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Have you ever felt like you were stuck? Your life and business were stagnant and you just couldn’t seem to break free? Perhaps you were facing doubt and “what-ifs” in your mind.

In today’s podcast episode, Dr. Rick explains the root cause of fear, what to do about it and how to use this to gain and maintain forward momentum.

Show Highlights Include:

  • Are lazy employees draining your business? Harvard Business Review says this is the #1 key to reigniting their motivation (2:28)
  • Is this habit causing you to fail? (2:47)
  • How to execute the inner voice that’s sowing seeds of doubt in your mind (5:49)
  • The simple remedy for fear you can use anywhere, anytime (8:51)
  • Eliminate this success-killing word from your vocabulary (14:49)
  • What to say to yourself when you’re too scared to do anything else (15:15)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to How Y'all Livin', a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. This is Dr. Rick. I am thrilled that you're joining me today. The reason why I'm thrilled is because life is all about moving forward. Right? Forward momentum is just incredibly important, no matter what your station is in life. I was so privileged to be part of a Division I football coaching staff. I was the life skills coordinator. In essence, the character coach and chaplain at Texas A&M University. One of the things that would always bother our head coach, RC Slocum, was when we would have a personal foul because a personal foul usually resulted or was the result of a mental error on the part of a football player and it usually resulted in a loss of down and perhaps even more important, going backward, being penalized, going backwards in a negative way with regard to field position. [0:01:14.8]

The key to football, as Hank Stram used to say is "matriculating that ball down the football field." The key is to keep moving forward, and isn't that the key in life? Isn't that the goal in life? Isn't that the goal when everything inside of us wants to quit, when everything inside of us is telling us that we're stuck, that we have run out of options, that we have no hope, we have no reason for which to hope? Isn't the key in life figuring out a way to get unstuck? Forward momentum is so important in every walk of life. So important that Harvard Business Review did a survey years ago, 1500 knowledge base employees were asked "Of all of the variables that you can think of, what is the number one variable that increases employee satisfaction?" [0:02:05.5]

Because you know what to increase employee satisfaction because employee engagement moves the needle. Right? And the answers that did not make the number one place, those answers included "money." That wasn’t the number one reason. It wasn’t "Getting pats on the back." That wasn’t the number one…it wasn’t "Time off." It was when employees sensed that forward momentum was taking place. By the way, Harvard asked those same mid level people in a subsequent study, "When you look at your supervisors, what is it that stops forward momentum?" You might be interested to know that there were three variables: number one - indecision on the part of the leader, number two - withholding resources for no apparent reason, and number three - a self-righteous attitude. I would like to add to that list in this episode and in subsequent episodes because in this episode, we're talking about fear as one of the major reasons that stops forward momentum and I want you to just stay with me until the very end because as we close this particular episode, I'm going to share with you a key, a single key that I've discovered that really negates fear. [0:03:24.6]

It squelches fear in our lives. Now, can you ever eliminate fear completely? I don’t think so, but you sure can manage it to the point that it does crop up when you least expect it to or when you don’t want it to. So stick with me. I want to share this key with you when we finish unpacking. What is it that stops forward momentum? In this particular episode, we're going to talk about fear. I think it's a really good show because fear really works to paralyze us. It's so…I look at my own life and I think what is it that stops me from doing anything? What is it? It is fear. It is fear of the unknown and it is fear of failure. Do you know what's interesting? [0:04:09.6]

I don’t even think that I fear danger as much as I fear the unknown and failure. Let me explain. When you're in a dangerous situation, what happens? Adrenaline kicks in. It's a protective mechanism and you're going to either fight or you're going to leave, flight. Right? But the unknown, I have an opportunity to contemplate this and I don’t like it. It creates all kinds of uncertainty. A fear of failure? That means that I put myself out there. Right? That means I am making a calculated risk. I am making a bet on me, which means I'm going to hear the what-ifs. Have you ever heard a good sermon on what if? God will speak something to you. God will tell you to do something. You'll get an idea from whatever source you get your ideas from. I am a person of faith and so I get ideas from God, and he will tell me to do something and soon as that happens, I hear that inner voice, "what if?" [0:05:06.6]

What if you get out there and you fall flat on your face, Rick? What if you decide to have a night of hope in some city in the world and nobody shows up? You know what if was for me? I lost my first wife 24 years ago and a couple of years later fell in love again, and I can remember that inside voice, "what if." "What if Janet gets sick? What if Janet develops a disease?" "What if? That is a powerful, powerful voice. Here's my concern. Too many of you out there are living with that what if voice. How do you execute that what if voice? You have to have another voice that is more powerful, that is more compelling, that you believe more than you believe that what if voice. That what if voice will push you to the periphery of life. That what if voice will cause you to literally freeze, ohhh… did you hear what I just said? [0:06:03.0]

I want you to listen to this article that we came across. I want to thank my producer, Fran Metzger, for sharing this article from Psychology Today. Google it for yourself. May 2014. They talk about the root of fear in this article, and the article is rather scientific until you get to the bottom line and inside Psychology Today, it says that the bottom line is this: The root of fear is actually fear itself because fear is what freezes the brain. Oh, let's just stop for just a second. Think about right now what causes fear inside of you. For many of you that I meet, because I happen to be a public speaker, for many of you that I meet, the thought of getting in front of people and doing anything, from dancing to singing to being in your church play, to giving a speech at the banquet - the end of the year Christmas banquet, the thought of saying something in front of a group of people will so paralyze you that you freeze. [0:07:07.6]

My wife is the absolute opposite of me in every way - thank God. Yet, I think she has more wisdom than me. So I have encouraged her to speak and on the few times that my wife speaks, she is literally like this for 8 hours, all day, and I have watched that. I have also experienced that, which might be hard for some of you to believe. I have a lot of engagements. I am privileged to speak all over the world. I remember my first major event in St. Louis, my first major event where there were more than 15,000 people. I literally could not walk up the stairs. You have to walk up this flight of stairs to speak, and I'm there. I'm seeing the video that is announcing me and I literally can't move. I froze. Think about this again. Psychology Today says that the root fear is actually fear itself because it produces the responses of frozen brain. [0:08:08.7]

It freezes our brain. I have lived it. So you're saying, "Well, Rick, what did you do? You got to speak in less than 30 seconds?" Before I tell you what I did, I want you to listen to this: Psychology Today doesn’t just give you the problem, but it offers a remedy. Let me just read this so that I make sure I'm accurate. Psychology Today says this: "When you get in a situation where your brain freezes, take several deep breaths right then. Don’t do anything else. Take several deep breaths. This stimulates a nerve called the vagus nerve, not Las Vegas, but vagus. The vagus nerve. Guess what that does? It unclamps the neurobiological grip of fear. In other words, taking several deep breaths literally causes your brain to unfreeze." [0:09:04.1]

Now back to that situation - 15,000 people - I'm 30 seconds from going on stage. The video is announcing me and I can't let go of the rails on both sides. I have frozen and all I remember doing was this. I remember hearing my mother's voice and she said these words - "Ricky baby, you were born for this." And the next thing I did was this - deep breath, I probably took about four deep breaths and I found my fingers releasing from the rail and walked up those stairs and gave one of the greatest speeches I've ever given. Friend, I want to tell you something. You may doubt a whole lot of things in your life, but you can bet on this - the way that our bodies are created, we have a mechanism that can cause fear to dissipate. [0:10:04.7]

We have, within us, that which will release the grip of fear. It is breathing deeply. I don't know how you're feeling right now, but that really gives me an encouragement. Why? Because there cannot be any forward momentum. What are you saying, Rick? There cannot be any achievement. There cannot be any success. I don’t care if you’re a fifth grader taking a spelling test or if you're a 90-year-old trying to get that one last driver's license. There can't be any kind of forward momentum if you're paralyzed. There just can't be. So what happens is this - you die filled with your potential. So I want you to think about something. Here's the key to overcoming fear: Have the end game in mind. Oh, come on now - what are you saying, Rick? Die empty. Die empty. What is the end game? You give your life. [0:11:07.5]

You dedicate your life to doing everything that you're called to do. That means you've got to make a choice every single day to tackle your fear, to deal with your fear. Rick, are you saying it's as simple as taking a few breaths? I'm saying it's simple as taking a few breaths. When you take a few deep breaths, it releases a fear, the grip of fear in your life - you unfreeze. I'm not saying this. Psychology Today is saying this. In fact, may I say to you as a man of faith, Psychology Today wasn’t the first person to say this. I remember in scripture. I remember King David saying in Psalms 62, making this statement: "I command my heart to be still. I command my heart to be quiet." Friend, you know why fear has won in my life so many times? My response is either to fly away, go away, run, do something other than what I've been called to do. [0:12:11.9]

Rarely have I taken a few breaths, commanded my heart to be still so that my body could be still so that I could remind myself that I was born to do this. Your brain has more power than you give it credit for. Your will has more power than you give it credit for. Your body is uniquely made. It is made in such a way that fear cannot paralyze you if you make that choice. Friend, I want to tell you something - the key to me is making sure that you quiet yourself enough in such a way that you allow yourself to breathe deeply. In an instant, that breathing changed my thinking. [0:13:03.3]

In an instant, when my thinking was changed, I realized that I let go of the rail, walked up the steps, and I was a different man in 30 seconds. "That's a bunch of hog wash, Rick. Your brain isn't that powerful." Oh, really? I want you to think about what Frank Outlaw said on one occasion, "Watch your thoughts; they determine your words. Watch your words; they determine your actions. Watch your actions; they determine your habits. Watch your habits; they shape your character. Watch your character; your character determines your destiny." Frank Outlaw said, "First and foremost, watch your thoughts." Somewhere else I read, "As a man thinketh, so is he. As a woman thinketh, so is she." That calming down, hearing my mother's voice saying, "Baby, you were created to do this" forced me to breathe. That breathing challenged existing thinking. Those three actions unloosed the grip of fear and I did what I was called to do. [0:14:11.0]

Friend, I want to tell you something. You're called to do something today. Those of you listening to me right now, those of you that are watching. I know you're called…we're all called to do something every single day. Who's going to win? Fear or faith? I strongly encourage you to bet on yourself. You're fearfully and wonderfully made. You're a unique person with a mind that is more powerful than any Smart Device you have. There is no longer a reason to go through life paralyzed by fear. Rather, instead of saying, "I'll try," eliminate the word try. You either say "I will" or "I won't," but eliminate "try." The word "try" is a polite way of saying, "I'm not going to do it." So I like to live this way - I have been called to do something. I'm scared to death. Let me remind myself that I was created to do this, reminding myself quiets my heart in the words of David. [0:15:11.4]

Reminding myself forces me to slow down long enough to where I'm taking some breaths and the next thing I know, my feet are contributing toward forward momentum. That's the key. That's the key right there. What are you saying is the key? To change your thinking requires you to slow down long enough to contemplate, to think about, to imagine, to mediate on you actually accomplishing what you were created to accomplish and a large core of that is this nerve called the vagus nerve that literally is stimulated as a result of deep breaths. It literally unclamps the neurobiological grip of fear. Breathing - breathing - literally unfreezes our brain from paralysis and allows us to have forward momentum. [0:16:09.3]

Oh, friend - I don’t know if you were encouraged by today, but I sure was, and I want to tell you that anything you can do that will help you move forward is a step in the right direction. Make that step today. Friends, until we meet again. This is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask you today: How Ya' Livin'? I'll talk to you soon.

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his best-selling book, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/freegift to get the print or audio book right now.

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