I Ain’t Scared

By D.J. Vanas ©
News From Indian Country March. 2010

We’re now going in to month two of the new year and the economy continues to limp along like a punch-rattled boxer in Round 12 of this recession, unemployment is 10%+, we all know someone (or many) who’ve lost their jobs, and no one really knows what’s around the corner from here. There is much to be afraid of if we allow ourselves reasons to focus on the list. My humble advice – don’t. Worry never serves us and fear often limits us. Like a turtle on his back, there is but one way from the ground and that’s up.

We’ve been making some sweeping changes in our business, new projects, a new book, new directions, lots of research and more to come this year. It’s going to be a dynamic year but instead of pure inspiration and elation, I’ve noticed a fair amount of…fear. As we get older, we feel the stakes are higher, we’ve more to lose with the changes we decide to make. After all, we’ve got families to care for, responsibilities to uphold. However, we lose sight of the fact, that what got us here in the first place, was making changes, taking chances and taking action! My friend, and fellow speaker and author, Mark Sanborn says fear nothing but to waste the present moment. So how do we handle the road ahead?

Remember the mantra from childhood we'd tell our friends because it sounded brave: I ain’t scared. OK, maybe I said it that way because I grew up in Mississippi, but you get the point. The strange thing about the human mind is that when we say or think something over and over again, it becomes our reality. We chanted these mantras to get a small boost of bravery before entering a darkened room, jumping off the high dive or picking up a garter snake for the first time. It worked then and it can work now.


In our Native cultures, a warrior had a war cry they would yell as they went into battle. It was as much for giving the warrior strength and courage as it was for intimidating the enemy. Use that idea to create your own war cry. While screaming at the top of your lungs in the workplace may not be welcomed, it can be something more subtle – and even more powerful. Whether it’s saying I will make this sale or I will succeed or no time like now, adopt a war cry. Say it quietly but with conviction, say it when you wake up, before you go to sleep, at the office before meetings. It will give you strength, clarity and that boost of bravery when you need it. Facing the prospect of several major projects, collecting a multitude of details, and months of work ahead of me to get it done, my war cry for this year is whatever it takes.

After all, we’re all on the field of battle each day, fighting to overcome challenges, obstacles and fears. When you look across the valley and see the smoke rising and the enemy gathering, raise your spear high over your head and scream your war cry with all your might. Let your fears know who they’re messing with and give them a dose of their own medicine. Be brave. Be strong. Be focused on victory. Make this year your best yet and I’ll be right next to you, fighting for the same!    

D.J.’s upcoming schedule:

9-11 Owens Valley Career Development Center - (Big Pine, CA)
15-16 The Bellevue Club Mananger’s Retreat - (Bellevue, WA)
19 U.S. Office of Personnel - Management (Denver, CO)
22-23 Indian Health Service - (Phoenix, AZ)
29-30 Montana LTAP  -  (Great Falls, MT)

15-16 Tate Topa School  - (Ft. Totten, ND)
21 UCAR Measuring Up Conference  - (Boulder, CO)
23 U.S. Office of Personnel - Management (Denver, CO)
26-28 Indian Health Service - (Aberdeen, SD)

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas (Odawa) is a nationally acclaimed motivational storyteller, success coach and the author of the celebrated book, The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement and audio CD series The Warrior Within. D.J. uses traditional warrior concepts and wisdom to inspire people to achieve their best in life, school and career and owns Native Discovery Inc., a company dedicated to “building the warriors of tomorrow… today.” He can be reached at (719) 282-7747.

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