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Why Real Is The New Black

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fear is the new real

I grew up believing in this societal myth that you have to be fearless. That in order to make it in life, you have to develop thick skin. Be afraid of nothing. If anything goes wrong, just throw some dirt on it.

It’s all bullsh!t.

This year alone, I’ve interviewed over 50 entrepreneurs who are truly living on their own terms. They are some of the bravest and most prolific people I’ve come to know. In deconstructing their stories to determine what drove them to succeed, we uncovered one underlying theme that finally debunked this myth for me.

They all had fear, and lots of it.

In the words of Mark Twain,

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

If fearlessness is a myth, then why in the world are we still scared to death of failing?

 

Fear of Being Found Out

We’ve been told all our lives to fake it till we make it. Whatever it takes. Follow the rules. Don’t let them see you sweat. Instead of admitting your fear or coming clean about not knowing what you’re doing, we cover it up. In the process, we end up becoming a 75th rate edition of everyone else.

The more we imitate and emulate, the further we move away from who we are at our best. We end up losing confidence about whether we can truly deliver the goods at all.

Fear itself is not the problem.

In fact, we should worry if we’re not afraid. The bravest people in the world know this to be true. The disparity between who we portray ourselves to be and who we truly are is the real issue.

 

Keep It Real

So what is this new black we’re talking about here?

The key to reconciling who you are with how you show up in the world is all about keeping it real. Yes, I realize this is an abstract idea, this whole “keeping it real” thing.

To help you wrap your head around what I mean, here are three simple mantras you can incorporate into your life and work every single day to keep it real: doing things from the heart, living your own narrative and telling your unmistakable story.

pound get some graffitti

 

Whatever you do, do it from the heart.

I interviewed Bryson Andres, a 22-year-0ld electric violinist whose Spokane street performance covering OneRepublic’s Secrets went viral on YouTube and got him picked up by a major brand. I asked him what inspired him to keep performing on the streets especially during the times he had no money, no real support from his estranged parents, and no guarantee he would be ever discovered.

“My grandparents told me I sucked. I was only 12 or 13 at the time but I thought to myself, I don’t care. I’m just going to play the violin and play it from the heart… when I became an adult, something tragic happened in our family. When you lose somebody very important in your life, you want to live the way they’d want you to live. I decided I really needed to live my life to the fullest. I didn’t want to look back 10 or 15 years from that point and find myself sitting in a chair without having gone anywhere.” – Bryson Andres

 

Live your own narrative.

I also talked to nomadic entrepreneur and humanitarian, AJ Leon, who gave up his six-figure salary and corner office in Manhattan just four days before his wedding to nomad around the world. If you’ve ever felt stranded on your lone island trying to unlearn the things you felt compelled to do while chasing someone else’s dream, it’s refreshing to find others out there like AJ who understand how scary it is to leap out of your perceived security net into a world of the unknown.

“I try to look at fears that in the past would have had their foot on my throat and I just let them stand there; I try to not do that now. That dude was always afraid. I know there are people like that dude out there. That’s who I’m writing to. The 22-year-old version of myself. I’m telling that guy he doesn’t have to listen to everybody else and he has much more choices than he thinks he has… when you recognize this is not your practice life. This is all you have. Everything changes when you really get that because your choices become more urgent and that fear of ‘Am I gonna make it?’ is much less relevant. This is my life. This is my art project.” – AJ Leon

 

Tell your unmistakable story.

Another interview with Srini Rao, the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM, left many ripples with me. After 10 years of failed jobs and relationships, he felt like a big disappointment to his parents. In recent years, Srini realized that every job he was fired from actually moved him closer to his purpose and the revelation that he was a corporate misfit. A badge he’s proud to wear.

“If you look at people who are successful, it appears that they have these massive platforms. That if you have all the numbers they have, that you’ll have all the success they have. Not quite. You have a unique story. You have a unique angle. That’s what actually matters. That’s the kind of thing that makes you unmistakable. The whole point of the art of being unmistakable is that you tell a story in a way that only you can. What I call the no bullshit version. You start shedding.” – Srini Rao

When you’re doing things from the heart, living your own narrative and telling your unmistakable story, being found out is a very good thing. #realisthenewblack

 

Feature Image Credit: BoostInspiration.com

Berni Xiong is Chief Kicker of Shins at BerniXiong.com and Co-Shut Up'er of Making Shit Happen at TheShutUpShow.com. As a coach, strategy consultant, speaker, web show host and writer, she helps six-figure salaried career professionals, start-ups and seven-figure small businesses unleash their roaring misfit heart and live on their own terms.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Sebastian

    Oct 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Wow great examples of people.

    It seems like the main message is don’t be afraid of being yourself and constructing your own unique path in life.

    Thanks for sharing these.

  2. Dave Conrey

    Oct 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I fully endorse this message… as I’m sure you knew I would. Nice one, B.

    • Berni Xiong (shUNG)

      Oct 8, 2013 at 6:22 am

      Thanks D-Con! It’s wonderful what happens when you write your heart out and keep it real… of course you would know that well 🙂

  3. Linda Esposito (@TalkTherapyBiz)

    Oct 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Awesome work Berni! (And love the title :P).

    50 interviews last year–whoa. That’s less vacay time than the average cube monkey gets.

    And not to disrespect Bryson’s grandparents, but I want to kick their asses. He should compose a violin concerto in their callous honor called “F@#k-this-Sh*t-O’clock.”

    TY for embracing/mobilizing fear.
    #realisthenewblack

    • Berni Xiong (shUNG) (@BerniXiong)

      Oct 4, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Haha you know what’s funny Linda… if you watched the interview I did with Bryson, you’ll see how emotional he got. And I actually got soft eyed for him when he told his story. But it’s that struggle and pain that really fueled his desire to succeed and be so damn good at the violin. I am actually glad things turned out as they did. He’s rockin’ it now!

  4. Berni Xiong (shUNG) (@BerniXiong)

    Oct 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks Robert! I used to get teased as a teen when I’d overuse “keep it real” and now, much much older and wiser, I finally get what it really means. 🙂

  5. Robert Seay

    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Great article!! Thank you so much!!

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Why It’s So Important To Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Fear of Snakes

So I completed a Snake Handling course 6 years ago and during the final test of the course, we were asked to capture and bag 5 of Australia’s Deadliest snakes in a small confined room. The room had a Tiger Snake, Dugite, King Brown, Death Adder and a Red-Bellied Black Snake all slithering around at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I had got myself into.

Snakes were one of the biggest fears of mine. I would imagine a snake running underneath my feet from time to time and I would actually bring my feet up off the floor to avoid getting entangled or bitten by these imaginary snakes I had created in my mind. I would even have nightmares about snakes biting me and it would wake me up in sweats in the middle of the night.

I could have never imagined doing this in my life but I did it because I knew that I had to get passed this ridiculous fear I had of snakes, and I am grateful I was able to show up for it.

Checkout this podcast episode where I share how You can Master your Sub Conscious Programming around your fears in 2 Steps:

While attending this course, the subject of Fear was brought up and the presenter asked a number of people:

 

“What Are Your Top 5 Fears?”

– Public Speaking

– Cancer

– Sharks

– Snakes

– Heights

Were at the top of the list for most people.

 

The instructor carried on with a story of how he had just arrived back from a trip to the Northern Territory of Australia to visit an aboriginal community where he had met a 7-year-old boy who was absolutely scared to death of spiders and the dark.

Killer crocodile fearIt did not matter what kind of spider it is, he was scared and that was that. This boy would hunt crocodiles and lizards but was scared of even the non-venomous spiders.

All he had learned from a very young age was that spiders are dangerous and that they WILL kill you, yet the crocodiles and snakes that the boy would play with and hunt for are by far more deadly than most spiders that your everyday human would come across.

He was taught between the crucial years of 1-6 yrs old that the dark is full of evil happenings and that spiders are incredibly deadly and will kill him if he goes anywhere near them. So he was devastated to sleep in the dark and would jump on near by people just to get away from a spider nearby.

I’m not here to say that spiders aren’t dangerous, they are, and some out there have the potential to kill you. This boy was right to be cautious around spiders but where he lacked knowledge, or the right information about these creatures, eventually left him fearful of something he had never really understood.

This boy is just an example of many other people out there that are limited by their fears because of the little that they know. The less you know, the more fearful you are. This is only human and we are naturally scared of the unknown.

So the key thing here is we need more “KNOWLEDGE!” and it is in our best interest to want to understand how things work if we want to become less fearful of what the wild and wonderful world we live in has to offer.

You have to “EXPERIENCE” things to have a better understanding of the activity or whatever it is you are most scared of.

Joel Brown Snakes Fear

Joel Brown – Certified Snake Handler

When you increase your knowledge you can grow to the level where your fear is set at, so when the two meet it creates a level called “RESPECT”.

This is the perfect level to be on because you will now have a respect for what you fear which will allow you to then work with it rather than being submissive and missing out on the wonderful feeling of successfully OWNING! the outer areas of your comfort zone.

Everybody has a fear of some sort and learning more about what you fear and even voyaging through your ‘un-comfortable zone‘ will prepare you for the hard knocks in life on your road to success.

 

I have a few more fears to conquer myself and I am happy to say that I have crossed ‘Snakes’ and a number of other top things off my list. I’m sharing this story with you in hopes that you too will face at least one or two of your fears. Not to say that “you did it“, but to prove that you can outgrow your own personal limitations.

Your fears could be holding you back, they could even be the final piece you need to experience a brand new lifestyle or a brave new world of fun.

 

So get out there, learn more and grow!

 

No matter the storm, may your Faith be stronger than your Fears – Joel Brown

 

 

Feature Image Original Source: Indiana Jones – Raiders Of The Lost Ark

 

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