Drewe Broughton – “The Fear Coach” – is a former professional footballer who now helps athletes and executives overcome obstacles and unlock their potential. His approach involves guiding his clients to explore their true selves and confront difficult emotions like fear and shame. He believes that people can find genuine, lasting success through self-awareness and personal fulfillment. In this episode of Unlearn, Drewe joins Barry O’Reilly to share thoughtful perspectives on fear, vulnerability, and being your authentic self – even in high-pressure environments.
Drewe reflects on a pivotal moment in his life when he was in rehab, facing the truth about his struggles. He describes the moment of surrender and a sense of peace that washed over him as he acknowledged how unmanageable his life had become. “It was the first time I probably sat with that level of truth. And I remember an overwhelming sense of peace washed through me,” he shares. Barry adds, “A huge part of the entrepreneurial journey is seeking the truth. A lot of people don’t want to seek the truth. They want people to tell them their product’s beautiful… but it sucks. And just like people, …we create a facade of who we are and how perfect our life is, and yet we all know the truth: there’s a lot of tough moments lurking there.” Drewe emphasizes the importance of seeking one’s truth and the challenges of ego collapse. His own self-discovery during the 30-day rehab period, unraveled that he was lost in his career and personal life. “It was never the external pressure, it was never the fans… It was me, ” he tells Barry. [Listen from 2:00]
The Art of Unlearning
“I talk a lot about unlearning [because] there [are] some behaviors that actually can lead to massive success, but they also can limit us, too,” Barry says. Drewe shares his perspective on unlearning, drawing parallels with religious stories, such as the Buddha’s enlightenment under a tree. You need to collapse your ego and strip away external influences to discover your true self, he remarks. He highlights the often-overlooked aspect of courage in the pursuit of success, contrasting it with the prevalent emphasis on hard work. “It’s all …more grind, more hustle. But beyond that, the courage piece, the courage to stay who you are and keep doing it,” he says. [Listen from 8:10]
Leaders often operate in high-pressure environments. They have to contend with pervasive external noise and pressure, which can significantly impact their decision-making and overall performance. Drewe and Barry discuss the intricate relationship between fear and uncertainty, emphasizing how these emotions manifest in the entrepreneurial world. Detrimental consequences can result when leaders fail to take decisive action in the face of such challenges.
It’s important for leaders to embrace their true selves, peeling away layers of fear, resentment, and societal expectations, Drewe comments. High performance, at its core, is synonymous with authenticity, and leadership is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and vulnerability. [Listen from 10:42]
Returning to ‘You’
In our daily lives, facing fear and anxiety is a common experience. Barry asks Drewe about his approach to helping people work through moments of fear and anxiety. Drewe highlights the need for us to unlearn everything and rediscover our authentic selves. He believes that everyone has innate qualities buried under layers of fear, resentment, and external influences. He describes working with golfers who, over time, shift from relying on natural feel to being bogged down by statistics and data. He encourages a return to the basics of self-discovery, asking simple questions about why individuals got into their pursuits and what initially ignited their passion. “It’s so easy to fall into the trap of all the data that comes at you, the KPIs that you’re responsible for, the people that are banking on you to come through so the company can make it through another payroll cycle,” Barry adds.
Overcontrol is a manifestation of fear, Drewe explains. Leaders often grapple with the need for control as a response to fear and uncertainty. This tendency, he argues, can inhibit growth and progress. [Listen 18:45]
In Search of Self
Barry acknowledges the difficulty of truth-seeking, emphasizing that blaming external factors is the easy option. He adds, “The hard part is always to look at yourself and say, ‘What did I not do in the moment? What am I missing? What do I need to change about me?’” He asks Drewe for advice on how people can start their journey of self-discovery. Drewe suggests the simple yet powerful exercise of taking a piece of paper, writing “Who am I?” in the middle, and reflecting on your authentic self. He emphasizes the need to reveal rather than add, simplifying the process of self-discovery, and suggests examining fears, selfishness, and toxic shame by making a list. [Listen from 29:00]
On Being Vulnerable
There is transformative power in vulnerability, Drewe points out. Leaders can create profound connections and understanding by dropping their guard and being honest. Sharing the truth and being vulnerable about their own struggles and experiences, can foster authentic relationships with their team. [Listen from 32:55]