Conquering Fear, Breeding Success

by Coach B

The alarm went off. A deep sigh, and the first words to enter his mind were, “Good God, its morning already.” He felt tempted to throw his phone out the window rather than just hit the snooze button as was his habit. Before the alarm went off for a second time came the knock on the door. “It’s time to get up and get ready for school.” School. The very thought of going to school filled him with fear. Everyone expected so much out of him. His teammates, his parents, his teachers, and even his friends all expected him to be better than he believed he was. The thought of disappointing them filled him with fear. It was something he hid. It was eating him alive, but who could he tell? Who could he tell that he was afraid of disappointing people. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to meet their expectations. He was afraid he would fail someone. He was fourteen years old, a top athlete, good student, popular, and yet filled with fear. Fear that was beginning to consume him as he was getting closer and closer to entering high school with all the expectations he felt people were placing on him. He had no idea how to deal with the fear. Jimmy was close to the edge.

The alarm went off. A deep sigh, and the first words to enter is mind were, “I got to get there before HE does.” He jumped out of bed and begin to get ready for school. Every day it was the same. He was thinking about how he could get to school and get inside before… before HE did. Every day during school he would think about when would it be safe to go to the bathroom. Every day he would dread lunch knowing he would get teased, harassed, called names and be expected to give HIM some money or his lunch or something for “protection”. Everyday he tried to figure out a way, a time, to leave for home where he could avoid running into… HIM. He was afraid of being locked in a locker. He was afraid of being beat up. He was afraid of being embarrassed. He was afraid of the intimidation. He was afraid – everyday. Jeff was close to the edge.

One day after basketball practice the new middle school basketball coach approached Jimmy. “Jimmy, can I talk to you openly about something.”


“I know I am new here and I have only had you in class for a little more than half a year but I have watched you in class, on the football field, and now as your basketball coach, and I hope this spring as your baseball coach. I don’t think you find any part of school very fun. Am I wrong?”

“Yeah. I find school fun. I like hanging with my friends and playing sports.”

“How often do you genuinely laugh and smile? How often do you celebrate the things you do well?”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with having fun. You can find fun in the pursuit of perfection or your pursuit of perfection and the fear that goes along with it can take all the joy out of life. I am starting an early morning group to start training mindsets. It is open to anyone who wants to not only be the best they can be but find joy in the process. You, Jimmy, are a natural leader and if you would be willing to commit to it others will follow. This isn’t just for athletes. We will meet for 30 minutes at 7:00 every day. Can you get to school that early?”


“Would you be willing to commit to this for the next 70 days.”

“I don’t know.”

“You can learn how deal with that fear you are trying to hide inside.”

Jimmy hesitated. Fear? How does he know I’m afraid? “Maybe.”

“We begin Monday at 7:00.”

Jimmy was quiet on the drive home which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was he was thinking about what coach had said to him about his fear. How did he know he was constantly afraid?

Sunday night arrived and Jimmy set his alarm for 6:00 AM. He got himself ready and told his mom and dad he was going to walk to school because he was doing a new school group that met at 7:00 AM. When Jimmy arrived, Coach was waiting to let him in.

“Glad you decided to make it Jimmy.”

“Who else is showing up?”

“Who did you invite?”

“Me? No one.”

“Why not? Afraid?”

“So, am I the only one?”

“No. I am expecting at least one other. Oh, there he is now. Glad you decided to come Jeff. I know you know Jimmy. Did you invite anyone else to come?”

“Who, me? Who would I invite?”

“Well, I guess it will be just four of us to begin with. Let’s head to my classroom.”

“Mr. Cochrane it looks like we have just two to start.”

“Well, we couldn’t have two better students to begin working with us on their mindset.”

The AP, Mr. Cochrane, and Coach took these two boys under their wing and began to mentor them. After ten consecutive days, each boy was already beginning to feel the difference and all they had done was begin to learn how to box breath and practice meditation. Yes, they had a short lesson to read and then questions to answer but it wasn’t very demanding. Each boy was even doing the weekend homework assignments. As they went through the training, they began to discover more and more about themselves and how their mind worked. Others were taking notice. For Jeff, he was finally able to find the courage to tell Mr. Cochrane and Coach about HIM.

The next day at lunch Mr. Cochrane approached HIM as HE approached Jeff.

“Steve, I can’t tell you how pleasantly surprised and glad I was to hear from Jeff here about how you have been helping him out and sticking up for him. He told me how you help make his lunch time one of the best parts of his day. I imagine you probably know how good that must make Jeff feel every day when he comes to lunch and knows you are looking out for him and helping him feel connected. I am going to be watching you to see how many other kids you may be helping out without my knowing. I want to make sure you get the proper recognition for the work you may be doing.”

As soon as Mr. Cochrane left, Steve looked confused and puzzled and asked Jeff, “What did you say to him?”

Jeff stuttered and stammered but instead of making fun of him Steve just got in line to get his lunch. From that day forward Jeff had no problems from Steve.

At the end of the 70 days both Jeff and Jimmy had learned more about themselves and let go of more garbage they had been holding onto than they ever realized they had collected. They were managing their fear much better and in fact were feeding their courage much more than their fear. With the fear gone, each boy began to blossom into much more confident and happy young men. They began to tell others about this mindset training they went through. The next fall Coach and Mr. Cochrane at 10 new students. The second semester they at 20 new students including Steve. They also began another session where they began to actually train a Growth Mindset or a Mindset of a Champion. Students began feeling the difference and performing better. The entire culture of the schools was changing. Conquering fear allows for success and success breeds more success.

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