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Overcoming Fear & Self-Doubt with Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes is a New York Times Bestselling author of the hit book, The School of Greatness. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach, and keynote speaker. A former professional football player and two-sport All-American, he is a current USA Men’s National Handball Team athlete. He hosts a top 100 iTunes ranked podcast, The School of Greatness, which has over 100 million downloads and 1000 episodes since it launched in 2013. Lewis was recognized by The White House and President Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country under 30. Details Magazine called him one of “5 Internet Guru’s that can Make You Rich.” Lewis is a contributing writer for Entrepreneur and has been featured on Ellen, The Today Show, The New York Times, People, Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, and other major media outlets.


"Make your fears your friends."


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  • Because we are living in challenging times, many people feel like they are not enough and have lost their confidence. The uncertainty has caused people to question themselves and their abilities.
  • Lewis is known for speaking well, commanding the stage, and being a light and encouragement to others, but it has not always been that way.
  • Growing up, Lewis had learning challenges caused by dyslexia that led to fear of reading and speaking in front of others because he would stutter, stumble, or misunderstand the words.
  • Lewis was required to be in special needs courses through high school and was often made fun of causing him to feel like he wasn’t as good or as smart as the rest of his peers.
  • When entering 8th grade, Lewis was tested and found to be at a second-grade reading level. This test and others like it served as confirmation to him that he was never going to be good enough, smart enough, or likable. As a result, he was riddled with fear and insecurity.
  • As a way to survive mentally and emotionally in his teens, he decided that he wasn’t going to allow fear to hold him back from putting himself out there – from feeling like he was worthy of love and intimacy and trying new things.


  • There are three general fears that most people have.
  • Fear of failure. We have been conditioned not to fail. In an interview, Sarah Blakely revealed to Lewis that every day she got home from school her father would ask her what she failed at that day. They would celebrate the failure because it meant she was trying and learning.
  • Failure is the key to success; therefore you have to fail to succeed.
  • Fear of success. Many people are afraid of the responsibility that comes when you have great power. You have to be able to show up consistently.
  • Lewis thought success would give him love and attention so success did not scare him.
  • Fear of judgment. This is what crippled much of Lewis’ life
  • It’s important not to let the fear of other people’s opinions hold you back in life.
  • As a kid, Lewis could not sleep at night because he would be ruminating over other people’s thoughts and opinions of him. He was constantly feeling fearful and anxious.


  • Lewis decided that he no longer wanted to be afraid, so he began to learn about his fears. When he was young, he made a list of all the things he was afraid of. Some of his greatest fears included public speaking, talking to girls, and dancing.
  • As an athlete, he learned that to grow we must take action.
  • Seven years ago Lewis opened up about being sexually abused for the first time and he began to address all of his fears and insecurities from the past that he never addressed.
  • He began to fully accept who he was and what he had been through in the past including challenges with his parents, past relationships, and mistakes.
  • He began to accept everything that he was ashamed, afraid, and embarrassed about. That’s when he decided that he was no longer going to let his past keep him from his future.
  • Eight years ago after a business breakup and a relationship breakup, Lewis realized he started reacting in different areas of his life where he felt triggered. If ever he felt abused like someone was attacking a fear or insecurity of his, he had to respond negatively to protect himself.
  • He was unaware of why he was triggered though; he thought it was just who he was. At one point he started to reach out to different therapist friends that led him to do self-work.
  • He finally went to a workshop that helped him open up about the sexual abuse he experienced as a kid and that took him down a path of more healing and discovery.
  • Lewis started making the list of fears in his teens and twenties and started checking them off of his list.


  • The first key to building self-confidence and eliminating doubt and insecurity is to make a list of your biggest fears  — even if it sounds silly, write it down.
  • Writing it down helps you to see and become aware of your fears so you can break them down and take them on.
  • Lewis rated his fears and began to overcome the ones he was most afraid of first — it’s up to each person to go in what order works for them.
  • He decided that he was going to go all-in on addressing his fears so they no longer had the power to control his life.
  • People’s inspiration is often their desperation.
  • To find your purpose, you figure out what you are passionate about and lean into that or you figure out what causes the most pain for you and lean into that.
  • Lewis recounts going through a breakup in high school that took him two years to get over. He remembers times when he would be crying in the fetal position for hours. He didn’t know how to be alone and be ok without being in a relationship
  • He decided to fall in love with himself. For two years straight he went to the movies, dancing and everything else alone until he learned to love himself by himself.
  • Until we become friends with our fears, we are always going to be a little insecure because the fear will have control over us.


  • Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@LewisHowes & @JimKwik), and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us.
  • List your top 3 fears and one action step you will take to overcome each. Tag us!
  • Get Lewis’ book, School of Greatness, here.

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