When the Fear of Dying Caused Me to Change

I speak a lot about using fear and pain versus motivation to achieve your goals in my blog posts, and for good reason. For example, when I write about how motivation is keeping you stuck in your life, versus writing about how embracing fear can help you change your life. The power in this was reminded to me, and more so made even clearer to me on Friday.


I was on my way home from the hospital with my daughter after her having to be there for almost 3 weeks. I was relieved, not just for her coming out, but the fact that I wouldn’t have to spend any more nights trying to figure out what the best angle to lay in a chair to get the best night’s sleep possible. It’s more rocket science than rocket science, believe me. On the way home I felt an intense pain on the right side just below my chest. It felt like my lungs was about to burst, literally, and I kept gasping for air and I couldn’t breathe. I felt a level of pain I never knew existed before. All of this while trying to keep my daughter from falling out of her car seat with my right hand, while she screamed and cried as she looked on seeing her daddy was about to die. As I felt the pain slowly snatching my life away as her mother raced in the driver’s seat of the car trying to get me back to the hospital three things came to mind:

  1. “No matter how much pain I’m feeling I’m not about to let my daughter go and cause her to crash through the windshield by any sudden stops”
  2. “There’s no way I’m dying today because I’ve got much more impact to make on this world and I haven’t even started yet”
  3. “My daughter isn’t going to grow up without her daddy there with her”


Not today satan…not today!


For a brief moment throughout the entire ordeal there was a fear that I was going to die, that I may genuinely not make it. I believe it’s that fear that kept me alive. Not because I fear dying, but because I fear dying without having any significant impact on the world. I wasn’t ready to give that up.


That was two days ago as I’m writing this post the Sunday before it goes out on Monday.


In this moment I’m feeling 80% fully recovered, but through it all it brought me to the reality that I really needed to start taking better care of myself. Start eating healthier and maybe getting more sleep…maybe.


Here’s the thing about it, I had always known and thought it was important for me to start taking better care of myself. Not because of what anyone else was saying, but because I could feel it over the past couple of months. I felt more tired, had less energy, was less focused, and could barely remember simple things. I knew if I wanted to achieve the goals that I have, I need have the energy to put in the long hours necessary to get it done.


The problem was I procrastinated on taking better care of myself so for a long time, and it finally caught up with me.


Why I Advocate Fear Over Motivation To Achieve Your Goals

As I’ve said before motivation has its place. The problem with it is it doesn’t create the drive and desire you need to change you, so you can change your life. Motivation makes you feel good in the moment, and gets you excited about the IDEA of change, rather than the practicality of change. What do I mean by that? I mean motivation makes you feel good that you are attempting to change your life, without having to do the actually work consistently it takes to change your life. So you read a book, watch a video, listen to an audio, attend a conference, and you hear someone speak about claiming your greatness and achieving your dreams, and it pumps you up to want to change.


Problem is the process of making real change doesn’t make you feel good, and it doesn’t make you feel like your claiming your greatness or achieving anything. Real change doesn’t happen when you read a book, or watch a video, or listen to an audio, or listen to a motivational speaker. Real change happens when you actually start to do the work. Once you start taking action, you start to realize and understand that it’s painful, uncomfortable, it’s lonely, and it’s depressing, and no one understands why you’re doing it except you.


That’s the truth, but it’s the truth no one wants to hear, because it’s difficult to accept, as truth often is. So the next best thing is to feel motivated and good that we’re attempting change. It gives us the impression and feeling of making change, without the commitment and hard work that goes into making real change. It’s like being intimate with someone, getting all the perks of being in a relationship, while not being in a relationship, and still having the freedom to see other people. All the benefits, with none of the commitment.


This is why I like fear and pain, from the standpoint of how they act to help us make change. It puts you in a situation where you’re already uncomfortable, already experiencing pain. Therefore, it’s not about avoiding the pain or fear at that point in time, it’s more about finding a way to push through it, because right now you have no choice.


I could go on YouTube and watch a bunch of videos on eating healthy and taking better care of yourself. I could do a million Google searches on why eating better is good for you. I could be inspired by a bunch of fitness photos on Instagram, or attend a seminar and be motivated by the top fitness gurus on living a healthy lifestyle. However, at the end of the day if I don’t feel and see a deep need or reason why I should follow through, all the motivation in the world won’t make me do it. Logically I knew the importance of eating healthier, and yet still I procrastinated on doing so. The fear of almost dying is what is causing me to actually do something about it immediately, so I won’t have to experience that pain again, or see the terror on my daughter’s face as she looks on thinking daddy is going to die.


Fear made it real. Fear created a greater sense of urgency and intensity to change. It’s why embracing fear, rather than motivation, is more effective in making positive and lasting change. The fear that I may have died, and never fulfill my purpose and potential on earth caused me to eliminate procrastination, and now move with urgency to change my eating habits. That’s something no motivational speaker would have been able to do, because real change starts within, not from the voice on a stage.



This wasn’t so much a step-by-step strategy as it was using my near-death experience as more of a teaching point for you, and a reminder for me.


I’ve been to many motivational seminars, conferences, training events, and it’s typically the same thing. People go, they get excited about the energy of the speaker, take notes, go home, do nothing. It has nothing to do with the speakers. It’s just the same patterns that follows human behaviour I’ve seen repeated in others, and even myself at one point.


When I did Network Marketing, there was a saying we had, “Monday morning always comes”. What that meant was it’s fine that on the Saturday during the event everyone is all hyped up and excited by the speakers, and saying how successful they’re going to be, because the environment creates that intensity. However, the real test comes on Monday morning, when you’re no longer in that environment, and the energy is no longer with you, and you’re back to the reality of your life. That’s when you really know if you’ll simply fall back into your old patterns after motivation has passed, or decide to do the behaviours to become the person you wish to be.


Fear of loss, pain, those things will push to you move on a level of intensity motivation can’t. It’s not my opinion, it’s what I’ve observed from human behavior over the past 10 years. Learn to use the negatives, channel them to push you to take the necessary actions to become who you were meant to become. Don’t just feel good about change, make the change real through your actions.


To your success my friend!


Know someone who is keep seeking motivation to take action but getting nowhere? Be a friend and share this with them.

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