Destroy a Fear, Change Your Life


Leading Innovation


Lesson Info

Destroy a Fear, Change Your Life

Now let me describe the work of another guy to get to this point. And to get to this point let me ask you a question. And my question is, what are you afraid of? Now, I mean that seriously. Do you have a phobia? Does anybody have a phobia? Anyone? What are you afraid of? What's one thing, like small places? What, what's one thing that you cannot stand? You're really scared of. Snakes. Yeah. So when I'm hiking. Exactly. Yeah. I'm just terrified. Exactly. What else? Anyone? Heights. Scared of heights? Right? There's something about heights. Like when you look down from heights, there's something dizzying and vertigo driven about it. Heights can be absolutely paralyzing to people. This is a place in Norway. It's called Trolltunga. Which means quite literally, the tongue of a troll. And you can walk out on this if you want to and it's 1,000 meters above the water. There's no barrier. You can just walk right out there. Go, you can, Google it online. You'll see people doing yoga ...

poses out there. Just fools. Real idiots, you know? (laughing) But, they've overcome that fear. Spiders anyone? This is our daughter. And our daughter is, here she is hold a, yes, a tarantula. Right? And this is a moment of audacity for her. So some animal handler comes to the elementary school, "Who wants to hold the tarantula?" And she says "Yes, I'll do it." I'll bite. I mean she was screaming with her eyes closed. But she did it. You know. Or as you said, snakes. Sorry about that picture. Sorry. Or even when I was thinking about the snakes thing, I was like, what could be worse than a snake in water? Oh. Just terrifying. So, here's the thing about the snakes. A guy named Albert Bandura. Albert Bandura is, last I checked, he's 93 years old. He's one of the leading preeminent psychologists of the last 100 years. He's up there with Piaget. And Freud. He's just a brilliant psychologist. He still keeps regular office hours at Stanford. And for a big chunk of his work he was studying phobias. Like how do phobias manifest themselves? Can you get rid of them? Can you destroy them? Can you take them, get them out of your life? Right? And so what he would do is he would bring people into his lab, into his office, who were super scared of snakes. To the point that it had impinged on their quality of life. They don't like to garden for sure. They don't like to go on long walks in the woods. They don't like to be outside. I mean, who knows? Snakes, right? So it's really inhabited their mind. They're trying to get rid of this. So what he would do in a series of what he called guided mastery. First they walk in, and he says, "Well, in the next room beyond that glass window, I have a python and I have a snake handler." Immediately they're like, "What? Why'd you bring it here?" You know. And then the next visit, they'd come, and he'd say, "Okay, I'd like, we're gonna walk to the door. And I'm gonna open the door. You don't have to go in. But we're just gonna see the snake from here. We're gonna witness it with a handler. We're watch the handler with the snake." They'd be terrified. They'd think, that snake is gonna kill the handler. Right? And then, over time, and then you go in. You sit down. He would let them wear big leather gloves and goggles. And a helmet if they wanted to. Right? Security. Safety. And over time, they eventually would go, and they'd sit in the chair, and they'd languidly allow the python to just sort of be in their lap. And they'd handle it. Right? Here's the interesting thing. Then, he would stay in close contact with them. He'd call them up. A week later. A month later. "How's it going? How's it going with the snake thing? You still okay with the snakes?" And they'd say, "Yeah, yeah. Actually you did a great job. Through your guided mastery program I eradicated that fear from my life." "Oh, that's wonderful." "By the way, by the way, I've also kind of changed jobs at work. I work in real estate. And I used to just focus on all the urban stuff 'cause I was really scared of the rural listings and the suburban listings. But I've actually been really interesting in that now, since I'm not scared of snakes. And my career has just taken off. Like, I am blowing it up with these million dollar homes that I'm selling that are out in the countryside." And somebody else reported that they'd started taking horseback riding. Somebody else tried skydiving. Somebody else tried ballroom dancing. And they all said there was a trigger, there was a moment, when they knew they had eradicated the fear. One woman said, "I had a dream that a boa constrictor helped me wash the dishes. Then I knew I was free." Another woman said, "I started wearing necklaces again." Right? But my point is, that moment of inflection, when that happened, it opened up new horizons, new opportunities, new possibilities, that they didn't anticipate. They didn't know were coming. They didn't see it coming. Ballroom dancing. What? Why would you ever do? Take more chances at work. Take a new roll. Engage in different kinds of people. Because when you can eradicate one overpowering fear it opens up new avenues of thought, and experience, and circumstance, that you cannot predict. That's the point. You can't, you don't know what's gonna come.

Class Description

For business leaders and managers, finding the key to creating a high-performing, innovative team can feel impossible. Most of the time, you’re too stressed, exhausted and depleted to do anything more than just get by. Or you might even secretly question your ability to ever be a great leader.

This course on leadership innovation provides you with a clear roadmap for creating an environment that inspires trust, cohesiveness, agility and innovation. You’ll learn the simple actions you can do every day to bring out the best in yourself and those around you.

Shawn Hunter, author of “Small Acts of Leadership: 12 Intentional Behaviors That Lead to Big Impact,” will show you how listening intently, acting with kindness, showing gratitude, embracing challenges and other actions can help you grow into a successful, impactful leader.

In this course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Build your self-confidence.
  • Create learning goals instead of performance goals.
  • Use social diversity and social risk to drive innovative thinking.
  • Get rid of fear among your team members.
  • Escape the trap of “arrested decay.”
  • Turn great ideas into concrete actions.
  • Develop your own leadership narrative.


Steven Seiller

These topics are profoundly impactful and are truly the magic of intentional change! I do wish this class is at least a half-day longer, because who doesn't need more magic to fuel your passions?!?

Manisha Dayal