How can you learn to overcome fear and conquer self-doubt? With a little bit of courage, a lot of confidence and a dash of improv!
In this episode of my series, “The World’s Most Interesting People,” I sat down with Author & Speaker, Judi Holler. She is a professionally trained improviser and alumni of Second City’s Conservatory in Chicago who uses her training every single day to embrace fear, manage self-doubt, and get more comfortable being UNCOMFORTABLE. She wrote the book “Fear Is My Homeboy” that became an instant Amazon best seller!
Mel Robbins endorsed her book calling it “relatable, relevant and most importantly ACTIONABLE!”
In this episode we chat about how to overcome fear and conquer self-doubt…and a little bit of improv! Here’s how:
Step #1: Be a Fear Boss
Judi believes that we never actually conquer our fear. Instead, she thinks that we should learn to dance with it.
Dance with your fear.
How do we do that? To be a Fear Boss we have to manage our fear rather than conquer it.
“Fear less instead of being fearless,” Judi explained.
Living a life without fear means that there’s no challenge. Everything is an opportunity to dance with fear and learn from it.
When you feel afraid, ask yourself:
Is this fear here to keep me safe, teach me, or just wake me up?
To Judi, that feeling when we start something new, that discomfort, is life. Personally, her biggest fear is becoming irrelevant which has, in turn, kept her moving personally and professionally. It fuels her hustle.
I believe that all fear is fuel. Our greatest fears are merely fuel for our drive. What can your fear fuel?
Step #2: Put Yourself First
Judi works harder on herself than she works on her business — and this is a good thing!
Your business can’t work, if you don’t work.
When Judi works well — emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, then her business does better too.
Do you work on yourself?
How can you protect your personal time as well as your business time?
Tamsen Webster, the creator of the Red Thread, does this by utilizing “Mind Day Mondays” in her workplace. She sets up an ‘Out of Office’ that tells everyone she is offline to write, think, walk, research, and ultimately create and inspire new content.
Judi protects her time as well by having “Freestyle Fridays” for herself. She encourages us all to be brave and step out of the “hamster wheel of going to work, checking email, going on social.”
How can you carve out time for yourself?
Step #3: Go Scared
After building a career in the hospitality business, Judi accepted a promotion that led her to Chicago. Desiring to craft her sales skills, she decided to take basic improv classes at Second City’s Conservatory.
She signed up, paid all the fees, and… never went.
Why? Her biggest fear was that it was too late and she was too old.
Luckily, a few months later she re-registered and finally went to class. She opened the door and the first person she saw was a 59-year-old professor and a 62-year-old salesman, both who were also taking improv to stay relevant.
It is never too late. Eventually she auditioned for the conservatory and started performing shows. She calls improv her “Fear Church” because it’s where she works out her discomfort muscle.
Here’s what you need to know: Judi tried again. And so can you.
It’s never too late and you are never too old!
Everyone starts at zero.
Judi says if you just keep showing up, you will get more brave. Successes may come the second, third, fourth, fifth time you try. Just open the door and go scared.
Step #4: Embrace the Everyday Improv
What is improv?
Improv (abbreviated from improvisation) is two or more people collaborating in an environment of uncertainty with the common goal of creating a solution.
Judi says we are all improvising every day. We are collaborating, seeking solutions, and navigating change.
Watch Judi and I play an improv game in the video above — and maybe even try one yourself.
Here’s the bottom line: Think of your life like a big improv show. Be playful, experiment, see the people you are with as partners with a shared goal.
Step #5: Self-doubt is…good?
Have you ever heard the term imposter syndrome?
I used to think it was a bad thing — my self-doubt, my fear of being unworthy. But Judi reframed this for me in a powerful way.
When you feel imposter syndrome. It means you just leveled up.
Frequently, many of us deal with impostor syndrome in our professional worlds where we feel like we don’t deserve to be, often times with thoughts of “I’m not _____ enough.”
Judi believes that when this self-doubt shows up, you’ve arrived.
“You’re becoming a version of yourself that you’ve never been before. It’s new, so it makes you feel out of sorts, out of place. Self-doubt is a side effect of bossing up. It’s evidence that you’ve leveled up,” she explained.
A practical way that she deals with this doubt is to consider that people are going to talk about you no matter what, so who are you living your life for? Self-doubt is a great place to engage in your Fear Boss Fitness and lean into the discomfort.
You’ll get stronger as you continue to step into the place of fear and pick up the weight. It will never get easier, but you will get stronger.
Judi’s bottom line is this: Get uncomfortable, every day, on purpose.
Resources mentioned in interview:
Where to find Judi: