Business

3 tips for confronting your fears

18 November 2019

Cedric Dumont

Born in Brussels, Belgium, Cedric Dumont has always been involved in action and adventure sports. He is a pioneer in base jumping and wingsuit flying, and is a member of the RedBull team since 2000.

Leadership requires an element of risk taking and embracing uncertainty. Here are three tips to help you confront your fears and take on educated risks.

There is no evolution, progression or even disruption without educated risk-taking. To create, disrupt and innovate, we need to get uncomfortable, accept failure and embrace uncertainty.

The first thing for me is that it’s all about embracing and using uncertainty as a driving force. We all like the feeling of comfort and certainty, but it’s in time of uncertainty that we feel most alive. Uncertainty keeps me sharp, focused but also creative. Uncertainty reminds me that we have to reinvent ourselves all the time in order to stay relevant.

And to reinvent yourself, to grow as a leader in any type of industry or profession, you absolutely need to get uncomfortable!

We all look for safety and certainty, it’s very human, but in the end, it will make you complacent and complacency will at one point make your job or company obsolete. In my ‘high-risk’ environment as a wingsuit flyer and base jumper, complacency will eventually kill me!

Do I like the emotion of fear? Absolutely not, but fear is a very functional emotion that keeps me alive and makes me aware of the danger.

What I do like is being able to leverage and control my fears. Highly successful people, who are ‘game-changers’, can leverage fear and use it as an energy. They can generate the power to become anyone and achieve anything. It’s about making the unthinkable the new normal.

Three tips for confronting fear

So, when I have to confront my fears and take educated risks, I follow a simple strategy that has kept me alive for the past 13,000 jumps. However, the bad news is it’s not a trick, a magic formula or a shortcut. To me, it’s a mental workout, and you have to consider your brain as a muscle you can train to push yourself and grow.

Here are my three tips:

  1. Accept fear, it’s a very normal emotion. We all have made choices, so deal with it.
  2. Let go of the need to control everything all the time. Most of the time, we don’t take action because we don’t control everything. We want to be ‘sure’ of the result and start with a clear idea of the project. Most of the time, it’s not clear and it will only become clear when you are taking action. Let go of the need to reach perfection. Accept the fact that you could fail, it’s just part of the learning process. Focus on solutions and things you can influence (yourself first).
  3. Trust your skills and intuition, train hard and be prepared. Preparation precedes mastery. Instead of asking yourself, ‘what could go wrong?’, ask yourself, ‘what could go right?’. When you do that, it’s much easier to take the first step and make it happen. When I stand on the edge ready to jump, my inner voice is not telling me ‘what if’ but ‘I can’.

Your relationship with time

Finally, relationship with time is such a key component of your life because when you get caught in a routine, time goes so quickly.

When you understand that there are maybe only 20 summers left and if you want to truly get as much out of your life and as much experience as possible, it just creates a tremendous amount of urgency and the fear goes away.

So, why care what people think? After all, nobody you know will be here in 100 years, so what do you have to lose? Why wouldn’t you take a chance and chase your dreams?

It can be really positive to stay in touch with our own mortality because it makes you aware that our time is limited and that we only have one shot, this is not a rehearsal!

So, unless you want a life of regrets, you will at one point have to take some risks.

Cedric Dumont is a speaker at the 2019 FPA Professionals Congress. Cedric’s fascination with flight led him to become a wingsuit flyer, base jumper and international Red Bull athlete.

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Born in Brussels, Belgium, Cedric Dumont has always been involved in action and adventure sports. He is a pioneer in base jumping and wingsuit flying, and is a member of the RedBull team since 2000.

Besides being an action sports athlete, Cedric has also graduated in High Performance Psychology, is fluent in French, English, Dutch, German and Spanish, and helps professional athletes with their mental edge and the skills necessary to achieve their goals and unleash their full potential.

Cedric splits his time between leading expeditions, flying, speaking, writing and consulting for elite athletes and major companies all over the world. His main focus is to show that performance and productivity can only be achieved with a purpose-driven mindset, passion and presence.

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