How fear can fuel your fire

Lessons from triathlete Siri Lindley and transition coach Sanni McCandless

We all experience fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear that we’re just not enough – fear is a common current that runs through all of our lives. You could be fearful of failing in business or in a relationship. You could be fearful of death. You could be fearful of asking your boss for a raise or of your friends and family not accepting who you are. For many people, fear rules their lives. And if we let it, fear can prevent us from reaching our true potential.

Letting go of fear

In this episode, we’re diving into fear – how it shows up, how we handle it in different ways, and how we can use it to serve a valuable purpose and achieve the lives we truly desire. You’ll first hear from Tony, as he shares his strategies on how he’s conditioned his OWN mind to conquer fear in order to become a successful entrepreneur who impacts the lives of millions of people.

Tony tells us that fear is a habit – but courage is also a habit. Your patterns of focus control what you feel, the decisions you make and the quality of your life. If you focus on failure, on what you don’t have, you’ll be living in fear. But if you’re more afraid of giving up, settling or having a life that isn’t meaningful than you are of failure, you’ll free yourself from fear forever.

You’ll also hear from Siri Lindley, a world-champion triathlete and coach who used to be so crippled by her fears and OCD that she could barely leave her house, and Sanni McCandless, a successful life transition coach known for her appearance in the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo.”

Siri Lindley: Finding freedom and self-love

Siri Lindley is a life coach, triathlon coach and world-champion triathlete. She is the 2001 ITU Triathlon World Champion as well as the winner of the 2001 and 2002 ITU Triathlon World Cup series and the 2001 ITU Aquathlon World Championships. Today, she uses her experiences, knowledge and insight to train other athletes to become not only worldchampion athletes, but also worldchampion people. She is co-president of Believe Ranch and Rescue in Boulder, Co., an organization that rescues dogs and horses from abuse and neglect.

Siri wasn’t always successful and confident. She was plagued by insecurity and the limiting belief that she didn’t deserve to be loved. Here she shares her story of how she turned her fears upside down – and gained the mental strength, courage and toughness to become the best triathlete in the world, and find love and respect for herself along the way.

On overcoming fear, Siri says, “It’s going to be scary, you’re going to be afraid – but you have to do it anyway.” The only way through fear is to take massive action, and that’s exactly what she did. She began training as a triathlete and finally found the courage to accept herself and be who she really was. Her best advice? “Choose to be fearlessly, authentically you.”

Sanni McCandless: Helping others overcome fear

Sanni McCandless, CPC, ELI-MP, is a transition coach for outdoor-focused individuals who want to create more tailored, intentional lifestyles and find agency in their own lives. In her work, she helps people overcome the doubts and concerns that constantly get in the way of living fearlessly and feeling fulfilled. Sanni challenges clients to communicate more honestly with those around them, stop making fear-based decisions and achieve goals that have been on the back burner for too long. Sanni is also a cofounder of the event series and resource hub, Outwild.

You may remember Sanni from the film that follows her then boyfriend, now husband, Alex Honnold, as he attempts to climb El Capitan – the 3,000 foot granite face looming over Yosemite Valley, without any ropes or safety harnesses. But not all fears are about life and death. You’ll hear how Sanni helps her clients work through everyday fears, and get a glimpse into how she overcame her own fear the day that Alex free soloed the El Capitan climb.

The process of uncovering the root of your fears and then changing your mindset can be difficult. Sanni goes through this process every day with her clients, and she’ll share her top strategies for lasting change, like creating a mantra and changing your self-talk. She’ll also talk about how she helps others shift their mindset around failure, echoing Tony’s deepest principles when she says, “You must deeply believe that you cannot fail, you can only have learning opportunities.”

Siri Lindley & Sanni Mccandless Interview

Episode notes

[00:54] Episode introduction
[01:38] Sanni on how she felt the day of Alex’s climb
[02:23] Sanni’s desire to give Alex every advantage
[03:14] Not all fears are about life and death
[04:04] Segment 1: How Tony has used his fear
[04:28] What will get you out of a fearful place
[05:01] Tony’s fear of not living life to its fullest
[05:24] How Tony conditions his mind to get past fear
[06:00] Why Tony does a cold plunge every day
[06:29] The discipline of not negotiating with fear
[06:58] If you feed your fear, it’ll grow
[07:42] The mind is more powerful if you learn to direct it
[08:42] The only way through fear is massive action
[09:12] Discipline destroys you or drives you
[09:35] Fear comes from focus
[10:03] How your patterns of focus control your life
[10:55] Pattern 1: When you focus on what’s missing
[11:30] Focus exercise: Find everything around you that’s brown
[12:16] If you only look for what’s missing you’ll never feel whole
[12:38] Pattern 2: When you focus on what you can’t control
[13:12] Do you focus on the past, present or future?
[13:53] Why Tony uses priming meditation to change his focus
[15:18] Focus on the excitement, not the fear
[15:45] The power of disciplining your mind
[16:26] To learn more about priming go to
[16:40] Segment 2: How Siri Lindley became the best triathlete in the world
[17:45] Siri’s experience at Brown University
[18:48] Siri’s struggle with OCD
[19:40] Siri contemplates taking her own life
[20:14] The one night that changed Siri’s entire life
[20:53] Siri’s negative patterns of focus
[21:45] Siri decides to let go over her fears
[22:10] Siri decides to become the best triathlete in the world
[22:43] The problem with Siri’s plan to be a triathlete
[23:25] Siri models the best triathletes in the world
[23:55] Siri’s first day training with legendary coach Brett Sutton
[25:01] The most difficult bike ride of Siri’s life
[25:53] The brilliant part of pushing yourself
[26:19] You can either leave, or find a way
[27:14] The “why” that kept Siri going
[27:49] Siri’s biggest fear all along
[28:21] Segment 3: Sanni McCandless’ approach to fear
[28:52] How Sanni helps her clients navigate fear
[29:18] What happens when you don’t create boundaries at work
[29:48] The fear of being seen as difficult to work with
[30:34] The process of questioning internal doubt
[31:16] The steps you need to take after a breakthrough
[32:08] Identifying a new mantra to believe
[32:58] The power of creating a new identity
[33:21] When the fear of failure becomes crippling
[34:18] Every failure leads you to where you’re going next
[34:50] How every fall in climbing leads to an ultimate success
[35:59] Mistakes vs. learning opportunities
[36:25] Adults are terrified of trial and error
[36:55] Sanni decides to support Alex’s dream despite her fears
[37:18] Sanni’s experience the day of Alex’s El Capitan climb
[37:47] The sense of calm brought on by relinquishing control
[38:20] Sanni cleans as Alex climbs El Capitan

Overcoming fear is a journey that takes time and commitment. Give yourself room to learn and to make mistakes. Remember that if everything is easy, you’re not growing. Above all, never negotiate with fear. Never feed your fear. Shift your focus to what you can control and your whole life will change.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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