Rhonda Britten shares her story of overcoming a child's worst nightmare, to practical strategies that you can use to live a fearless, unstoppable life.
- The exercises that founded Rhonda Britten’s fearless living today
- Helpful tips to work through your anxiety and fears
- Gratitude vs. acknowledgment
- How your ‘wheel of fear’ and ‘wheel of freedom’ work together
- And more
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People that have a difficult time with gratitude blame the world. The world is at fault. They can't be grateful because they blame the world. People that have a difficult time with acknowledgment, blame themselves.
GEORGE: Hey, this is George Fourie and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media business podcast. So today I'm joined with a special guest. Once again not chatting to a martial artist, but someone that can really, really help inspire this community. And I'm speaking today to Rhonda Britten. How are you today Rhonda?
RHONDA: I'm very fine George and I'm so excited to be here.
GEORGE: Thank you so much for taking the time. So real quick, Rhonda is from fearlessliving.org. Rhonda has also been featured on Oprah I believe and had a TV show?
RHONDA: Yep, 600 episodes of television and I actually aired all over the world. I've done six hundred episodes of television, I've got an Emmy. Written four books, first life coach on TV, Oprah several times, Steve Harvey… And most importantly, just somebody who has devoted her life to helping people understand how fear really works.
Not from a theoretical perspective, but really from a practical application perspective. So yeah, so I've been around the block. I've been master coaching for 25 years, I was one of the first original life coaches and now here I am with you George.
GEORGE: Awesome. So what brings us here today obviously is a different climate out there of global pandemic and so forth. And there is a lot of fear in the air. People are experiencing a lot of fear, but people are also being pushed in a position of leadership, which can be kind of a contradiction, right? Because if you’re feeling fear yourself but you're in this position to step up and lead… Where do you find the instincts to actually do that?
RHONDA: Well, what you're talking about right, is knowing the why behind your, you know, like Simon Sinek says right, like the big why, right? But what I know to be true is that, you know, times of crisis actually define us and actually tell us who we really are. Because right now I think, you know, most people don't say they're afraid. Like, what people don’t come to me and go “I'm afraid, I'm scared,” right?
And when I meet people and I tell them I'm a fear expert, they're like “oh I don't have any fears, I'm not scared.” but right now with the global pandemic, you can't hide from your fear, right? It's all over the place.
And so right now, if you have a crack in your foundation, that crack is showing, right? That crack is showing. And as a leader, as somebody who has to, you know, stand up and lead, those cracks are opportunities for you to transform your tribe, transform your business, transform yourselves. So it's not about hiding the cracks; in fact right now, leaders need to be not only clear and focused, but they also need to be vulnerable.
So that's one of the things that I know to be true. So you have cracks in your foundation – OK, awesome. Now you get to look at your foundation with clear eyes, not pretend it's better than it has been and actually admit to yourself what isn't working for you and what is working for you.
And not only, you know, fill in the cracks, but actually think about creating a whole new foundation, so that not only can you build from where you are right here and right now, but that you can build no matter what the environment is, no matter what happens in the world.
GEORGE: Awesome, so you just mentioned, you were saying that in a moment of crisis you really sort of define. Now, you've got quite a fascinating story and I think people need to hear it if people aren't familiar with you. I would love for you to just share your story, to really give context of how you got to this knowledge and what you’re really referring to here.
RHONDA: Yeah, thank you, I really appreciate you asking me that George. And what you're referring to of course is the worst day of my life. And I'll tell the short version of the story. I was 14 years old and my parents were in the midst of a divorce and it happened to be father's day. My father was coming to take us out to brunch and, you know, my father walked in and went, “Come on, come on”, because that's what dads do. And my mom's putting on her blue eyeshadow, fluffing up her beehive hairdo.
And my sisters are fighting it out in the bathroom and me and my mom start, you know, walking out towards my dad to get to the car, to go out to the fancy sunday brunch. My sister's still fighting it out and as me and my mom and dad walk out, my dad mentioned that he wanted to get his coat from the car.
And as he lifted the boot as they say, lifted the trunk, I noticed he didn't grab a coat, but he in fact grabbed a gun and he started screaming at my mother “you made me do this! You made me do this!” – and he fires. Now I started screaming “Dad, what are you doing?! What are you doing dad?! Stop!” and he cocked the gun and he pointed it at me. And I absolutely 100% believed I was next.
And he looked at me, I looked at him. I blinked, he blinked. It seemed like eternity, but I'm sure it was only a few seconds. And then my mother, with already one bullet inside her, saw what's happening and screamed “No, don’t!” and so that bullet intended for me, my father took and shot my mother a second time. And that second bullet went through my mother's abdomen out her back and landed smack dab in the car horn. And the car horn just beeeeeeeeep.
Hey, I mean over 20 years, if I heard a car horn, I was right back there in the moment. And then my father cocked the gun again and fell to his knees, put the gun to his head and fired. So in a matter of two minutes, I am the sole witness of my father murdering my mother and committing suicide in front of me.
Now, I don't know how other people would respond to it, but I know what I did. I blamed myself, right? Because I was the only one out there that could have changed it. I didn't jump in front of my mother, I did nothing heroic. I didn't grab the gun, I didn't kick my father in the shins, right?
I did nothing heroic. I just… Dad's out there and I said, don't ,stop, don't. And the level of guilt and shame that I felt basically took happiness off the table for me. Like, you can't be happy and watch your mom die, sorry, not an option anymore for me.
So I basically split in two that day. The outside of me was fine. I'm fine, you know, I'm sure we've all played the fine game, right? Like, no, I'm fine, plenty of money in the bank, I'm good, yeah, fine. But inside, you're scared to bejeebers, right? And that's how I was.
Like, outside I pretended I was fine. Kept going to school, got straight A's, I'm fine. But inside, I was deathly afraid that there was something seriously wrong with me. I mean, one, my father's blood ran through my veins and I became afraid of feeling that there was something, like really damaged about me, like, really wrong with me.
And so I went away to college, which I thought, yay, nobody knows my story, I can hide from it. When in fact, me hiding it and me stuffing it down even further, had me start drinking. I discovered alcohol, became an alcoholic, got three DUIs. Decided, you know what, this isn't worth living for. So I tried to kill myself three times.
And it was that third suicide attempt George that I realized something. I realized I'm not good at killing myself. And yeah, I'm not dying George, I'm not dying. Because George, I got to tell you: that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to die. And here I am, very much alive after you try to kill yourself three times, they do put you in the psychiatric ward to evaluate you.
And so I was there, I don’t know, three or four days. They evaluated me, I'm not crazy, and left me to go home by myself. And I remember sitting in my little studio apartment and going, uh okay, I'm not dying. Okay, I better figure this out, because how I'm living isn't working for me. Like, this is miserable, right?
And now I want to preface this George by saying, you know, during this whole time, during these years, I was reading books and going to therapy and doing workshops. I mean, I read my first self-help book when I was 12. So, you know, I have been devoted to personal growth and self-development ever since I can remember, it's what I'm passionate about.
And so I was doing everything right that I thought I should do. And yet it wasn't relieving me of the burden of thinking there was something wrong with me. That there's something seriously like, wrong. And so it wasn't until that third suicide attempt when I'm sitting in my apartment all by myself and I say to myself, well, I guess I have to figure this out.
And I started out of desperation making up exercises for myself – and shockingly, they started working. Still today, I'm still shocked that they work and every time they work for people, which is all the time, I still get shocked when people send me a, you know, note saying “oh my gosh, changed my life.” I'm always like, “really?”, you know, because it's just, you know, it's just still so amazing to me that the work that changed my life changes so many others.
And so I started doing exercises, they started working. Made more exercises up, those worked. And then eventually, you know, it took me many years to start something called fearless living of course. But it was the exercises I started with in that studio apartment all by myself in Los Angeles are really the foundation of fearless living today.
GEORGE: Wow. That's quite a story. Now, I really want to backtrack because you mentioned that you had the self-worth issues.
GEORGE: That you took the blame on yourself.
RHONDA: Sure, of course.
GEORGE: And I really want to get to the exercises, because that really, I think, you know, people in general. I know I’ve had, you know, the self-talk moments.
RHONDA: Yeah, self attack. Like, who do you think you are, what's your problem, why don't you get it together, right? Yeah.
GEORGE: How did you get pass that? Like, obviously you've got to make the decision and have the awareness that it's actually a problem that you need to change it. But let's say you’re at that point and, you know, alright, well as you were after your third suicide, you know, alright, well, something's got to change.
RHONDA: Something's got to change.
GEORGE: How do you go pass that?
RHONDA: Well, one of the very first exercises I created actually addresses this very thing. And I remember sitting in my apartment, like I said, I don't know what to do. And I actually said to myself George, I gotta go back to kindergarten. I actually said that. Like, I've got to go back to kindergarten. And I said to myself what do they do in kindergarten? Well, they give you gold stars.
So I went out and bought a calendar and gold stars. And at this point you have to remember that I didn't feel worthy to be happy or worthy to be successful or worthy to be loved. Even though out in the world I was so good at faking, people that met me probably were like “Yeah, that Rhonda, she's great,” you know. But again, like, I didn't think that, I didn't agree with that one bit.
So, I got gold stars, got a calendar and I decided that for 30 days, I was going to keep track of anything that I did that was good. Because I felt so not worth living for and why did I exist that I wanted to find anything worth saving. Like, that’s what I was looking for. What we’re saving here? Am I worth saving?
So, I kept track for 30 days and gave myself a gold star for anything good and George, these were things like, got angry and didn’t break anything. Ok? Like, oh, you know, felt rejected, but didn’t run away, right? Like, I'm talking basic things, but back then, that was like a life saver for me.
Me getting angry and not destroying anything, or me feeling humiliated or upset and not walking away was a miracle, right? And so, after those 30 days, I had a calendar filled with gold stars. And that gave me hope that there is something worth saving.
Now, that exercise George has turned into what I call acknowledgments. And acknowledgments are something the high achievers are really bad at. And people that are attracted to fearless living and self help junkies, they’re also really bad at it, because they, you know, they kind of pride themselves on telling themselves the truth about how they’re screwing up so they can improve themselves. When in fact, acknowledgments are going to give you more bang for your buck and your acknowledgments are actually a way for you to have confidence, the way to actually create steady confidence.
So it’s something like this, you do it this way: today I acknowledge myself for and acknowledge yourself for any movement forward. And I'm talking about any movement forward. I have an exercise called “stretch, risk or die” that I teach my clients how like, their comfort zone is right in the middle and there's a structure on the “risk or die” zone and I say, even if you’re moving from your comfort zone to your stretch zone, you acknowledge yourself.
So George, I want to caveat this: because it’s not acknowledging yourself for being perfect. It's not acknowledging yourself for getting it done. It's not acknowledging yourself for how well you did it – it is literally, I had a new thought: acknowledge yourself. Right?
Oh, I made a phone call. Phone call went crappy, didn't go the way I wanted – doesn't matter, acknowledge yourself for making the phone call. So you're basically acknowledging without judging, without putting a oh good or bad on it. You're just acknowledging movement forward.
And when I started just simply giving myself credit for the movement I was making, not how well I did it, but just the movement, that changed everything. Because the confidence started to rise, self esteem started to rise. And when I work with clients and they’re like, I need more self confidence, I go, do this exercise and I guarantee in three days you'll feel better.
I've had parents do this with their kids: within 24 hours, 48 hours, they feel better. I mean, it's a confidence booster big time. Because we, as high achievers, well, we don't give ourselves those acknowledgments, we only see the next thing we have to do and how we can do it better, right? And how we should have done it better. And how it could have been faster. And all of that actually erodes our self confidence and self esteem. So that star exercise turned into acknowledgments.
GEORGE: And I love this exercise. So it's almost like practicing gratitude, but at the micro level. Like if you're struggling with gratitude it's like, well, I've got nothing to be grateful for, or this really peels back the layers. Right?
RHONDA: Well, I like to think of it this way. In the world of fearless living, gratitude and acknowledgments are for different reasons. So gratitude is about the world out there, right? So I'm grateful that today Los Angeles is like, the number one clean air city in the world, which never happens, right? So I'm really grateful that I'm breathing clean air and that this global pandemic has created.
I can see the stars and the moon better than I ever have before. I'm really grateful for this moment that I get to see the sky the way that I do, right? So gratitude is about out there. Acknowledgments are all about you. They're about you. So it's very different.
And usually George, people that have a difficult time with gratitude blame the world. The world is at fault. They can't be grateful because they blame the world. People that have a difficult time with acknowledgments, blame themselves.
And as most high achievers, most people that are making it on their own, businesses, want to do better, they have a tendency to blame themselves. And so acknowledgments for most of my clients are the hardest work sometimes that they do. Because just to give themselves credit takes an enormous amount of surrender, an enormous amount of willingness, enormous amount of perfectionism has to go away, you know? All that fear stuff.
So acknowledgments are all about you taking responsibility and claiming the movement that you made, again, whether it worked or not, whether it was good or not, whether how it looked or not – irrelevant. Did you have a new thought? Did you make a movement? Did you do something? Right? And then when you do that, you're going to start giving yourself credit and this is the reason that acknowledgments are so powerful, is that they become a diary of our effort.
I don't know about you George, but most of my life, if I made an effort and it didn't turn out the way I wanted, I forgot all about that effort. Right? I was like, well, that didn't work and I just threw it out the window, right? This becomes a diary and a reminder for you to go, oh wait, id o know how to do that. I did do that. Life is good, right? So it just changes.
GEORGE: Thanks so much for clarifying that, because that makes a lot of sense to me. Gratitude versus acknowledgments: gratitude out there, acknowledgments in here.
RHONDA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GEORGE: How can we tie this into the topic of fear and how things are holding us back?
RHONDA: Ah! Well, you know, fear is insidious. So let me just say a little bit about neuroscience and I know you probably know all this already, but I'll just say it, just in case, you know, so we have a firm foundation. You know, the way the brain and our neurobiology works is that the brain doesn't know the difference between a physical fear and an emotional fear. Ok?
And I know the people who listen to you, physical fear is like their specialty, right? Like, they help people through their physical fears. But those physical fears and emotional fears again, we don't know the difference.
So a fear of rejection and a fear of height to the body and brain are the same thing. All right? The other thing about the way the brain works, the brain does not know the difference between something imagined and something real.
So we walk into a room and we don't think we belong there and, you know, we're going to make up a story about it and we live out that story then. Because we actually are, we're hanging on to the imagined story we've made up. So the brain doesn't know the difference. The other thing about the brain is they’re doing research now and they’re starting to prove that some of our fears are actually handed down through our DNA.
So, you know, some of the things that you may have a fear of failure, or a fear of rejection or a fear of success, or a fear of loss or a fear of identity, or you know, etc. Etc. Fear of speaking in public, right? Any fear. Perfectionist, procrastination etc. All of those things are ways, I'll just put it this way: fear’s number one job is to keep us safe.
And so, your fears are handed down through your DNA, you experience fear as you're growing up, you don't know it because it's just reality. You don't think of it as, I'm afraid of my mom or my dad or my fellow students unless they are hitting you. You just know that they're mean, or you know, you judge them and you put them aside.
So how fear works is that fear wants to keep you in a safe place. The challenge is George, safety means that it's the same. And they’ve been proving this in neuroscience now that the brain actually and the way we work, body and brain, is we’re energy machines. And in order to conserve energy, the brain automatically – it has a problem, it has a problem, global pandemic. Problem. And the brain automatically to save energy, looks in the past for the solution.
So it's looking for a template in the past, going through your books that you already own and going, I've got to have a book here about global pandemic. I'm sure I've cured this before, I'm sure I did this before. And there is no template! Right? So then what happens? Our body and brain gets panicked, because now we don't know what to do, because again, the way that the body and brain find information is looking in the past. Well, the past template does not solve the current problem. And rarely does, right?
So we’re actually unconsciously, not knowing we’re doing it, looking in the past, super fast, auto responder, right? To solve a problem that we’re experiencing in the present, that past template, we’ve outgrown, it doesn't work for us anymore.
Which then, we’re trying to use a past template in the present to create a new future and you and I both know that doesn't work. So I want you to imagine for a minute that you're trying to, you know, create a new business, or make more money or find some steady ground in this pandemic. In order to do that, automatically, your brain is going to look in the past – it's not there. So now you’re in the unknown.
So I like to say that freedom, freedom equals your capacity to live in the unknown. Freedom equals your capacity to live in the unknown. But our body and brain are completely petrified of the unknown, they don't wanna live there. They’re concerned about security and safety. And remember one of our number one core needs is safety. And when we don't feel safe, we retreat. And instead, we want to move forward, right? Does that make sense?
GEORGE: Yeah, terribly.
RHONDA: I feel like I'm missing a little piece there. I feel like I'm missing something, so I hope you're going to ask me about it, I just know there's something I didn't connect.
GEORGE: Well, let's take a step forward, right? How do we navigate then into the sphere of the unknown? How do we go there?
RHONDA: Yeah. So let me talk you through the “stretch, risk or die” exercise, because I think that's going to be the best illustration. So think of your comfort zone. I mean, we all know what a comfort zone is. Our comfort zone is what we do, you know, I like to tell people, think of your comfort zone as your life right now.
So married, not married, kids, no kids, you know, worried about your bank account, not worried about your bank account. Whatever is happening today, in this moment, let's make it your comfort zone, even though it's not very comfortable.
So think about it as a bullseye, a bullseye on a dart board. The second ring around that comfort zone is called the stretch zone. And now, the stretch zone is the things George, that you now you can do, you just haven’t done.
Like, think about all the things, I can think about a whole bunch of things that I know I can do and I haven’t done. You know, how much vegetables should I be eating? I know I should be going to sleep – oh, I know I should be making that extra thousand steps on my pedometer, right? I know these things; why aren't I doing it? This is the tricky part George because the stretch zone is the simplest zone, because you know you can do it. But in fact, it's where we beat ourselves up the most because we know we can do it and we’re not doing it! Ok?
RHONDA: So we’re ruthless with ourselves! We're so mean to ourselves! Now, the circle around the stretch zone is called the risk zone. And the risk zone is the things you don't know if you could succeed or not. You're not sure you could do it. The die zone is outside of that, the die zone is like, I don't know if I can do that, – I don't even know if I want to do it, right?
So I think about when I trained for a marathon. A marathon was definitely a die for me, I haven't run since high school, right? So a stretch for me was, sure I would walk 5 miles, no problem. I should my comfort zone was walking 5 miles; a stretch would have been, you know, maybe walking 7 or 8 miles, right? Like I probably can do it, you know. A risk was running a mile, or running 3 miles – I didn't know if I could actually run a mile. I haven't run since high school. So I don't know, I don't know if I could succeed or not.
And then like I said, the die was running the marathon. So I want you to imagine that in between the comfort zone, the stretch zone, the risk zone, the die zone, is a band of fear. And for you to move from your comfort zone to your stretch zone, you must move through what I call the wheel of fear. And in order to move from the stretch zone to the risk zone, you must move through that band of fear.
So we blow it, we go, “I have to add more vegetables” and then we don't add the vegetables and then we beat ourselves up for it. That actually has made our neural pathways stronger in the fact of beating ourselves up, putting ourselves down and proving that we are unworthy. Proving that you're lazy, proving that you're stupid, proving that you don't have it to be successful, right?
So every time that we want to make a change in our life, we actually are rubbing up against the wheel of fear, what I call the wheel of fear. And most of us don't know how that works. Most of us don't have a relationship with our fear. And so they just blame themselves, put themselves down, think it's their fault. But it's actually not, it's how we're wired. And once you know how you're wired, you can make a different choice and move from that wheel of fear to the wheel of freedom.
GEORGE: I love that.
RHONDA: Does that make sense?
GEORGE: Yeah, totally. So I've got this visual picture of the wheels of how…
GEORGE: …you know, the band of fear really sits. So it's really never a question of feeling comfortable at what, reaching a level of comfort in our comfort zone thinking, okay, I'm now comfortable where I'm at – it's time to take the next step. It's always taking that leap into that stretch of fear and knowing, well, hang on: I've gotta embrace the fear because fear means I'm going in the right direction.
RHONDA: Yeah, I mean it's like, think of it this way. You know, fear is really subtle, so let me just step back with this. Most people like you and I George don't say I'm afraid or I'm scared. I mean, I am shocked that I'm a fear expert because I never, even when I was going through with my parents and after, you know, those nightmares every night for 14 years of becoming an alcoholic, I never would have said I'm afraid or scared. I never would have said that. But what people don't see and what I didn't see is that fear doesn't show up as, you know, like a big giant monster.
Fear shows up in our behaviors and our problems. So how do we know that we have fear, that fear’s on patrol? If we procrastinate, there's a fear under that.
If we get overwhelmed, there's a fear under that. If we're a perfectionist, there's a fear under that. If we get anxious, there's a fear under that. If we judge, there's a fear under that. If we're comparing, there's a fear under that. If we complain, there’s a fear under that, right? So all the things that we think, “God I wish I would quit people-pleasing. God, I wish I wouldn’t be a perfectionist. God, I've gotta quit procrastinating.” all those things we’re like, I wish I could quit doing.
All of those are just fear responses. Those are not the fear itself; that is just the response that we're having to the fear that keeps us then stuck, stuck and small and convinces us, because we're not doing those things that we then don't have a right, or we don't have what it takes to actually go for the dream we want, or actually make the changes that we really want to make, right?
So in order to really see fear for what it is, we have to really start with our fear responses. And actually no, you're not a procrastinator because you're stupid or, you know, lazy: you’re a procrastinator because you're afraid of something underneath that. And that's where the wheel of fear comes in.
Because I believe wholeheartedly, based on the work that I've done and the research I've done, is that the only way that you can truly change your life is by changing your filtering system. And the best way to change your filtering system is to have a mental model that really sets you free. So I created a mental model called the “wheel of fear.” And the wheel of fear basically explains to you, shows you how you operate when you get triggered, right? And so like, I have two pairs of glasses here wait, what – yep, I do have two pairs of glasses.
So let's just imagine that for a minute George, that these are my wheel of fear glasses that I have on right now. So I'm looking at the global pandemic through my wheel of fear glasses. What am I going to look at? There's not enough opportunity. The government isn't coming faster. How am I going to get toilet paper? Where's my water? Oh my god, I'm going to… right? Like, those are the fear glasses. If you put on what we call the “wheel of freedom” glasses, you actually change the complete filtering system. And you see something, just a different world.
And you see opportunity and possibility and hope and goodness and clean air, and you see something completely different. So that's what I'm dedicated to, is helping people understand how their wheel of fear works and what their wheel of fear is, so that they can choose every day to move from their wheel of fear to their wheel of freedom.
So, you know, the wheel of fear has four parts and again, I could go into that but, you know, I believe that everybody has a core fear that they have that really runs them. And my core fear is, I don't want to be seen as a loser. Now, if you say to me oh Rhonda, I know my core fear: I don't want to be seen as lazy. It's like, trust me, you're wrong. You're wrong, you're dead wrong.
I have only met two people in my 25 years that actually knew what their wheel of fear was, because you will think that your wheel of fear is your fear response. That’s not your core fear, right? So, all your procrastination, your perfectionism, your anxiety, you’re overwhelmed, you're beating yourself up, you're putting yourself down – all those are just fear responses and there's something else driving those behaviors.
And for me, on my wheel of fear, that for me is the fear of being seen as a loser. The fear of being thought of as a loser, that anybody could see it, think it, smell it around me, right? And I'm automatically, my automatic system will go into overdrive the minute I think even for a second that you're thinking that, right?
And that's how we do, we're always operating unless for consciousness we're awake unless we're aware, we're operating to try to preserve ourselves, rather than to shed ourselves, right? To release ourselves. So that's, you know, that's our basic opportunity here, is who's going to win the wheel of fear or a wheel of freedom.
GEORGE: All right, so let's make this practical and let's choose someone out of the audience to be a guinea pig.
RHONDA: Oooooh, ok!
GEORGE: So I really relate to that, right? Again, I think I relate to that, but I could be wrong. Where you mention, all right well, you don't want to be a loser.
So here's something I know that comes up for me: I know that when I get into creative mode, I need to create content. I have this war of art moment. I procrastinate, or I find things to do. I actually, I was talking to Kylie Ryan about this, I mentioned, you know, I was just about to create a new program for our Partners group. And before I knew it, I was down at the store buying a new monitor. It was important, right?
And I’ve noticed, if I set aside a day and according to my Kolbe I should, you know, multitask and do things at the last minute, which is detrimental to me, but I do that. But either way if I know my day is set out that, this is my creation day and I've got to create things – I know that I'm going to find things to do throughout the day and put things, put obstacles in my way and I catch myself doing it. So let's, it's like that is an example.
RHONDA: Yeah, I love that. So that's basically the writer’s, you know, that's a writer's dilemma. As a writer, you know, every, every writer says they love to write, but they hate to sit down, right? Like the hardest thing is to sit down, right?
Every writer would tell you their house was spotless before they'll ever sit down and write a word, right? And on one level, just to talk about it from an ethereal level, is that on one level your brain is switching modes, right? Like creative, incubating and creating is very different than executing, ok? So, you know, you probably are in execution mode most of the time and now you're switching to creative mode. Well, that's a different way to be.
And part of creating is actually dabbling, you know, kind of scat, like kind of just hanging out, cleaning the house, you know, like that actually helps your whole body and brain release. It's kind of like when you want a good idea, where do we all go? We go to the shower, right? We go to the shower, because we're not thinking anymore, we're just in the shower and all of a sudden, an idea pops.
Well, it's that same theory when we're trying to create. Creativity is a, well there's a muse to creativity and you have to court the muse and so it's like, I think you're trying to… On one hand, I want you to be able to create from 9:00 to 5:00, or whatever you want.
I mean when I'm on a deadline for a book, I can write 3 o'clock in the morning – 4 o'clock in the afternoon, because I've got a deadline, right? I'm on purpose. I have zero procrastination. But if I'm not clear about what I'm doing or if I've been in execution mode, there has to be a space for me to change my energy and to prepare the space for me to be creative. So that's one part of it.
The other thing is that there are costs and benefits for you to be creative. So let's just talk about those: what do you think are some costs of you being creative? You came up with this new program. What are some costs? Let's just make them up.
GEORGE: Yeah well, costs are, is it going to be good enough?
RHONDA: Yeah, going to be good enough, yeah. Is anybody going to like it? Are people going to quit? They’re going to be like, oh he's gone downhill I'm leaving, right? Right?
GEORGE: That's, that's a cost, yeah.
RHONDA: Yeah, yeah. So all these, these are costs. So the benefits, what would the benefits be?
GEORGE: Benefits would be that my members get value and they get something that they can action that's going to move them forward.
RHONDA: Right, right. So there's good benefits and you're devoted. So this is what I know about you George: I know that even though you procrastinate because the costs are very high actually, I know that you as a human being are so devoted to your tribe that you actually will create that course.
It won't be when you say it is, it will be based on when it needs to be, because you’re a last-minute person – by the way, so am I. So, you know, I'm the person creating a course, like I'm teaching a class tomorrow and I haven't even thought about it yet.
Like, it's not even a thought in my head. Like, irrelevant to me, because it's tomorrow. After you and I get off the phone I'll be like, oh, tomorrow, yeah I need to think about that. And then I'll start and I'll jot down some notes.
But I, just like you, work at the last minute. So if I'm trying to force myself to go out of my own system, that in itself doesn't work. But I want you to hear that you rationally know the right answer – oh, I'm going to sit down and do this program. But fear comes in and goes, but we don't know how. And we don't have a guaranteed result. And who do you think you are? Come on, you know, you've been doing this for a long time right now.
Yeah, you say you know what you're doing, but what if they don't like it? You know, okay what if this loses your business? What if everybody knows you’re a fraud? What if, what if, what if, what if, right?
And again, you may not be thinking those thoughts. It may not be in your head, right? But they're inside of what I call the wheel of fear. They're the ways that the wheel of fear is, because you're saying to the wheel of fear, “Well I'm going to grow now. I'm going to change. I'm going to add, I'm going to create.” And the wheel of fear is like, “Ah not a good idea thank you very much! This is going to be bad.”
And so it tries to get you to be distracted and get you to go by that monitor and have you, you know, stamped in the middle of the night and then start working at 2:00 in the morning, right?
GEORGE: Totally. Okay, so I catch myself doing this. And I acknowledge my fear. What's my next step?
RHONDA: Well I don't know: are you going to sit down and write or are you just acknowledging your fear?
RHONDA: So there's a couple things. So like I said, we have something called the wheel of fear and a wheel of freedom, but to bypass that right now, to give you a really quick, quick way to start dealing with this, is actually start having a dialogue with fear. So the first thing you do is you never fight with fear. Never. It always wins.
Fear is as smart as you are, as educated as you are, as spiritual as you are, it knows everything you know, and it's way smarter than you. So we never argue with fear. So a fear says, this is going to be bad. This is what you'd say to fear: you're right, it's going to be bad and I'm going to do it anyway.
Oh well, this is, you know, I know you think this is going to bring value and you're going to suck it up and get it done but, you know, what if George doesn't like it? What if Harry doesn't like it? Well, they might not like it, that's right, they may not like it and I'm going to do it anyway. Okay, well you're making a fatal mistake. I might be making a fatal mistake, thank you so much – I'm going to do it anyway. Okay, well don't come crying to me. Okay. Right?
So one of the ways that we bypass is not fighting and not arguing. This is one of the tools inside the wheel of freedom, what I call the wheel freedom. One of the things that I teach my clients is how do you talk to fear and how do you move beyond fear. And what do you focus on instead? And what we focus on on the wheel of fear and wheel of freedom is, there's something called the essential nature.
Remember how I told you, like I don't want to be seen as a loser? Well, on my wheel of freedom what I focus on instead is being authentic. So if I'm afraid to be a loser or I think loser around my job is Rhonda Britten is – if I was being authentic right now, what would I do? Oh – I would say this, I would do this.
So you need to, you know, to have another shift of a mental model. It can't be just you and the project because it's bigger than the project. It's got to be like who you are and what really works for you. So whether it's, you know, being authentic, like, well if I was being authentic, would I be doing this project? Or it could be, if I was being compassionate with myself, or if I was being comfortable to myself, right?
But there's another frame that you have to decide to step into and take action from that new frame. So me being authentic is, you know, if you're afraid to be a loser, you're afraid if you're authentic that you're going to be a loser. And I have to know that that's not true. Like right, that's not true. If I was being authentic, who would I be? Oh. I would sit down and I might tell my group that it's going to be done next week and not be done now, right?
Or oh, I'm going to tell myself that maybe I don't know as much as I think I do and I have to do some research. Or maybe I do need somebody to help me be accountable to, right? Tell yourself the truth. But never, never, never, argue with fear/
GEORGE: I love that. Rhonda, so good. Before we wrap things up, I just want to bring it back to my audience. And looking at, you know, we’ve got martial arts school others that we work with, people are faced in various directions. You know, some people have had their income shot down 100%.
GEORGE: Many of them are Partners within our group of martial artists made the pivot online and are venturing in that new arena.
RHONDA: New world, yeah.
GEORGE: Yeah and I don't want to shift the topic too much and, you know, go down a whole new angle. But I just want to talk about the topic of money, because this has come up a lot of times where, I think especially in the martial arts space, there's been so much emphasis placed on the value that they deliver physically. And if they switch to the online, the detachment of what they deliver physically and they are doing online…
GEORGE: …They feel that it's just not right to charge money, or that they've got to do it for goodwill.
GEORGE: what would be your take on that and the relationship of money and feeling comfortable making that shift?
RHONDA: So I'm going to say two things: one is, I have an exercise that we can do in just a minute, but um… The thing is that, you know, I have a client of mine who's a martial artist. He's a… what kind of trainer is that, you know, in the cage, the cage trainers, right? Um…
GEORGE: Mixed martial arts.
RHONDA: Yeah, and he's… Yeah, right, mixed martial arts. So he is, you know, he said the same thing to me. He's like, you know, but I have to touch them and I have to move them. I'm saying, yeah, but right now what do you think everybody needs that are your clients?
I don't know about you, but I think they need a mindset. I think they need maybe critiques on… Like, you could put matches on line and you could critique them. You could help them understand their body better. Like, there are so many refinements, right? Like if you talk to a boxer, a martial artist: the work is not done in the ring, right? The work is done outside the ring, right? So using that attitude of like, okay, I'm not in the ring right now, I'm not with them physically: so what can I do? How can I support them?
That's going to give them a competitive edge and even better when we get back in the ring? And I think that's the mindset that you have to think of that you're doing like the heavy lifting, the deep, rooted work, right? The deep rooted work, without the physical body being there.
So I think that mindset work, getting people to understand that they can use their body, taking care of themselves, making sure they're staying in shape etc etc, doing the fine muscles, etc etc – I mean, this is important and valuable work that people will pay for. They will be happy to pay because they want to belong somewhere.
Because everybody, most people out there are feeling very, very alone, even though they have five people living in their house and they're stuck with them. They feel very alone and they want somebody that understands them, that knows them like this. That knows them in their power like this. They want to be seen, they want to be remembered, they want to be heard – and they want focus.
And you're the one to give them that, because you're their trainer. You're there whether there's a gym owner, a trainer, you know, you're their master. So help them during this time, it's your responsibility. I don't know that's a…
GEORGE: Yes, that is spot-on and very in alignment with what I've been telling our clients iIs really think of the outcome. There's an outcome that people actually get from the martial arts and if you can provide that through a different medium, that's going to keep them together until, you know, the new normal.
RHONDA: That's right. But again, you and I both know martial arts is a lot of mindset stuff. So if your mind is caught in the cracks in your foundation as I said earlier, then you get to do your mindset work alongside your clients. And you get to lead them through that. And that's your opportunity and that is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. And I promise you this they will remember you forever, leading them through this. They will remember you forever.
You know, I mean I think about the people that I've been talking to and I will never forget them, because they're helping, they're supporting, they’re being with, you know, like we're doing this together, right? So you're not just becoming, you know, who they've trained with; you're really becoming their mentor at a whole new level. So I invite you to take it. Yeah. And do you want me to throw this last exercise out? Because I promised I would, but again, I don't need to. I mean, are you complete, what do you think?
GEORGE: If you have the time Rhonda, I would love it.
RHONDA: I’ll just throw it out, because I actually said I would share it, so I want to give it. Another exercise to actually take about, whether it’s abundance or mindset whatever it is, you know, we're focused on the things like, “oh I've got to give everything away.” and again, goodwill is nice but what can you give for goodwill and what will you charge for you? You have to really start to understand that like, I'm doing a lot of Facebook lives right now for goodwill.
But I'm also charging my clients and I'm also charging for my courses, ok? I'm giving people a longer time to pay and some people I've been talking to are reducing fees 50% for one month or two months and then that's it so that their clients stay with them. But again, you don't have to do that to pay on what you provide, right?
So this exercise that I'm going to tell you and I'll end with this is control versus no control. So grab a piece of paper, put a line down the middle and on the left hand side write “control” and on the right hand side write “no control.” and I want you to write down all the things you are in control of and all the things you're not in control of.
Now, I'm sure you've probably done something like this already with your folks George, is like what do they control, what don't they control. But this is the kicker, this is what I do is my clients. I take it to the next level is, all the things they can control, I want them to grade themselves. I want them to rate themselves from one to ten. Ten is, I'm not going to have a problem with my sleep, I'm the greatest sleeper in the whole world. Water? I'm a ninja! I'm a nine! Right? Or is it, I'm two with my sleep and I'm three with my vegetables and I'm four in connection, right?
So write all the things you're in control of and give yourself a scorecard, rate yourself. Because what I know to be true is, when you're focused on the things you can't control, when you're getting worried about the things you can't control, I guarantee you you're not controlling the things you can. You're not taking care of business where you can.
So I invite you to just do the control – no control. Have the control there, rate yourself, give yourself a scorecard. Focus there, because then when you do that, you'll get your power back. You feel empowered again and then the things you can’t control kind of recede in the background, right?
GEORGE: Simple. What a great…
RHONDA: Simple, but not easy to do, right?
GEORGE: Exactly, exactly. But that's gold and I'm going to do it right now.
RHONDA: It's an amazing exercise, I can't tell you how many clients I have worked with, I've been doing that exercise with clients for over 20 years and I cannot tell you how it changes their life. Because it's not just a list, oh I can do this, I can do this. But it's like, no – rate yourself. That rating gives you like, oh crap, I’ve got to focus on this, it gives you a focus now.
RHONDA: Do you mind if I give a gift to your listeners?
GEORGE: Please do!
RHONDA: Ok, so I actually feel compelled to… I don't normally give two gifts, but I did talk about “stretch, risk or die”, so I do want to give them all the worksheets for that, so they can really understand it at a deeper level.
So go to fearlessliving.org/risk, and yes, you're going to have to put your name and email in because it's inside a member center. If you don't want to get emails or whatever, of course you can just unsubscribe right away. But again, you're going to need to do that in order to become a member to get the course.
But the other thing that I realized I had just the other day which is so funny. I'd already talked to like six groups and forgot I had this: I actually have created a course called “How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown”. Hellooo! Helloo! Duh! And when I realized that, I was like wait a minute I have a course called “How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown”.
So if you'd like that course as well, go ahead and grab that and that's at fearlessliving.org/gift. So fearlessliving.org/risk for stretch, risk or die and fearlessliving.org/gift for the gifts. And again, sign up, put your email in, you'll get access to the course. Unsubscribe if you don't want to hear from me ever again.
GEORGE: That's gold Rhonda, thank you so much for being so generous with your time. Thank you for the great gifts. I know I got, you know, my secret finish about doing this podcast is like I get to speak to awesome guests like you and just learn. And I know everybody listening to this is going to get so much value. So Rhonda, thank you so much, really appreciate your time.
RHONDA: You’re welcome – be fearless.
GEORGE: Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.
It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.
So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.
Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!
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