On today’s Man Alive podcast episode, Shana James is joined by David Wood, a former Consulting Actuary to Fortune 100 companies who specializes in helping people overcome their fears and reach their goals.
To have an amazing career and relationships, a life full of passion, connection, and adventure, it is inevitable that you will face fear at some point. Everyone does. The question is, what then? How do you move through fear so you don’t miss precious opportunities?
David believes that the tough conversations we avoid are our doorways to confidence, success, and love. They become the defining moments that shape our lives. He coaches high performing entrepreneurs, executives and teams – and even prison inmates – to create amazing results and deep connection, as well as to achieve more by focusing on less.
Shana and David discuss:
- How to shift your relationship with fear so it doesn’t keep you stuck and unsatisfied,
- Why fear tends to stop people but doesn’t have to stop you,
- When to move through fear and when to stop and nurture yourself,
- How to share about your fear with others to create more connection rather than less, and
- What’s possible when you let go of the fear of how you’re seen or perceived.
When you’re done with this episode, check out David’s first Man Alive podcast episode on How to Live a Regret Free Life.
Connect with David Wood
Connect with Shana James
Curious what you’d need to become a better leader and lover? Take the quiz
Listen to the podcast here:
Overcome Fear and Boost Success – David Wood
Even men at the top of their game find themselves wanting more from life, whether it’s more meaning, unshakable confidence, a bigger impact, more money, deeper love, a hotter sex life or a powerful legacy. Find out how good your life can be on this episode. Also, as I’ve supported men in their love and work lives for years now, many men asked for the right words to say to be more successful, attractive and desirable. I found it’s not so simple as giving scripts or lines because every man is different, so giving words or scripts would be giving a tall and thin man a shorter, wider man’s pants or vice versa.
The words have to make sense for you and your personality and there’s so much happening beneath the surface that people are responding to. If you’re interested in how to become a better lover and leader in your own unique way, go to ShanaJamesCoaching.com/Quiz or you can text, ALIVE, to 44144. It only takes a couple of minutes and you’ll start to get an idea of how you can be both more respected and desired. After you fill it out, we can schedule a time to review your quiz and talk about your specific challenges and desires. Enjoy this episode.
I’m excited to be here with my colleague and friend, David Wood. Welcome.
Thank you, Shana. I’ve done a lot of interviews in the past couple of years, maybe 160 of them, but it’s rare, I get to hang out with a good friend. I’m glad to see you.
This is exciting and we’re going to talk about one of your favorite topics. It’s one of my least favorite topics but I will say we’re going to talk about fear, how to not let fear stop you, how to build courage and move through these scary places. Let’s say it’s not my least favorite topic but I love that you have expertise in this because when I was younger, I used to think of myself as bold. I was brave and I was courageous. I traveled the world by myself as a young woman when there was hardly any internet. My mom didn’t even know if I was alive. As I’ve gotten older, and many readers can relate to this as well, now that I have a kid and responsibilities, I find that I have more fear. I get stuck in more fear. Thank you for bringing your expertise on this topic to us.
It’s my pleasure. Not much that’s more satisfying to me than sitting with someone, helping them realize what they’re afraid of and helping them choose. Maybe they decide not to go into it and that’s fine or maybe they do want to go and do it and they screw up their courage, and they get an amazing result. That’s fun for me. I care about business results. I care about lots of results, but one of the best results you can have is feeling good about yourself that you faced a fear and went into it.
What would you say is your relationship with fear that had you become so passionate about this?
It’s a slow boil. I’ve realized, as I’ve been doing many interviews and working out what I care about and what my values are, I realized that I tend to lean into scary things a bit more than the average bear. Due to some stuff that happened when I was a kid, I’ve got some abandonment issues. When I get into a relationship, it’s scary for me, maybe the other person is going to leave or they’re going to die, because my sister died when I was younger. Even to the point of dating and open relationships and exploring polyamory because I knew I was afraid. I thought, “Can I find a way to ground and open my heart and not be possessive?” That’s one example.
I also realize I’m afraid of heights, which is weird since I started paragliding many years ago or hang-gliding. Even despite 2 or 3 accidents, I went into paragliding. If you watch me run off a mountain in Nepal, you might be like, “That guy has got no fear.” Are you kidding me? I’m crapping myself as I’m running off, particularly after watching the last two people face plant into the trees. There’s barbed wire next to me because the farmers were having a fight with the paragliding pilots, so they put barbed wire all over the place. It’s like, “Are you kidding me? I don’t have enough to worry about.” I have cultivated a habit of leaning into it and facing the fear because I know I feel better about myself afterward once I’ve conquered that.
This is important to know that it’s not you’re talking about you’re going to get over your fear. This is how to work with your fear, befriend your fear and move through fear.
I’m glad you brought that up. Let’s use speaking as an example. It’s one of people’s biggest fears, the fear of public speaking. It’s so true. I get nervous still if I’m in a group of people, and we’re going around and people are going to talk about their life, or what brought them here.
You start sweating.
I don’t sweat but I plan what I’m going to talk about, and I care about what happens. If you put me on stage, I’ve done many speeches now, and the most people I’ve spoken to was about 1,200 and I had a minder even to make sure I didn’t go anywhere and we had four TV screens behind me. It was a huge event, I was terrified. People came up to me at the end of the speech and said, “You were Zen-like. You’re Buddha-like.” It is true. After the first say two minutes up there, I did drop in, so it did shift.
Fear wasn’t as strong.
I get terrified that I go into improv. Doing improv on stage is one of the scariest things a person can do. You don’t even have a script. You’re going to step out in front of people with nothing and hope something comes. That and stand-up comedy is two of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It hasn’t gone away. I get better at it and my feed does lessen a bit but there was a time when I was on national television and I literally peed my pants a little bit.
This is to promote my business, and my business at the time was an entertainer. I got an audition and I was successful. They said, “We want you to come and be on The Gong Show.” It’s an equivalent that we’ve got in Australia and here I am in a kilt, wearing these funny glasses, and I’m about to do The Proclaimers version of 500 Miles, “I would walk 500 miles,” play guitar and sing. I’m not a good singer and it’s on national television. I lost bladder control in the green room, three drops came out.
It wasn’t like a big puddle on the floor. Thank God, it was not on air.
Let me ask you when you’re about to go on national TV in a kilt, does the fact that you’re losing bladder control, make you feel more comfortable?
No. Way less comfortable.
That’s a time to go into your overnight bag, put on two extra pairs of underpants as a wing and a prayer, and then walk out on stage and do it. I still get scared around people. I still get scared around many things. I’m scared of cold showers.
There are many questions that I’m having. One thing I want to come back to at some point, as you said, when you’re on stage after those first few minutes, you dropped in and there was a shift there. I want to talk about that, but there may be something else before we get to that because you’re doing all these things, even though you have fear. You’re not seeing fear as an indicator of, “Not a good idea. I’m going to choose something else.” You’re moving toward these so for someone who doesn’t yet have that relationship with their fear, how would you suggest that they start to have that relationship with fear?
Let’s start with awareness. Our mind is good at hiding our fears from us.
Particularly if you might be going to confront it, it can come up subconsciously, maybe you’re not sleeping well. Maybe you don’t want to have a date with that person. You’re like, “I’m not drawn to you,” but there’s something bubbling that’s underneath it. For example, someone reached out to me and said, “I want a relationship with you.” My mind went, “I don’t feel any romance here and I don’t feel any sexual chemistry,” but I was nervous. I was nervous about spending time with this woman. She has a lot of energy and I get a little bit nervous with that and I thought, “Here’s a choice point. At least I could spot that and I didn’t shut it down.” I’m a bit nervous so I named it and that’s incredibly important if you want to start increasing your awareness. Start naming it, “I notice I’m a little bit nervous about that. I noticed this is an edge for me.”
Did you name it yourself or with her?
First, yourself. I’m writing a book and you don’t know about this. We’re writing a book called Name that Mouse because the elephant isn’t the only animal in the room. If this woman has reached out and I’m feeling a bit nervous, firstly, “Can I spot it to myself?” That’s not easy but if you do become aware of it, you’ve got a wonderful opportunity. You could name that mouse in the room. It’s like, “I noticed I’m a little nervous about this. Can we talk about it or can I share about it?” That’s a huge win.
That’s a huge win and many men who I work with, that’s not what they would want to be doing is admitting fear and it is one of the things I work on with them, “When you have fear, here are the ways you can talk about it or admit it.” I’m curious if you have any suggestions specifically for men?
I’m a fan of both camps. I can see them. I tend towards the oversharing, so I’m a bit biased towards that. You and I have a friend in common who would coach me to not do that and maybe you have more art or artistry around it. With a woman, I’m not going to share every little fear, thought and whatever. When I’m no longer bleeding from it, and maybe I’ve shared it with someone else, I might tell a date, “I was nervous about tonight.” I was looking at my clothes in the mirror, and I’m wearing my best jacket and I noticed I got some excitement and nervousness. There are ways to do it and still be quite very masculine and just own it.
That’s what I worked on with them too. There’s a difference between dumping your fear on someone and being in the state of fear and anxiety, versus I’ve found my own ground and my own center. I can talk about the fear and I can admit it. I can create a connection with it.
I’m a fan of even before you’ve got it wrapped up in a bow, take a risk. It’s quite masculine to say, “I’ve got some fear going on now.” I get this from Decker Cunov. There are ways to do it. You can be suffering from something or afraid of something and say, “I’m getting my ass kicked right now.” Brené Brown has a great example of this. For the CEO, you’re not going to go to the board and say, “We’re running off a cliff and I got no idea what to do.” We’re not going to do that, but once you’ve gotten some coaching and you’ve maybe done some journaling, you can go to the board and say, “You might be afraid and sometimes I feel it too. We don’t have a full plan yet but we will work it out together.”
Fear doesn’t have to be something that you hide and have to yourself. There may be times where you work it out with a friend, a coach or something before you share it but other times, you can share it.
Here’s the question, “Is it a problem?”
“Are you making it a problem?”
“Are you looking at it as a problem?” If you are, the other person is going to get that. They’re probably going to feel they’ve got to support you and help you but if you can be like, “I’m afraid.” These days now, I’ve got some fear in my system and I know that because I’m waking up with weird dreams probably from losing my sister when I was little, but I’m trying to protect people and I can’t, so I have that. It’s in my system. I don’t mind telling people about it. I can do whatever they want with it but it’s not a problem. I’d prefer I didn’t have it.
That goes for so much if we’re upset, angry, and all of those things. If it’s not a problem, we can talk about it and we can be honest about it.
Now, you’re modeling leadership for others. Maybe they’ll realize, “I could talk about my stuff that’s going on because you’re talking about it so matter of factly.” I had one guy say to me years ago, “I realized that I’m needy,” and he was so excited about it.
The excitement is a celebration, as opposed to, “This is a horrible problem and I need to change it. I need to fix it.”
He said, “I’m needy and that’s okay.” That changed my life. I didn’t know you could say that because sure I’m needy from time to time but now I can say it, “I’m feeling needy. I noticed that. Do you want to help me meet this need? Do you think you can?” That was a game-changer too.
Let’s go back to you having a relationship with fear where you’re heading toward it. We can call that counter-phobic.
A lot of the time.
There are two different pieces that we’re tracking here. One is when you’re not aware of what the fear is, but you’re waking up with dreams or you’re feeling some underlying buzziness, and the other is I’ve got a specific fear and I’m backing away from it. You talked about awareness. Let’s look at when somebody is aware that the fear is there but they’re hesitating or backing away. How do you help them move through it?
What’s an example? Let’s make it real. What’s an example that one of your readers might be feeling some fear around and they noticed that backing away?
One of the common things that I work with men around is their desires, their intimacy, sexual desires in a relationship, and speaking those out loud or taking some action moving forward with something and doing something as opposed to hesitating or holding back.
That’s a good example. Sharing your desires like, “I’d like you to dress up in a Catholic school dress and see what happens.” That can be edgy. It’s good to get clear. We did an interview on tough conversations, at some point and part of that worksheet was you write down what you’re afraid of. “What could happen? How could this go wrong?” Too often, it’s buried in the subconscious. Let’s talk it out, write it out. What could happen? This is not your sunny story. This is not your enlightened spiritual self. This is what you’re afraid of.
It could be, “I’m afraid she’s going to laugh in my face.” That’s good to know. I’m afraid of that. I’m afraid that she or he is going to say no and I’ll feel rejected, or that they might pull away. That’s valid. They might be like, “You, weirdo.” It could better be a whole other episode if we were going to go there. Get clear, “I’m nervous about this, this and this,” and be honest about it. That’s a big win to get back clear. Some journaling could work and talk to your coach.
Once that’s clear, there are things you can do. There are practice things. You could practice the conversation with someone else. You could put on some training wheels. I’m all for training wheels and I want to talk about an example with the cold showers about how I put training wheels on for that. It comes to a decision point about, “Am I willing to be vulnerable with this person?” You might decide, “No, I don’t know the person well enough. It’s too risky. I’m not going to go there.” That’s absolutely valid. I’m giving you permission now if you need permission to not face any fear. You don’t have to. You are a choice but if you decide, “I want to roll the dice a little bit and see what happens,” then you could set some context for it. Years ago, when a coach said to me, “I want you to call that bully from school 25 years ago and tell him you’ve been hating him for years and you’re letting go of that now.” I said, “Are you kidding me? No way am I going to do that.” She asked the question, “What are you afraid of?” “I’m afraid he’s going to think I’m an idiot.” She said something that stayed with me to this day, she said, “Lead with that.”
Setting that context, “I’m afraid you’ll think I’m an idiot.”
That gave me the freedom to call him. I was like, “I could do that because now I’m being honest.” You could say to your partner or your date, “I want to talk about something. I want to talk about desires. I want to talk about your desires.”
“I’m afraid you might leave me because of it.”
I’m getting to that but first, I’m setting up the context with the win. I want to talk about desires. I want to talk about some desires you might have that maybe you haven’t told me about. I want to share a couple. It feels edgy for me to do this, and I want to do it and I want to do it anyway so now you’re showing a little bit of vulnerability but you’re also owning it and you’re like, “This would be cool. What do you say? What if we write down on a piece of paper three things we’d like from the other person and see if we got the guts to share them with each other?”
I love adding to that context piece some of that deeper why. It’s not only like, “I want to do these things, but I want us to have the pleasure that when we go back into our lives the next day, we are on fire with our work and we’re less irritated by our children and all of those things.”
I can see another benefit, “I want us to both be expressed, so if there’s something we don’t get sexually in a relationship, it’s not because we haven’t talked about it or ask for help. Let’s have that relationship.” You go in and you’d still be nervous.
You said you would also add some of the pieces about the worries or the fears like, “I’m worried that you might judge me or I’m worried that you might pull away or think this is too much,” or things like that.
Depending on the relationship. If it’s someone new that you’re dating, you might keep that for your coach and your journal and share the headline like, “This is edgy for me.” That can be enough. You don’t have to go into it. If it’s someone I know more, you and I are both in the authentic relating communities pretty deeply so a lot of people that we know are going to be up for that conversation. They’re going to dig that. They live for this and they’re going to be like, “You’re sharing your voice. Thank you so much. Here’s what’s going on for me.” If you don’t live in that world, and that’s edgy, you can do a headline, “This is a bit edgy for me and I want to do it. Let’s do it.” That’s the leadership.
I can feel some excitement in that. It’s like, “You told me that it’s edgy for you and you want to do it anyway, that has me feel more energized and lit up.” They’re noticing the fear, sometimes speaking is the fear. What about when it’s not conversational and it’s just something to do? How do you work with that one?
Example like a cold shower?
One of the reasons I’m interested in cold showers is because I don’t want it. My brain says, “Don’t do that. That’s a horrible thing.” I’m interested in shifting my brain chemistry.
You don’t have to believe what your brain tells you.
I’m like, “There must be a way to do it.” For years, I didn’t do it because it looked like a horrible thing, and stepping into the shower was freaky to me. I’m in Boulder, Colorado, so there’s snow on the ground. Someone gave me a way to put training wheels in three different ways. One way, Russell Price is a great coach and he said, “Step in, get that first shock. When you get that intake of breath, you’re done.” That’s all you’re going for. You’re going for that.
Turn it off or make it warmer.
You turn it into hot or step out. He said, “You want that shock.” What a reframe, so before I was thinking that shock was bad now, I’m like, “He’s saying you want that shock and once you’ve had it, you’re good.” That gave me a starting point and someone else said, “Put one arm in.” That’s not hard. Put one arm in cold water, and give yourself ten seconds. I put a leg in and ten seconds with another leg.
I thought you’re going to say, “Put an arm and take it out,” but now if you’re putting each body part in.
I took it out and then the leg. I’m acclimatizing my body to this bit by bit, and that’s not hard. I’ll step in and let it hit my belly, and that alone is not too bad and I’ll do ten seconds of that. Stepping in and getting it on your chest, that’s even easier than the rest. The chest is robust and after you’ve done everything else, there’s less input to the brain, because now the legs and the arms aren’t telling you anything. I would do this, build up that way and be able to do a whole 1.5 minute in a cold shower. The other training wheels that someone gave me, they said, “Do a hot shower and turn it into cold.” I’m like,
That’s what I do. I do hot, cold.
I did not want to do that but one day, I tried it and I found that once the body is already hot, I will stand there, turn it to cold and wait. I imagine an ice gown or an ice cloak coating me, soothing and cooling my body.
It’s interesting, so you’re using your mind and also the imagination to shift.
I’m asking for it, “Come and give me this delicious coldness.” For the first 4 or 5 times I did that, I had to breathe and I had to wait it out.
Breathing was important.
I’m finding it quite pleasurable, and 30 seconds of a cold shower and once your body is hot, it isn’t the scary thing I thought it was. Isn’t that good to know?
Yes. Take this now and apply it to someone walking around in the world and they want to go hang-gliding like you have. You’re saying you can create all these small steps.
Let’s use hang-gliding and let’s use speaking on stage. Suppose you’re scared of heights, maybe do some stuff that’s not too high for a while, and going flying with an instructor is a whole different ball game to flying solo. You go tandem with someone who’s been doing it for twenty years, you might go up the first few times and go up to the mountain and watch people. Maybe you do it, maybe you don’t and one day, you might be like, “This doesn’t look too bad.” You can also go to some lower hills. You go off and you fly for 30 seconds and you do a quick little landing. Do some training wheels.
You are stair-stepping in training wheels. You’re taking your time.
Speaking on stage, I love this one because I’ve had to go through the training wheels and I’ve helped a lot of people with that. You don’t go and get up in front of 500 people where you don’t know your topic. You’re not going to do that, but you could start with writing a speech. That’s where we start, and I usually get clients to book a night with their friends. With a pandemic, you could book a Zoom date for twenty minutes with 4 or 5-year friends that love you and you say, “I’m going to practice,” and you do it, you practice. When I did it, I got them to fill in a testimonial form at the end, so now I had three testimonials from random people, and I went and got my first gig now. It was scary as hell almost all of them are. Although interesting, I said, “I do everything with fear anyway.” Podcast interviews are something that has shifted with time.
It used to be so scary.
It has gotten easy. I’ve done so much of it. I enjoy it. If it’s a big one like Business Networking International and Shana James, I took some Valium before this to get through it.
This is good, so the more you do things, the less the fear grips you. It might still be there. I still have that. I don’t love speaking in public. I used to have stomach aches for two weeks and I couldn’t talk to people for three days before I had to go inside because there was so much energy. Over the years of doing it, there is more relaxation, but I still get scared. I also heard that John Lennon continued to throw up before every show every time he went on stage. Once I also got that, that it’s not needing it to go away but using that energy to shift.
I heard a podcast interview with a woman who does security penetration testing, which I want to do. It’s where you try and get into a building where you’re not supposed to. They hire you to see if you can break through the security and get in.
That sounds terrifying and fun.
She said you think it gets easier, but she’ll go and she’s trying to get the way past security. She’s telling lies. She’s using fake security cards. She’s trying to get past security, knowing she could be caught, and the police called in at any point and there are people to do this in banks. I thought it was fascinating that the poor woman never got over it but she loves what she does and she gets nervous every time. It feels good at the end when you get off the stage or you finish that scary thing or you finish that paragliding flight, and you’re on a high. Sometimes that’s why I do it because it feels so good to have achieved it.
There’s nothing alike on the day after a huge speaking engagement or the day after I’ve done something super scary. I find my nervous system is open and calm in a way that it doesn’t usually get to.
We’re throwing two lifelines to readers now. One lifeline is you don’t have to get over the fear, and it’s okay and totally normal to be afraid and do it. You might even choose to name it and I want to add to that about even naming it on stage. The other lifeline is as you do it, a lot of these things do get a lot easier. There are tough conversations that used to be scary and freaky for me, and now with having done a lot, I can say to someone, “You get better at setting the context.”
My assistant sent me a message saying, “Do you think you’d get around to paying me today?” I swear to God, that’s the language. I sent a message and I said, “I want to check. I could see how that could be taken as friendly and literal. Do you think you could get around to it? I’d appreciate it. Also, it could be a bit snarky, and maybe you’ve got some frustration that’s coming through and I’m okay with either. I want to know what we’re talking about here.” That was pretty easy for me because I’ve done this many times, so I take it to heart. It probably will get easier, and if it doesn’t and you care enough about it, it probably won’t kill you.
That’s great because I was going to say, “What’s next?” You said it probably won’t kill you. That’s a good context to remember.
We talked about naming that mouse. It’s a bit more of an elephant. If you’re going to get on stage and you’re nervous, it’s probably a bit of an elephant in the room like you know about it. They probably know about it, so I call that an elephant. It’s a great thing. You might make a joke about it, but you might be from up here, you guys look pretty scary or you could say, “Public speaking is an edge for me, and I’m here because I want you to have this information.”
I have so much respect when I hear that because I’m like, “This person isn’t just doing this to get off, get noticed or whatever. There’s something that this person is committed to even working through the fear.”
Going back to our example of the guy sharing a desire or sharing nervousness, this is another example where you don’t want to bleed from it. You don’t want to have it be a problem they have to fix for you. You’re like, “I’m nervous. This is edgy for me and I’m here because I want you to get this information. In fact, will you all take a deep breath with me? That would help me.” What a wonderful thing. We’re all now doing something together. They totally get it and you’re like, “Let’s do this.”
How did you make that shift in the time that you were on stage and you said, “Two minutes in, I dropped in?” How did you get from that fear to the top end?
You did remember.
This was 1,200 people. It was T. Harv Eker’s event. I was terrified when I went up there. What helped is Harv infuses his audience so much and he talks about the Law of Reciprocity. He says, “You’re going to get what you give.” When I got up there, I stood with the audience, they stood up, and I applauded for 66 seconds before I opened my mouth. I stood there, I was with them and I breathed, so that helped, that’s why they kept going. They saw I was taking it in. I saw some people in the audience, I smiled, I waved and I had my friends there. It was a huge thing. Did that help?
Secondly, I was honest. I used to do a song and dance, which is like, “I’m going to try and present all this stuff, and I hope you like it enough and you’re going to buy.” I’m quite upfront, I say, “Here’s what I’ve learned how to do and if you like, I’d be happy to show you. Would that be useful to you?” At that time, I told them that I was making $40,000 a month, and if I worked three days in that month, it would spike from $40,000 to $70,000 from working three days.
I told them what I’m not. I said, “You’ll speak to a lot of millionaires now, I’m not the guy to tell you how to make all the millions, but I could show you how to earn money while you’re sleeping about something you care about, and that would make a difference for the world. Is that something you’d be interested in?” They went nuts. They’re like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “I will tell you about that.” I was talking about something I care about and I knew a lot about, and here’s another thing that let me relax. I tell myself, I told you I’m biased towards transparency and authenticity. I’m an over-sharer, so if I made a mistake, I’d laugh about it and I tell them. At one point, I kept turning around to see what was on the screen behind me because that’s where my notes were on the slides. I was doing this for half an hour.
Before you realized that the monitor is down below.
The monitor is in front of me. What a lot of people would do, and I would have done this earlier in my life, is glossed over it. It happens. It’s reached my conscious attention, “Let’s gloss over it and keep doing my song and dance.” I laughed and I said to them, “Guys, consummate professional that I am, here I am looking around all the time and I’ve just noticed the monitors in front of me.” We all had a good laugh about it and more laughs every time I forgot and looked around behind me.
I like that piece around you. First of all, you’ve included them in seeing something bigger than your fear, and you’ve also included them in your humanity and not feeling like that needs to be the thing. You don’t anymore get stopped by the fear of, “If I tell them this or show them my fear, then that’s all they’re going to see in me.” You know that there’s more to you than that, so you don’t have to get stuck in that fear trap of, “Then that’s all they’re going to see.”
Earlier in life, I did speaking. I got paid to fly into the state at the age of 28 or 29. It was exciting. You get paid $1,000 and they flew me. I was sharing the stage with some big politicians and whatever, so it was exciting but I was a fake. I didn’t know it but I was pretty young and I was new to the coaching thing. I had a lot of fear and I didn’t show it. After doing that for a couple of years, I stopped for six years. What made it hard was I felt my livelihood depended on it, so I needed them to like me and to buy from me. For years, I didn’t speak on stage and this speech I told you about was the first one in years, and something that helped is I didn’t feel I needed it anymore. I was already successful as a coach. This was a bonus. If people bought my stuff, that would be great. If they didn’t, I didn’t need it and I thought if I could sell $10,000 in product from the stage, I can hold my head up high.
I love what that speaks to also. When you’re not in a selling conversation, but you’re with someone, a partner, or you’re asking for something, you already know your own value. If somebody knows their own value, that fear can dissipate some of it and it can be worth it to move through that fear.
I said $10,000 and at the end of my speech, people paid $127,000 in fifteen minutes. One person leapt on the table and the next time we did that same speech, there were 20% less people in the audience and we tripled sales by $330,000. A lot of it was like, “I’m going to push this on you. This is some cool stuff. If this is helpful, here’s how you can get it,” and I made it compelling.
What do you want to leave men with what feels most important to say?
You’re allowed to be afraid. I’m Australian. We weren’t allowed to be afraid or to have emotions growing up in Australia, but I’ve spent years of my life learning that you can be plenty afraid. In fact, you should be at times. There are many reasons to be afraid. It’s good information and you don’t have to face that fear. You may want to because you’ll feel good about it. You push back your boundaries and you grow as a person. Plus, it’s great for your business to go and ask that celebrity for an endorsement, to write the foreword to your book, ask that person for the sale, ask that woman out, or ask for the Catholic schoolgirl uniform in the bedroom. You might want to face that fear. Hopefully, you’ve got some tools and tips now that you can go into it and either conquer the fear that’s great or be afraid and do it anyway.
Thank you so much. Where can people find more of you?
I have a gift basket for business owners, so if anyone does own a business here and if you want more productivity, you might want this as well. There’s a cheat sheet on how to achieve twice as much in half the time. There’s a training that is normally two hours, I boiled it down to 35 minutes of the best stuff on how to double revenue and your time off in the next twelve months. You can get those goodies or get on my mailing list at MyFocusGift.com. It takes you straight to my website and you get those goodies.
Thank you, David.
Thanks, Shana. It’s good to see you.
I’m glad you joined us for this episode. I hope you enjoyed our conversation, and it gives you something to consider and explore in your life. If you like what you read, I’d be grateful for you to subscribe and write a quick review that helps men like you find us. Head over to ShanaJamesCoaching.com/Quiz or text the word, ALIVE, to 44144 to get a sense of how you can become a better lover and leader. You’ll start to see how you can be both more respected and desired in your unique and genuine way. If you don’t feel as confident or as excited about life or love as you’d like to be, this quiz is a great starting point and will guide you toward a more passionate love life, more inspiring and successful career. Join us each week for a new episode of Man Alive.
- David Wood
- Tough Conversations – David Wood episode with Shana James
About David Wood
A former Consulting Actuary to Fortune 100 companies – including Sony Music, Chanel, and Exxon – David left his cushy Park Avenue job 20 years ago to build the world’s largest coaching business. He became #1 on Google for “life coaching”, serving an audience of 150,000 coaches, and coaching thousands of hours across 12 countries.
Alongside his clients’ successes, David is no stranger to overcoming challenges himself, having overcome a full collapse of his paraglider and a fractured spine, witnessing the death of his sister at age seven, severe anxiety and depression, and a national Gong Show!
He is the author of Get Paid For Who You Are, with foreword by Jack Canfield. He was nominated to the exclusive Transformational Leadership Council alongside such thought leaders as Don Miguel Ruiz, John Gray, and Marianne Williamson.