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FearBoss: Being the Boss of Unhealthy Fear

February 12, 2024

Have you ever been nervous about a new opportunity or decision? Of course, you have. We’ve all been there. You’re not sure which way to go. Then you start thinking, “What if…?” Of course, we have all been afraid. Speaking of fear, let me tell you what true terror is. True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. Kurt Vonnegut said that, and he is right. 

If something scares you, it simply means you are doing something you are not yet comfortable doing or stepping into significant and unknown territory. It does not mean you will get hurt, and it doesn't mean you are not courageous. Nobody is courageous if they feel no fear at all.

The courageous person is the one who does not let the fear they feel control them. Every time you move toward the thing you fear, you expand. Whenever you do what you need to do despite your fear, you redefine who you are to the one person whose opinion matters most, and that’s you.

How would you like to be a Fear Boss? That means you could be the ‘boss’ of your fears. Well, there is a real Fear Boss, and I have met him. Let me explain.  

Occasionally, in my many travels and speaking engagements, I meet someone unique and special. The person has an 'it' factor that I recognize. Allow me to introduce you to a Chandler, Arizona, resident, Jon Melby. I met Jon at Primus University, and from that moment on, we have become advocates of one another. Sparks fly in a significant way when we meet because iron sharpens iron, especially when both of us are Christians and pilots. Jon is one of twenty-four stunt pilots currently flying at airshows in America. His black and yellow Pitt stunt plane is just one of his business entrepreneur’s work offices. His brand is FearBoss. I love that name! 

Jon Melby bought his first plane when he was only 19 years old. And then, he got his pilot's license in only three weeks. In his first competition with 23 competitors, Jon came in third. In his next two contests, he won first and second place. And when Jon's not flying, he's teaching people how to overcome their fears.

Here are a few excerpts from an interview with Jon Melby that will inspire you. Perhaps the discussion will do more than inspire you. It will empower you to adopt a different perspective of fear.

Question by interviewer: “Jon, you say, ‘I need to help as many people as possible to manage fear in their lives.’ Why are you on this quest to help people overcome their fears? And aren’t some fears justified?”

Answer by Jon: "So, in years of doing what I do, I used to fly from the airports for the C.I.A. I flew Special Operations Missions. I've been racing motocross and skiing, playing hockey, and doing crazy stuff my entire life. And I can say this about the things I do have a fear of: I’ve learned how to manage fear. As an airshow pilot, I constantly encounter people who fear flying. They ask me, “How do you even go up in the air and tumble, twist, and turn like you do? Are you out of your mind? Are you insane?”  

Well, if you’re from Phoenix, Arizona, like I am, and you go up north and see people driving through snow, it's the same thing. I think, “You’re driving on snow and ice, “Are you crazy?” I’m afraid of driving on snow and ice because I’m not used to it. But once you consistently start driving on snow and ice, you become an expert and overcome your fear. My mission is to see people equipped to overcome their fear rather than have fear overcome them.” 

Question by interviewer: “You also say, ‘As a professional airshow pilot, I have to conquer fear every time I fly.’ What are you most afraid of before you step onto that plane of yours? Are you afraid the plane will have a mechanical breakdown?”

Jon’s Answer: “No. My fear is like performers who get on stage either in a play or when they're singing. Everyone gets butterflies. The question is, what are those butterflies for? Maybe if you're going to an interview or a salesperson with a new account, there’s always that apprehension. It's not an intense fear. It’s more like a light fear. You want to make sure that you’re prepared for it. So, when I get into my airplane, I'm not worried about a mechanical breakdown. I'm not concerned about dying. I'm not worried about any of that. The fear that I have is the current weather conditions or that I’m not going to do my best job as a performer and stunt pilot."

"No matter what you do, all kinds of apprehensions come up in life. I'm not afraid of those. I recognize that fear is involved, and I’ve had to learn how to manage those fears to press forward.”

Let's summarize what Jon is saying here. I call it "Healthy Fear." Jon allows the proper use of fear to take him to spaces and places he could never get to on his own. He's learned to distinguish healthy fears from unhealthy fears. When you can do that, fear becomes your friend. However, until you can do that, fear can be an enemy. Maybe we could even call "Healthy fear" faith in action. 

God has called us to be overcomers. To be an overcomer, you need to overcome something. Upwards! 

Would you like to meet FearBoss? Jon Melby will perform and chat with people on February 16-18 at the 2024 Buckeye Air Fair at Buckeye Airport. He’s a people person, you’ll love him. For more information, google Buckeye Air Fair.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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