack of correct information and also conditioning. They were conditioned to believe that if they jump out of an airplane, they are going to die.
I would like to invite you to take this challenge for real at sometime in the future. You will be amazed at what this simple exercise can do for your results as well as your entire life once you get past your FEAR.
Steve Linton has been in the personal development business since 1996. As a top income earner in network marketing, his personal achievements include being a professional pilot with over 6000 hours of flight time, author of the book "How I Made Six Figures in One Month", speaker and skydiving videographer with over 7000 jumps. He has participated in the creation and marketing of a highly successful personal development program that has trained thousands of people to maximize their potential. Steve is committed to inspiring all to achieve their maximum potential.