Is One of These ‘Invisible Forces’ Holding You Back?

Former attorney and CNN commentator Mel Robbins talks to Convene about how to harness fear to improve your career.

mel robbinsRobbins practiced as a defense attorney before transitioning to her current career as a CNN commentator and author of Stop Saying You’re Fine: The No-BS Guide to Getting What You Want. She delivered a well-received Closing General Session at the 2015 PCMA Education Conference, for which Convene interviewed her; the interview is excerpted below.

What is the key to getting what we want?

There are two invisible forces that are holding you back. One of the invisible forces is how life in modern society is shutting down your higher-brain functioning and shutting down your impulse for action. And the second thing that’s an invisible force that is stopping you is fear.

What is it that we fear?

You only have two fears. The first fear is the fear of death itself. What it actually is, is simply the fear that something unknown is about to happen and you’re afraid you can’t survive it. You’re fearing that if you took a risk, if you went out and swung for the fences and tried something crazy, different, new, exciting at your next event that you’re putting on, you fear that it could be wrong. So you get paralyzed and you don’t do it. And there’s another fear that we’re going to discuss that’s actually the good fear; it’s the fear you want. It’s called FOMO — the fear of missing out.

FOMO sounds like something you could really take advantage of to attract people to your meeting or conference.

Absolutely. In fact, if you really think about it, what is the psychological driving force of Facebook, of Twitter, of Snapchat, of Meerkat, of Periscope — of all of these things? The driving force is the fear of missing out. That’s why everybody is logging on to these things; it’s fundamental. Your conferences need to be so awesome, in your opinion, that people would be morons not to go because it’s going to be such an incredible opportunity.

Do you have one takeaway that you’d like your audience to go away with?

I want every person in that audience to be reminded just how remarkable they are. And I want them to feel inspired again about the opportunity that it is and how cool it is to get to plan events that can change the course of people’s careers.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.