Fear is my friend
“Fearless” is a word for the sociopath or the five-year-old.
Because, if you really were fearless, you’d do all kinds of crazy stuff; eat poisonous food, never pay your taxes, never go to a doctor, walk right into traffic, the list goes on and on.
Those things sound ridiculous to you, right? Then the concept of becoming “fearless” should also.
We do not want to be fearless. We want to be brave. Yet, there is power in understanding that fear exists. You can’t be brave unless you’re scared first.
These are the words of Judi Holler, improviser, keynote speaker and author of the book “Fear is My Homeboy”.
Judi and our host, Heather Vickery, both share a love of Choosing Bravely.
Become a fear scientist
As a prolific speaker who travels the world talking about facing fear and embracing bravery, Judi is challenging people to become fear scientists. At the heart of being a fear scientist is the idea of purposefully experimenting with your fear every day. which she says is the secret to managing fear. Judi calls these Fear Experiments.
This work isn’t new to Judi who’s been facing her fears from a young age.
Having a mother who was manic bipolar, she grew up in an environment that was scary–she was scared of just about everything including her own mother!
Nothing was certain, she says.
And this, she says ironically, became her greatest gift. It’s a gift she used to create a lab for herself to test her fears and push herself a little harder.
She has learned the art of fear and says that learning to manage her fears and implementing daily fear experiments has helped her improve the quality of her work and life.
The road to becoming a fear boss
Judi didn’t just set out to be brave. She didn’t become a fear scientist by chance.
It was a product of deliberate actions.
With a background in Corporate America in hotel sales and marketing that paid her well and offered a great career option, Judi should have been content. However, she reached a flashpoint when she moved to Chicago and got a promotion.
There was something more, she knew it. Following her instincts. Judi started studying and performing at Chicago’s famed Second City.
By day she was corporate America and by night a funny girl on the Improv.
Embracing fear at every corner
Judi was exposed to bravery by watching and learning and experiencing improv. She then executed that bravery when performing on stage. This led to advanced courses and a true love of theater and speaking from the stage.
In no time at all, she felt braver and this bravery translated into her corporate life
We all want more freedom in our lives—in one way or another, and want to be healthier, wealthier, and be more successful, to live life on our own terms. But many of us are unwilling to get uncomfortable in order to get it.
Here’s a little hint: Choosing bravely is never comfortable
This is the story of a fear scientist who has mastered fear by deliberately experimenting with her fears in big and small ways in all areas of her life.
The Big Idea
Judi admits that the brave ideas within Improv theatre changed her life. Specifically, in the way she managed “scary” things. Turns out, choosing bravery over fear can have a positive impact on your mental wellness, Judi shares.
With this new concept in tow, Judi became a keynote speaker and built a community which she calls “Fear Bosses.” As her community continued to grow, she was called to offer them more and that’s what lead to writing her first book. that felt it was time to level up and write a book “Fear is my Homeboy.”
At the heart of her company, Holla! Productions, is the core belief that freedom—which we all want, comes when we smash our comfort zones and experiment with fear, every day, on purpose.
All of Holla! Productions products, ranging from their books to the podcast (The #FearBoss Show) and their products, reflect this notion of smashing comfort zones on a daily basis.
Bravery make not look like being brave
Fear experiments don't have to look big like jumping off of a plane.
Something as simple as taking a selfie in public, being the first to speak up or raise your hand in a meeting – – those things matter too. In fact, small experiments are often the most impactful.
Courage is a muscle! If you work this muscle with small fear experiments, using daily routines, you’ll build up your database of bravery.