This last weekend we held our first Influencing From the Front” (IFF) seminar in almost two years.

I had almost forgotten how much I love doing this event. People’s lives get transformed and it’s a great feeling to know that we were a part of it.

IFF is ‘billed’ as 3 day presentation skills training event — but it’s so much more than that. What people don’t realize (until they attend this event) is that the same fear and doubt that stops them from speaking in groups of people is the same fear and doubt that effects them in other parts of their lives because it is the same belief system that is driving all aspects of their lives.

One of our students arrived on the first day and was petrified to get up in front of the room and speak. Part of the program on the first day is to stand up in front of the class and talk about your story ( tell a little about yourself and how you got to where you are today). This is a very simple exercise (who doesn’t like talking about themselves) — yet this was very difficult for her. It was so traumatizing for her that she left the first day and didn’t show up on the second day.

After some phone calls, texts and encouragement, she returned to the class later that morning.

I strategically asked her why she came back? I wanted her to tell me a loud her reasons for returning, her reasons for facing her fears.

Why did I do that?

It’s because our “reasons” determine why we do or don’t do most things in our life. They exist at all times. We search for them at all times. And every time, we find them.

I wanted her to consciously become aware of her “reasons” to BE there so she would focus on those instead of the ones NOT to be there.

Unfortunately, the typical human being tends find the reasons NOT to step out of their comfort zone, NOT to face their fear, NOT to do something they don’t feel like doing.

It was the single biggest reminder this weekend gave me about human behavior.

On the second day, another attendee who had attended our program before, was scheduled to demonstrate one of the principles that we teach that day because she had learned it in the past and was very proficient at it.

The morning of her scheduled presentation, she had received a very upsetting text from a person she knew well. It was a very hurtful text and it upset her tremendously. When she went to give her presentation, her mind was on that morning’s event and she was nearly in tears and completely forgot was she was going to say.

In addition, she had created self-imposed pressure on herself because she had already attended the workshop previously so she thought she was supposed to perform brilliantly, and when she bombed she was super frustrated and embarrassed.

Seeing her struggle in front of the class she was given the opportunity to NOT present since she had a very good and a very understandable “reason” not to.

We continued with the agenda.

After a short lunch break she came to us and said she wanted to present again!

I was so proud of her.

Again the average person would have found plenty of reasons not to go through with it. But she had mustered up the courage and found bigger reasons to do it again than the obvious reasons to not do it.

On a side note: this person is very successful and I imagine a large part of that success is because of her willingness to act in spite of fear and to find “reasons” to behave in a manner that moves her towards her goals, not away.

I might also add, that when she finally got up in front of the class — she rocked the house. Imagine what she might have felt if she didn’t find the courage to stare fear in the face and step into it? She probably would have felt deep regret and further frustration.

Our first example, the participant who left and came back, gave us feedback that this was the “best training she had experienced in 15 years” and she would have missed it all if she hadn’t had the courage to focus on the “reasons” to come back and participate the whole weekend versus leaving.

Can you relate?

Are there times when you have given in to your fears and taken the easy way out? The comfortable way out? Are there opportunities staring you in the face right this moment that you are not taking advantage of because you are finding “reasons” not to?

Let these short examples serve as a simple reminders of the power our reasons have over us and how they can impact the course of lives.

Here are a few questions to consider when saying no:

1.) Am I saying no or not taking action because I am fearful? (of being judged, failing, succeeding ect.)

2.) If I’m honest should I really be saying yes/taking action?

3.) What are some reasons why I should be saying yes/taking action that I can focus on that will compel me to do what I should?

Just like the old saying, “the glass is half full or half empty depending on how you look at it”, our “reasons” to DO something and our reasons to NOT do something are always there depending on how you look at — the trick is to be honest and courageous and focus on the reasons that will serve you best.

Loving, living, giving large,


[Ed. note: If you would like to attend the next IFF event, an interest list is now forming here.]


  1. Gayle E Smith on July 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    This was good timing for me to read this. Unfortunately it's too easy to say to yourself,,,,"I'll think about this later" or make a decision later……Thank you.

    • Jeff Sterling Paro on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Gayle! I agree the path of least resistance tends to be the easiest to take. I hope you are doing well. JP

    • Gayle E Smith on August 7, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Just have some hard decisions to make,,,,,you seem to be so self confident and sure about where you are heading….I admire that.

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