How to Conquer Fear

Episode 38: How to Conquer Fear, with Stephen Woessner

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How to conquer fear? Discover methods for conquering fear and unlock your full potential. How to conquer fear and achieve goals confidently.

Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI (PROI), a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation and Sell With Authority Podcasts.

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix their mistakes.

Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member, and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state, including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison. He has owned five businesses and is the bestselling author of five books, including “Profitable Podcasting” and “Sell with Authority.”

Let us tackle how to conquer fear in this episode of Sell with Authority and achieve goals confidently.

His digital marketing insights have been featured in,, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.


What you will learn about in this episode is about how to conquer fear:

  • How to conquer fear that can set in when presented with opportunity
  • How to break past the temptation to quit before even starting down the path
  • Why the exterior trappings of success are not the true measure
  • Real life lessons around the power of persistence, tenacity, and grit
  • How to conquer fear and achieve goals confidently.
  • How if you take care of your clients — they will take care of you
  • How to knit all of this together so you never, ever quit

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And — join us for our next open-mic Q&A


How to Conquer Fear: Full Episode Transcript


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, and my team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So, if you’re an agency owner, business coach, or strategic consultant looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality. Well, then, you’re in the right place for today’s episode. It’s going to be actually just you and me. Um, I wanted to take some time for you and me to dig deeper into a topic that, on the surface, might seem a little ill-timed. So it’s mid-December 2022.  and Christmas and New Year’s are upon us,  as I’m recording this, the holidays are often accompanied by thoughts of hope and renewal and resolutions and commitments for how we’re going to maybe double down in the coming year, like the new things that we’re going to do, how we can be even more helpful to clients and prospects and people within your community in the week before Christmas.


Just taking you behind the curtain here, the week before Christmas and New Year’s, or actually the week in between Christmas and New Year’s, is the way that I should say that is my absolute favorite time of year. So we’re typically closed here, Predictive, so that we can rest, recharge, refocus, and be ready to hit the ground running in January, which typically gets kicked off with a bang. When Drew McClellan and I, in case you don’t know Drew, he is the CEO of Agency Management Institute. So he and I teach a workshop that we call Build and Nurture Your Sales Funnel and Wet. It’s a two-day workshop that we teach in mid-January, and this year, we’ll be at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. I don’t know why that’s a little bit of a tongue-twister for me but, but it is Disney’s Contemporary Resort.


And there’s a link in today’s show notes in case you want to review the details. If you would like to join us, So, with all of the holiday fun in full swing and starting off with a bang as soon as New Year’s is over, it might seem a little bit strange that I titled today’s episode, how to Conquer Fear. So, we’re going to talk about how to conquer fear because the temptation to quit is something we all face in full transparency. Even though I love this time of year, it is my, like I said, my most favorite time of year because of all the creative planning that goes with it and, the energy that I feel, the time with family, the excitement that literally courses through me thinking about what’s to come if I’m being honest. There are also corresponding questions on how to conquer fear. And sometimes those fearful thoughts sound a little bit like this.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to this episode: Strategic Planning for Growth & Profit, with Marcel Petitpas


How to Conquer Fear: Overcoming the Temptation to Quit


How to conquer fear — Oh, come on now, Stephen, do you really want to reach out to that next guest for the show? I mean, what if they say no? Or what if they never get back to you? Or it might sound like this. Hey, Stephen, what if you’ve planned to hire several more teammates? What if that doesn’t work out? What if you hire them too fast before you need them? What if you hire before the curve but too far before the curve? Or it might sound something like this. How to conquer fear — What if all the new content that you want to crave for 2023 takes too much time? What if it takes too much effort? Wouldn’t it be better to play a little bit smaller, maybe a little bit more conservatively? Maybe not jump to the pool’s deep end like you typically do? And the list goes on and on for me.


How to conquer fear? So with every new idea, this is something that I’ve noticed in myself over the last, you know, several decades with every new idea that I’m excited about. I also feel a corresponding pull to quit on the idea. And sometimes, before I’ve even started down the path, has that ever happened to you? So, as we’re about to step into the time of year when new ideas and resolutions will feel like a steady stream, and yay for that, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some insights about quitting that I’ve learned over the last 25 years of my career as a business owner. Because despite all of the experience that someone might have, all of the resolve, all of the commitment, maybe even a track record of success, there’s still going to be a temptation to quit. It will still rear its ugly head.


How to conquer fear? Whether you wanna call it a temptation to quit or you wanna call it the imposter syndrome, however you want to categorize it, it needs to be counteracted and pushed aside. So my hope for you today, as a result of this conversation, is that what I share with you and how you think through that is going to help you push aside any temptations to quit that you may be feeling at this time of year, too. So I’m gonna start us off by introducing you to one of my most influential mentors, someone who has been extremely influential in my life, but he’s someone you have likely never read about, never heard of, never quoted. In fact, on the surface, most people might think he led a rather ordinary life because his name was never up in lights. He never graced the cover of Success magazine. He was never the author of a bestselling book and never made the list of top influencers.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework


How to Conquer Fear: Lessons in Success and Persistence


Let’s talk about how to conquer fear. But that did not limit his influence or the impact he created in the lives of many. Because the exterior trappings of success are not the true testimony of the quality of someone’s life, the relationships, the love, and the personal impact are the really good stuff. Candidly, I have met many successful people, at least successful by the world’s standards. They had everything. They had fame; they had a fortune. They possessed everything you could imagine, yet they were miserable. Their spouse was miserable because he or she never got to see them. Their kids were miserable because the deep emotional connection that should have been there was missing a terrible hole that was there instead, a hole that can only be filled by a steady stream of love and caring. But the person I’m sharing with you, or the person I’m referring to, taught me the true definition of success, as well as the power of persistence, the power of tenacity, the power of grit, the power in moving slowly, consistently, how to conquer fear and pursuing something over the long haul.


How to conquer fear? Because when we do all of these things, great things happen. And all of that was made possible because of his quiet, relentless attitude toward never, ever quitting. He never quit. Never quit. Okay, so let me introduce you to, although I guess I kind of started to do that, his name was Peter Marus. Peter was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1902. His family was Greek, but they lived in Istanbul. This was a time tragically tragic that it was not so awesome to be a Greek male living or working or trying to raise a family in Turkey.  at the time of the Ottoman Empire, there was ethnic cleansing, a Greek genocide, such an awful term. And it wasn’t just the Greeks, Armenians too. I mean, millions of people lost their lives during that time period. And so it was common that a Greek adult male wouldn’t make it back to his home at night because he’d been whacked behind a shed somewhere or rounded up to fight for the Turkish army against whoever they were fighting at the time, or hung in the streets in the public square.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework


How to Conquer Fear: The Inspiring Journey of Peter Marus


How to conquer fear? That was the harsh reality of the day, and that’s exactly what Peter’s father had to navigate each day when he left his home for work. And one day, tragedy struck, and Peter’s father didn’t come home. Peter was eight years old, and his father didn’t come home. And now it looked as though Peter would be the man of the house. When he got the news, he ran out of the house in pursuit of trying to find his father. He searched the city. He even got onto a train, the train that his dad would take to and from work. He continued to search. He was looking desperate. He didn’t quit. It was Peter’s first taste of the relentless pursuit of someone for something he loved, but his father still never returned. So, at eight years old, Peter was the man of the house. So he dropped out of the third grade to make enough money to support his mother, younger brother, and sister. Eight years old. Peter did it without complaining, feeling self-pity, or feeling disadvantaged. He did his duty, and he did it with excellence. And he did it every day for 10 years.


How to conquer fear — Despite the end of his formal education in third grade, he never stopped learning. He studied and read whatever he could get his hands on. He asked questions. Whenever he met someone new, he always asked the inquisitive question. In doing so, he embodied this desire to be learning a dream constantly, which was sparked in his mind, his dream. He wanted to go to the United States and eventually own his own restaurant. He had no idea how he was going to do that, but that’s what he wanted to do: to build a better life for himself and his family. He promised his mother, sister, and brother that if he made it to the United States to America to live the American dream, he would save his money and come back to get them so they could all live together. When Peter was 18, he received that opportunity from mutual friends.


How to conquer fear — Peter’s dream was set into motion. But isn’t it interesting how, through determined, unrelenting focus, hard work, and grit, what we want most in this world finds its way into our circle? And that’s exactly what happened to Peter. His focus had been definitely on relenting. So Peter made it to the United States with no money and couldn’t speak the language. He followed the mass of other Greeks who were headed to Canton, Ohio, to work in the steel mills. Peter worked in the mills for a couple of days and realized, yeah, that’s not gonna be the path that would get him closer to his dream of owning his restaurant. So, instead, he pursued a job in a downtown Canton restaurant where he would cut vegetables and wash dishes on the night shift. And as you might imagine, it was backbreaking work. He bent over a sink and then a cutting board all night, every night.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework


How to Conquer Fear: The Man Who Refused to Quit


How to conquer fear? But he did it with a happy and grateful heart because he was in pursuit of something bigger. He was working in pursuit of his dream, and he would not quit. During those years of working in the restaurant, Peter learned some English, and then Providence set in one of the cooks on the day shift. He befriended Peter and gave him his old knife set so that Peter could refine his food prep skills. That knife set ended up being Peter’s ticket to getting off the night shift and onto the day shift as an apprentice, where he could make some more money. And within a short period of time, Peter was on the day shift and saving all of his money. And just six years later, without knowing much English, without any money, without a formal education, without a network of influential contacts, and while grading it out and doing work that many people today would refuse to do, Peter had saved enough money to open his own restaurant and bring his family from Istanbul to live with him.


How to conquer fear — Again. The restaurant was called The Ideal, which ended up being the first in a total of three restaurants Peter would go on to own in his 42 years as a restaurateur. Restaurateur, I think that’s the right word, restaurateur. Career. Career as a restaurateur. That’s the way to say it. He delivered on his promise to himself and to his family. But how did he do it? Well, he didn’t do it by getting funding from an angel investor, not through a Kickstarter campaign, loans from family members, or an economic development grant. No, he was successful because he refused to quit when his body and mind tried to convince him to do just that, he refused to quit. But as you may have already guessed, there’s more to this story. When Peter opened, the ideal Canton was often called Little Chicago because organized crime was rampant.


How to conquer fear — In fact, if you read Napoleon Hill’s brilliant book called Outwit, or titled Outwitting the Devil,  he shares a story about his visit to Canton in July 1926 to meet with local publisher Don Millette and how Millette was gunned down by mobsters while Hill was in town for the meeting. And the mobsters who killed Millette also threatened Hill and forced him out of Canton. Yeah, that was Canton at the time. At the same time, Peter was courageously running his brand new restaurant downtown amid the strife and stress. Oh my gosh. However, even the threat of organized crime didn’t persuade Peter to quit. He pushed forward, and when he thought he was making progress, the United States and the world entered the Great Depression in 1929, just a few short years after opening his restaurant. And if you go to the show notes for this episode, you’ll see a photo of Peter standing behind the lunch counter of the ideal during the Great Depression.


How to conquer fear? You’ll see the humble beginnings of a very humble man. And if you were to have asked Peter about his business plan during the, during the depression, excuse me, he would’ve said, if you take care of your customers, they will take care of you because everyone’s got to eat a simple business plan that Peter executed flawlessly every single day in my opinion. Peter also created the original value meal; He sold homemade soup and a sandwich. Okay, get this. He sold homemade soup and a sandwich for a nickel. And during the depression, he gave away more soup than he ever sold. Peter married the woman of his dreams, Julia Res, and together, they ran the restaurant and raised four wonderful kids along the way. In their kids, they instilled their lesson of family first and the business plan: if you take care of your customers, they will take care of you.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework


How to Conquer Fear: The Power of Persistence and Kindness


How to conquer fear —- And that they did. All through Peter’s 42 years in the restaurant bus business, he built a community of amazing, loyal customers who absolutely loved Peter and Julia. When Peter and Julia retired, they shifted their attention toward their 10 grandchildren by instilling all of these powerful lessons into them so they could be well-equipped to move onward and become leaders in business within their communities. And to become great parents. Peter and Julia wanted their grandchildren to understand their family’s history, the risks they took to get here, to stay here, and what it took to create a meaningful life that revolved around service, grit, tenacity, and never quitting, regardless of the odds. And in the end, I learned how important it is to be kind, compassionate, and helpful. Those are the true keys to success. So some years later, after Peter’s retirement, his then-adult son, Bill Marus, who also became the owner of two successful restaurants, asked his father, Hey, pop, why did you give away so much soup during the depression?


And Peter looked at Bill and, with compassion and kindness in his eyes, said to him, I gave away the soup because I know Jesus is coming back someday. I don’t know what he’s gonna look like or what he’s gonna be wearing when he comes, so I’m just going to be kind to everyone. When Bill Marin shared that story with me a few years ago, he had tears in his eyes because that lesson from his father was that impactful. It’s almost making me tear up. Think about it. And it really that story really helped shape who Bill had become as a person and how he served his customers as a business owner. And yes, there will absolutely be times that will weaken the best of us, no doubt. But the truly great, those like Peter are the ones who got back up, they dusted themselves off and went back to their work without feeling sorry for themselves.


How to conquer fear? There was no victim mentality in his spirit, only a commitment to what he believed was right and why he was put on this earth. So don’t let yourself fall into that seductive trap of quitting and the temptation to quit. And yes, it can be comforting for a season during a period of loss, no doubt, and we need to take the time to honor those losses. But if we’re not careful, the thoughts of self-pity or telling ourselves that we cannot move past an obstacle, or that we’re somehow not worthy of conquering that next challenge, or saying to ourselves over and over again that we can’t do something, those thoughts of low quality of pessimism can consume you. Your thoughts on how to conquer fear will cause you to slow down ever so slightly each day, and that’s not the pace and tempo you need to run at. So don’t ever quit, never, ever quit.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework

How to Conquer Fear: Pursuing Happiness and Legacy


How to conquer fear? Happiness is only achieved by the relentless pursuit of what you love most. Peter’s happiness was driven by creating a better life for himself and his family and taking the steps and necessary risks to make that happen. And he did it. He didn’t wait for someone to make it happen for him. He was generous. He gave, he took care of the people around him, and they took care of him during his time of need too, because there were certainly those times, okay, so you might be, you might be asking yourself, and I’ve been trying to get through this piece without,  being tearful. Still, you might be asking yourself,  how in the world does Stephen know all this to be true about Peter?  well, Peter Marus was my grandfather, and Pill Marus, Peter’s son from the soup story, is my uncle and my godfather.


How to conquer fear — My uncle Bill is one of my first mentors and one of my first employers. I started washing dishes in his restaurant in the summer when I was 11 years old. And he is always been a strong and dependable father figure in my life,  in my life and, and still is to this day, . I was really hoping I wasn’t gonna lose it toward the end here. And, unfortunately, that wish doesn’t seem to be coming true. I have the honor of being one of the 10 grandchildren who had the privilege of learning these lessons of success directly from Peter. The four amazing kids Peter and Julia raised are my Aunt Joy, my Uncle Bill, my Aunt Elaine,  and my mother in Canton, Ohio. Well, that is my hometown.  go Buckeyes. I hope we do well in the college football playoff this year.


 Peter was a great man who gave everything for what he believed in. He took great risks coming to a foreign country, seeking to create a better future for his family and to create a legacy for all of us grandkids. So the photo of Peter in his restaurant that I mentioned earlier is going, that is in today’s show notes, it also hangs on the wall of my office next to my desk. My Uncle Bill has the same photo framed on the wall of his restaurant. It’s a visual reminder of our family’s legacy, where we came from, our entrepreneurial DNA, and our roots. There have been many long nights when I’m working in my office late when I would much rather quit and go to bed. I look up from my work and see Pop looking at me from the photo on my wall.


Learn more about how to conquer fear by tuning in to: The “HOW” Framework


How to Conquer Fear: Never Quit and Pursue Greatness


How to conquer fear? And I think to myself, he did all of that for me so I could live this kinda life, so I could have the opportunity to spend time with you during this solo cast, so I could do all that I enjoyed doing today. He did that for me. He worked so hard and took so many risks. So, I think to myself, what in the world is my excuse for not sending out that last email? That, that I can’t write one more invitation to a rock, an awesome guest, that I can’t create the strategy for one more client, and the list goes on. His legacy helps me keep laser-focused on my most vital priorities. And I hope that Peter’s story has done the same for you in some small way. As you think about the possibilities for 2023, your in complete control, you get to write the script and design your business any way you want.


How to conquer fear? You get to plant your flag of authority wherever it is that you want to, and you can be helpful in growing your audience, nurturing leads, and driving sales. All you need to do is start and remember that you do not need to eat the elephant in one bite at a time. And when the temptations to quit come your way, or even the temptations to put off starting because of the myriad of excuses that we all tell ourselves. My hope is that you will push through it, start, build some momentum, and then never, ever quit. You are meant for greatness. You are a child of the highest God. You’re instilled with an abundance of talent and gifts. Please don’t let something so small as fear or circumstances limit all that you are meant to be. As my mentor and great friend Don Yeager says, greatness is available to all of us if we are willing to do the common things uncommonly well.


How to conquer fear — So be uncommon and never, ever quit. Okay? So, with that said, I wanna say thank you. I wanna say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It’s always an honor to have you here. I always appreciate your grace and your forgiveness as I stumble through what I wanted to share with you. ’cause, clearly, parts of it are deeply emotional for me. So thank you for your grace and from our predictive family to you and yours. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you and being with you next week. Until then, onward with gusto.

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The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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