Guess what? You don’t have to break the sound barrier to be amazing

by Craig McBreen · 37 comments · Breaking out

Let’s discuss fear once again.

In case you’ve been dwelling in a krag or sleeping under a rock for the past week, the other day a dude in a very cool space suite was bombing through earth’s atmosphere at an astounding 833 mph. Yep!

Um, talk about embracing fear. Can. You. Even. Imagine?

“Fearless” Felix Baumgartner made history with a supersonic skydive. Part crazy-ass freefall but 100% absofreakinfantastic.

From robotics and microchips to crazy Austrian skydivers, I’m simply amazed … spellbound at what humans are capable of.

You are too, right?

Freefalling at 833 mph (Mach 1.24 sounds way cool).

Jumping out of a cozy capsule 24 miles above the New Mexico desert. Um, 24 miles.

Spinning out of control for at least 35 seconds.

And breaking the speed of sound … ( A guy in a space suit adorned with Red Bull logos.)

F*cking crazy, but incredibly inspiring.

I know,… right?

But here’s the thing. This amazing Austrian (a former paratrooper) has some 2,500 skydives under his belt. He also has a certain brain chemistry that makes it a tad bit easier for him to do something like this. Well, EASY is most certainly the wrong word, but you get the picture.

Me? I get vertigo walking around the Space Neeedle’s observation deck.

Heck, maybe Mr. Baumgartner has a fear of clowns. I don’t know, but if he does, maybe that’s his next challenge.

Seriously though, what he did was beyond amazing, yet even with his experience he was terrified. How could he NOT be?

So, what terrifies you?

What makes your knees turn to jelly?

And how many flippin’ times have you avoided said scary thing?


You don’t have to jump out of a capsule, skydive or even bungie jump. You don’t have to get up in front of 1,000 people, ride the Millennium Force or go off the high-dive.

But …

Maybe it’s time to create your first video.

Make that one call you’ve been putting off for weeks.

Actually say “no” to yet another commitment.

Those things are scary, I know. Embrace them.

Not too long ago I finally decided to conquer my biggest fear. Something that went beyond terrifying me, was downright all-consuming and seriously affected my professional life.

So, years ago I simply decided to start speaking in front of people. Going to my first Toastmasters meeting was maybe one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, honest.

But once I did this over and over and over, I got past the fear. It made my life richer and all of the sudden everything else I did seemed that much easier.

Conquering fear is like an uplifting elixir for the soul.

Think of taking on your biggest fear as a challenge.

It might be pulling Dr. Phil’s mustache, going to a business Meetup or simply trying to connect with someone you admire.

It could be just about anything, because we are all so very different. Our chemistry. Our life experiences. The family and people around us. We are all so darn unique and one person’s fear is another’s daily practice.

But whatever that “anything” is. That fear. Why not decide to get off the comfy couch of life and take it on … today?

What say you?

If you think what you’re about to do is scary, take one more look at this man bombing towards mother earth.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg) October 18, 2012 at 4:31 am

I always love it when I hear of people going to Toastmasters. I’ve belonged to several clubs and always found it rewarding, helpful, and fun. I love public speaking, so it was never really a fear for me.

It is funny that you asked what frightens me (or any of the readers) the most. For about fifteen seconds I was blank and then suddenly an image of a woman I’ve known popped into my head. She is scary beautiful, terrifyingly amusing, and shockingly delightful. I may one day get up the nerve to ask her out, but that would lead to my greatest fear…first kisses.

It is sort of a sappy thing to be afraid of, especially in this day and age, but that is mine. I imagine you are right though, getting over that fear, with that woman, would be worth it.

Great post.
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Hi Brian,

That organization has helped me a great deal. But unlike you, I was initially terrified of public speaking. Now, not so much.

“Scary beautiful, terrifyingly amusing, and shockingly delightful” You just described my wife ;)

Are you talking about that woman in the Fiat Abarth commercial? :)

Seriously though. Nothing sappy about that, especially the first kiss part. Imagine how deeply insecure most people are when it comes to that?

Thanks for stopping in!


Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg) October 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I hadn’t thought about the woman in the Fiat Abarth commercial, but she would frighten me, too.
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

She’d probably scare off most men ;)


Ralph October 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

The thing with most stunningly beautiful women is that they are usually so self-conscious and insecure. Believe it or not. Personally, that’s one of the fears that I don’t have.

Hey Brian, what’s to lose if you go talk to her? She would likely appreciate it. Maybe I need to apply my self confidence to talk to hot chicks to my fear. Hmmmm…….that Fiat model is a killer though.
Ralph recently posted..Does Design Matter when you are buying a Toaster?My Profile

Craig McBreen October 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Will you be stalking hot models in Toronto now? ;)


Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg) October 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm

One of my short comings, as a stalker, is that I’d really prefer it if the women could come here, so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. I’m really too lazy to be bothered with any stalking that requires, time, effort, travel, or money.

I think I’ll just watch some football.
Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg) recently posted..“Are You A Writer?” and My AnswerMy Profile

Craig McBreen October 22, 2012 at 12:27 am

Well, maybe you could stalk these women online, but that would get creepy really fast … nevermind ;)

Maybe finding a woman who likes football is the answer to your prayers. I already have one.


Jens P. Berget October 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

I agree with you Craig, I got vertigo walking around the Space Neeedle’s observation deck too :)

And I have also had a fear when it comes to speaking in public, but not so much anymore. Now I just do it. I’m not good at it, I am more or less just comfortable doing it (if I am prepared).

I still can’t believe that what this Felix did, and that it’s not part of a Hollywood production :)
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Hi Jens,

You too, huh? ;) Heights do indeed give me the willies.

That’s the thing. Just do it over and over and it’s not so bad.

I can’t believe it either. Watched it several times and that shot of him leaving the capsule and becoming black dot. Man!


John Anealio October 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I found myself totally inspired by Felix’s Space Jump too. My biggest fear is bugging people. We’re all trying to get the word out about our various projects, but how do we do this without annoying people? I’m not sure what the answer to that is. I’ve learned that if you are respectful and don’t pester, than usually people are cool with you talking about your projects. It also helps to spend most of your time talking about other people.


Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Hi John,

Thanks so much for stopping in!

I used to feel that way about cold calls (and still do), but it’s something I’ve incorporated into my day. In this age I still do it and it’s because of this I’ve landed some of my biggest clients.

“respectful and don’t pester” … that’s it, for sure!

Thanks for adding to the conversation!


John Anealio October 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Welcome! Thanks for writing a thought provoking post.
John Anealio recently posted..The Ballad of Felix BaumgartnerMy Profile


Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Glad you enjoyed! :)


Ralph October 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I am deathly afraid of cheese sandwiches…….hardly. I know, I know, take this stuff seriously Dopping.

You know, this week has been a myriad of serious posts from analysing Triberr, to commenting, to social awareness and now I have to conquer my fears. I spoke about that last week in my blog post and disguised it in suggesting I follow Fred Flintstone’s self-fulfilling prophesy of success. That guy wasn’t afraid of anything. Blind optimism or not.

I have a fear.

I am building a line of business for the firm where I work and I know it can be successful but I am stalling because I am afraid that it may fall flat on its face. I have to get up in front of a bunch of people and present my ideas. All mine and I am afraid of failing. How’s that for fear for ya? EVERYONE has done that!

I know you can’t feel my anxiety but its there. I will get it done though because one thing that I am not is a quitter. I am sensitive enough to see if something won’t work but I am the type to try very hard until it doesn’t.

So, thank you. The idea to push through is a great one.
There’s nothing to fear but……..thanks Franklin.
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Hi Ralph,

Funny, I used to have a cheese addiction. Oh, and this is a very serious post, you know ;)

But Fred always had Wilma to guide him.

Mr. Dopping, for some reason I don’t picture you as a guy who has a tough time getting off the comfy couch of life and doing big things. Would love to learn more about what you’re doing though. Also, how often have you presented to a large group? Not sure if I’ll ever be 100% comfortable doing that, but just love to keep at it. Oh, and that Franklin is fairly quotable, eh?

Thanks for stopping in. Hope things are good in Tee-Oh!


Ralph October 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hey Craig,

I am glad to share. It might be time for another hearty skype session.

Personally, I have never spoken to a large crowd. In my mind it would be easier than a smaller audience. With a bigger crowd you don’t see the faces directly. Since I have never done a large audience I am likely wrong. The biggest group I have had is 20-25 people. It will always be tough but if you know your subject matter then the ride is smoother. Some folks have a knack for it. Not me, I struggle at times but once I get going I am ok.
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Craig McBreen October 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hi Ralph,

Sounds good to me. I feel the same way regarding crowds. Was actually more comfortable speaking to 80 plus people at a chamber event than about 10 at a recent meeting. Something primal at work there, no doubt. I go a little overboard memorizing my talk, but that’s what helps the most … really knowing the material for a bang-on delivery.


Ralph October 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Cheers Craig.

No doubt 80 people is a challenge but you see what I mean when it’s 10. No hiding (not that you would).

Hey, please come by my place and vote on the TeamBlogJack logo if you have a second. We could use a trained eye……..and your vote!
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Craig McBreen October 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Just did. Looks like the 8 ball is da winner.


Mary Stephenson October 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Hi Craig

Our fears grip us by the throat at times, well maybe not but it feels like a strangle hold on what we wish would come easier for us. I have unfortunately many fears, but somethings I am not the least bit afraid of and others are, which is hard to imagine. I have come across some very big men that are deathly afraid of cats, it never made sense. Fear is so much bigger than not wanting to or not liking something.

Found this great quote which has given me a whole new perspective of talking in front of people.
“All speaking is public speaking whether it’s to one person or a thousand.”
— Roger Love: is one of the world’s leading authorities on voice

I bring this up partly to do with your post, but also what I will need to do next week. Being prepared with all my information and the mindset of desire to win what I have set out to do, should bring success.

Thanks for a great post
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Hi Mary,

Well, they do have a stranglehold on us sometimes. But it is interesting how someone’s worst fear can be daily practice for others. And you’re right, fear is way bigger than not liking something … cats or clowns ;)

Thanks for the Roger Love quote. Love that one and it is so true. Weird fact … I’ve often been more comfortable speaking to 30+ people vs. just 5-7. Not sure why.

Good luck next week. Let us know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping in!


Tim Bonner October 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Hey Craig

I have a number of fears when it comes to what’s happening in my blogging world.

The biggest at the moment is making a video. I finally took the first step and got myself a new webcam only last week. I tried it out but didn’t feel particularly comfortable doing it.

I’m at home with my family for the next couple of weeks so I’ve been putting it off again in case one of my kids or my wife ends up in the video. Once the holidays are over though, I going to get back on the horse and give it another go.
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Craig McBreen October 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Hi Tim,

I’ve only done a few, but have found that shooting a little every day (and not posting) is a big help. Kind of strange, talking to the camera, but like anything else a little daily or weekly habit makes it so much easier.

I’d say that’s a big deal, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it in no time. I plan to spend a bit more time on this in the future.

Let me know when you’re first is up!


Josh October 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hi Tim,

Video made me a bit nervous too. The first few times I did I found it to be hard to look in the camera, but practice helped.
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Kurt Swann October 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm


The most interesting thing I read about Fearless Felix was he had claustrophobia and suffered panic attacks from training in the space suit. He ended up going to a sports psychologist to learn how to deal with it.

I’ve done some skydiving and public speaking. Mostly it gets easier over time but there’s always an element of concern or being a little on edge. I usually assume if I’m a little scared I must be headed in the right direction.

Kurt Swann recently posted..From the edge of spaceMy Profile


Craig McBreen October 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hi Kurt,

Man, you wouldn’t think a guy known my the moniker “fearless” would suffer panic attacks. Very interesting, but he did figure out a way to deal with it and pushed through … just imagine that feeling when he was sitting in that capsule 24 miles up, looking down.

Well, I’d say you’ve practiced two things that most people list as their biggest fears. I can’t imagine not being on edge every time I was looking to jump out of a plane, but that fear is always with us and you’re so right … “if I’m a little scared I must be headed in the right direction.”

Thanks for stopping by!


Jeevan Jacob John October 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Oh, yes. What he did was absolutely amazing.

A great feat of mankind.

I love how you related that back to our own fears, Craig. Yes, we must learn to embrace our fears (stage fear was one among my fears, but over the years, I have been able to get rid of that fear – thanks to the dramas I played and thanks to blogging itself which helped me to boost my communication skills).

My next challenge?

Well, right now, I am working on a daily schedule (I completely rewrote my flexible schedule to more compact and to including a learning hour in which I explore and learn anything I want – but, not related to my college studies or even blogging).

Not a fear though, but, it’s still a challenge for me :)

Thank you for the post, Craig!


Craig McBreen October 25, 2012 at 12:20 am

Hi Jeevan,


Well, when I see something like this my first thoughts are, “How in the world? I couldn’t do it?” … etc. But then realize it’s all relative. Someone did post above that Felix had his own fears leading up to this.

So glad you conquered you stage fright. That was my “big one” too.

I love, love the idea of a learning hour. I actually try to do that too. I’m not always successful, but I try. Good luck. It’s a great challenge and I’m sure it’ll pay off!

Thank you for coming by.


Jeevan Jacob John October 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Yes, of course. It’s all relative. Maybe he did have any fears with this act.

Maybe his fear was something, who knows (or was he fearful of this? I don’t know, since I don’t watch or read news these days).

I am still adapting to it. I have decided to learn French first (I have tried French in elementary and middle school – not so much success with it, but this time I plan to learn it!).


Craig McBreen October 26, 2012 at 2:34 am

Love it, Jeevan. I’m thinking of learning Spanish!


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