Flying in the face of fear: a fighter pilots wisdom

“Feel the fear and do it anyway,” deeply resonates with me as I have to deal with being naturally fearful and performance anxiety. Kim “KC” Campbell’s powerful mantra, “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” takes center stage. Who is Kim? She’s not just anyone—she’s a retired US Air Force colonel, a combat pilot, and a seasoned senior leader with 24 years of distinguished service. Tune into her gripping experiences in a podcast with Dan Dworkis MD PhD Dworkis, and you’ll understand the gravity of her insights.

How does one navigate through fear? For me, it’s not merely a challenge but a lifelong theme. To confront fear and anxiety while pursuing what truly matters is my guiding principle—one I reckon with indefinitely. Life’s journey, fraught with insecurities and violence, can embed fear, anger, or even hatred in our very fibers. Yet, my battle is with fear and anxiety.

But staying in a corner was never my intention—life beckons for more. I’ve found fear and value in every intimidating pursuit: stepping into the karate dojo, envisioning a black belt, engaging in full-contact competitions, providing firearm training to special forces, addressing full auditoriums alongside luminaries like Marc Pollen and Ruben Verlangen, writing opinion-stirring books, and just recently to trust the love of the love of my life (yes you M).

Much like Kim’s wisdom, the art lies in pushing forward, even in the face of fear. Life and love, synonymous and transcendent, become forces greater than fear. Sometimes, it’s about acknowledging fear’s presence, appreciating its concern, yet asserting, “Step aside; I have something important to do.”

In shadows deep where my doubts reside,
My timid heart, its dreams to hide.
Fear and anxiety, a silent ghost,
Whispers fears that hinder me most.

But I rise above this murky haze,
I Embrace the sun’s courageous blaze.
For life’s grand stage awaits our song,
Let sing it boldly, and dance along

Just as Kim exemplifies in her professional realm, confronting fear demands both internal and external efforts—hard work, preparation, falling (listen to Kim’s almost plane crash), and the courage to rise again.

Why go through this arduous journey? Because each day presents an opportunity to bring joy to someone else. To make my beautifull wife and kids smile. To listen to the concerns of my students even in times when I myself have a lot of sorrows. To have great conversations with friends, Colleague’s and share stories. Life is a story is it not? And sharing these is the great human experience.

Service becomes a constant, and for me, fear, much like anger, should never dictate the final chapter. Feel the fear and still pursue what you hold dear—often nestled in your heart, which unfailingly beats with purpose. Gratitude to you, Dan Dworkis MD PhD and Kim “KC” Campbell, MBA, MA, for these profound insights.

The whole podcast with Kim is here :

And her book: Flying in the Face of Fear: A Fighter Pilot’s Lessons on Leading with