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Jeff Lerner: How To Face Your Fears

Jeff Lerner Leadership Academy

Jeff Lerner recently had Dave Hollis on his podcast to talk about facing your fears. Why’s that important? Because, on the other side of fear, is a richer, fuller life. Dave, who went from working at Disney to sort of this life slash business coach, knows all about leaning into fear. For as long as he can remember, he had a fixed mindset. He stayed in his lane, played it safe, and stacked wins. But when he turned forty, despite being “successful,” he didn’t feel very fulfilled. Why was that?

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“Well, I was in this funk right around my fortieth birthday,” Dave says, “and this was my seventh year as head of sales at the Walt Disney Company, and I was feeling lost. I found myself getting straight-A grades without having to study for tests. And that absence of challenge or growth or whatever it was was complicit in me not feeling great about myself. And I’m in my backyard, in the midst of this funk, playing with my three younger kids, and my youngest asks me what my biggest fear was.”

“And the answer that came outta my mouth was: not living up to my potential,” he recalls. “You know, my son’s looking for something silly or ridiculous and this unconscious thing that had been living inside of me is now conscious, it’s out in the light. And in saying it out loud, I realize I’m not living up to my potential; I’m living into my greatest fear. And I knew right then it required taking some kind of action. How am I going to address the fact that I built success by a whole host of other people’s markers but find myself unfulfilled?”

Dave knew he had to do something unconventional. He needed to leave his safe harbor. So he quits his prestigious Disney job and dives head-first into entrepreneurship. And it’s been nothing but growth mindset and this sort of I’m-a-work-in-progress approach to life ever since. A perpetual journey of becoming. And he doesn’t hide that from his millions of followers. Growth is messy and painful and there are setbacks and slip-ups, and Dave openly shares all the above on social media, in podcasts, and even in the books he writes.

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Jeff Lerner had pretty much the same thing happen to him. He’s thirty-nine, making good money, basically crushing it by society’s standards, but there were still these existential questions gnawing at him. What is my purpose? What was I put on this planet to do? How do I have a greater impact? Why am I not as happy as I want to be? Or do I even deserve to be happy? And so he starts putting out content, starts sharing books he’s reading, self-improvement tips, business best practices, and so on, but it’s scary, right, ’cause the whole world’s watching.

But the truth is, and Jeff and Dave both wholeheartedly agree on this, is that you’re either growing or dying. So, assuming you don’t wanna die, you have to demand more out of yourself. You have to stretch yourself and continually level up so that, as Dave likes to say, you’re proud of yourself when you’re by yourself. Both guys have had to grapple with the dichotomy that comes with being a guru online and yet still learning things themselves. Like, do you have to know it all, and have everything figured out, before you sell a course?

There’s a ton of life lessons in this Unlock Your Potential podcast episode, but the punchline is this: run towards the fire. Be the hero in your own story. Be courageous. Be willing to get hurt or embarrassed or possibly lose money or even climb to the top of the ladder only to realize you climbed the wrong ladder, and then have to go find the right one and start over from scratch. And then be vulnerable enough to share all of that suffering with your audience. That’s what Jeff and Dave have done anyways. Seems to be working for them.

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