What is fear doing to us?


  • A leader’s pace.
  • Why such a fast pace?
  • Fear, us, and the great paradox!

Our inner life is burning up. We run so fast these days…too much to do and not enough time.

Athletic departments are growing, recruiting is getting started earlier and earlier, mental health is at an all-time low, technology has actually created a faster-paced lifestyle, and a million other things have caused leaders RPM’s to run in the red.

We are trained to, when in doubt, work harder. Do more.

More is better.

But is it?

And the big question is at what cost? Our health? Our family? Our character?

I have this conversation consistently. Logically, we know that when you run too fast and too hot, things tend to blow up. We know this intellectually, so why do leaders still run at such high RPM’s that they often ‘blow up’.

I want to propose one HUGE thing that causes all of this.


We are racked with fear.

Fear of failure.
Fear of what others think
Fear of not being enough
Fear of going back to being an assistant
Fear of losing control or not being in control
Fear of not getting the next job
Fear of having to move family (spouse/kids love it where we’re at!)
Fear of….

When fear grips us…what do we usually do?

Leaders usually fight. I have been around some leaders who when fear hits, they flight or freeze. But most leaders fight.

What does fighting look like?

More work. Tougher on staff and athletes. More demanding. More controlling. More phone calls. More film study. More…

This can be glorified in leadership circles. A coach who works insanely hard is a grinder, committed, sold-out, driven, etc. Same with an AD or CEO.

Surface Problems
There are three common problems that are caused by living in fear.

The first is, as mentioned earlier, it causes people to burn out themselves or burn up much of their life.

Fatigue, depression, massive anxiety, divorce, disengaged as a parent, health problems, fractured relationships from treating people poorly, narcissism, the list could go on and on.

The second problem is that leaders do a worse job of leading when in fear. They don’t believe this, but everyone around them would attest to this FACT. Fearful leaders are great manipulators and see others as pawns not people.

The third problem… it’s all about us. When it is all about us, we tend to lead in fear. Notice all the fears. They are centered around self.

It doesn’t take long to see and feel when a leader is making everything about him/herself.

Overcoming Fear
So how do you overcome fear?

In short, get your eyes off yourself and be about developing and serving others. There has to come a point where you believe that coaching out of fear is not the best way to coach.

The hard thing is that when we are unhealthy in how we lead but still produce results, it is hard to want to change. But change we must!

This takes work and it takes time but the more you can create space between the results and your identity the better. It is almost detaching from the results.

Which sounds scary to most. And very very hard for all leaders. 

It’s Seared Into Our Minds!
It’s really hard because we are trained from an early age that results matter. What do grandma and grandpa ask you after one of your 8-year-old games? “How many points did you score?” or “Did you win?”

And this line of questioning doesn’t stop at age 8. In high school, you get more praise and recognition for being the leading scorer and leading your team to wins.

It is seared into our minds that your personal performance and winning are what it’s really about.

Then as a leader, you take this same value system into your job.

The problem is, as a leader, it can’t be about your competitiveness, it has to be about you developing and empowering others… more about collaboration and empathy, vision casting, and creating clarity. It must become more about preparing others to be their best.

There is no magic pill. It takes concerted, daily effort to detach from the results, to detach from it being all about us, and ultimately from detaching our identity from what the score is.

The Paradoxical Playout
If/when you do this, you will lead out of a healthy place…which will help you to be a better leader/coach…which will result in winning more games.

It is one big paradox. Don’t focus on winning. Focus on coaching fearlessly. Focus on developing others…then you will actually win more!


Do you want to unlock the potential inside of yourself? If so, I’d love to join you on that journey.

Learn it alls, not know it alls!
I prefer to work with coaches who are ‘learn it alls’ rather than ‘know it alls’. I run a group of ‘learn it alls’ that meets every 2nd and 4th Monday night called the Tribe. We discuss leadership topics that help you become a better leader, my aim is to ask good questions that force you to think and process and become a better leader for your program…if you want more info or want to sign up…CLICK HERE!

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Travis Wyckoff

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