Overcoming FEAR: A 40 Day Experiment

Crossing the frosty river of your fearsCrossing the Delaware

George Washington crossed the Delaware River in order to sneak attack the British and change the tide of the US revolutionary war.

It was a huge risk with no guaranteed payoff that reminds me of my struggle with fear.

Just imagine Washington’s situation. It’s Christmas Day. The river you want to cross has mini icebergs all over it. Morale’s been low because the Patriots got their butts kicked in battles for New York.

His army had 4–6k soldiers who were supposed to join him. Over 1,700 of the men became unfit for battle. There were 2,000 other soldiers who couldn’t join him under command of General Haratio Gates and General Charles Lee.

Gates and his soldiers were a caught in a huge snow storm. Lee just hated Washington and couldn’t stand following his orders.

How could Washington not fear the uncertainty of the outcome?


I am writing this on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent season. During Lent, you’re supposed to fast or give something up for 40 days until Easter Sunday.

What I am giving up for Lent?



For me, fear has appeared very real.

I have been the guy who takes massive action early on then gets paralyzed by a roadblock.

My fear of what will happen if I fail has consistently outpaced my courage to keep going towards my goal.

Fear at Work

In my work, recent failures have fueled my fear. They’ve made me feel like I am destined to fail.

Success Groups: I started a series of mastermind groups via Meetup.com which participants loved but did not want to pay for. After 6 months, I got stuck.

Podcast Consulting: I have been approached by several other nonprofit organizations about helping them setup podcasts.

After the initial meetings, the organizations get caught back up in their work and I am stuck waiting. I follow up and get a response weeks later.

Scream Club: I went 7,000 miles by bus to 11 cities across the US talking to create supporters for a community of entrepreneurs who wanted to fight workplace stress and anxiety.

I am now stuck on how to get the right influential people onboard to make it work.

The central question in my mind is how much effort should I dedicate to a given objective if the outcome is uncertain?

Consequences of Fear Stopping You

Fears have made me a lesser version of myself.

FEAR Stopping You

I am less confident, less spontaneous, less able to lead.

Intimacy in my marriage is affected because half the time I am zoned out thinking about things I couldn’t accomplish.

I have friends that I don’t want even want to talk to because my proverbial doo-doo stinks — a lot.

The effects are felt beyond my friends and family. There are so many people that I can help with my gifts, that are not being reached.

Fear has made me a hollow, less full, less present version of myself.

Taking the “Leap of Faith”

My church calls the Lent season “Leap of Faith” where we focus on praying for a big breakthrough for ourselves and others.

I am so sick and tired of getting stopped by roadblocks that I am taking a YUGE leap of faith for the next 40 days.

This leap of faith season my focus is going to be taking the big risks needed towards some really scary goals.

Some of the goals will be towards my personal development. There will be other goals oriented towards helping other people overcome their fears.

Leap of Faith Goals

Go on one date per week with my wife

Get 5 Millionaire Mentors for Scream Club who have bootstrapped growth to $1M annual revenue

Help 2 other people create professional breakthroughs


To take my leap goals to the next level, I will be conducting several experiments in areas where I know I need to improve. The experiments will be a way for me to test how to make massive changes in a relatively short period of time.

Here are some the personal growth experiments I will be working on:

Living Intentionally and On Purpose

Getting More Things Done

Creating Meaningful Relationships

Learning How to Seek Help

Learning How to Make Money

As I write this, my right leg is trembling vigorously. I am shook!

Always a good sign.

How to create accountability towards your growth — Learning Out Loud

In order for all this to stick, I have to make the goals public.

That’s part of the reason I am writing this post.

Bryan Harris from Videofruit calls it ‘Learning out loud’.

If I fail, at the very least, I will learn something. Maybe you’ll learn something too.

Each week, I will be making drastic changes to my life via personal growth experiments then sharing the results with you.


I am no George Washington but I am going try my best to cross the frosty cold waters of my fears.

Life altering milestones are on the other side.

What fears do you want to overcome?

If you want to follow my journey and try these experiments for yourself, just email me derrick@purposerockstar.com

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Derrick Duplessy

Executive Director at Duplessy Foundation
Derrick has coached 500+ executives in 10 years as an executive coach. He runs Duplessy Foundation which is dedicated to creating meaningful careers for everyone. He also hosts Purpose Rockstar, a daily show on iTunes where he shares the career stories of a variety of guests.

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