Last updated on April 27th, 2020
1-Sentence-Summary: Fear is Not the Boss of You is a fun, story-rich, biblical guide to overcoming fear, explaining where fear started, how to identify your next step, and what to expect when you take action.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Jennifer Allwood wants you to dream – and do – something big instead of letting fear keep you stuck. And her advice is worth taking. Among many other fears, she’s overcome:
- fear of starting a business
- fear of water
- fear of public speaking
As a listener of her top-ranked podcast, I’m excited to share my summary of her first book.
Here are 3 lessons (timeless truths) about overcoming fear, getting clarity, and taking bold action so you can quit being stuck and enjoy life:
- Getting “unstuck” involves figuring out where it started and accepting responsibility to move past it.
- Clarity leads to courage.
- Moving past fear does not guarantee a pain-free life, only a worthwhile one.
Ready to out-maneuver that fear? Let’s go!
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Lesson 1: Getting “unstuck” involves figuring out where it started and accepting responsibility to move past it.
The first step to getting unstuck is recognizing where your “stuckness” began. Comparison, childhood experiences, unsupportive family members, and past failures are only some of the possibilities Jennifer discusses.
We’ve all seen how this works in our lives and the lives of our loved ones:
- our friend’s weight loss makes us uncomfortable so we self-soothe with ice cream
- flashbacks to junior high rejection paralyze us at public events and we hide in a corner
- our well-meaning grandma’s cautions against homeschooling lead us to switch curriculums for the third time
- business losses leave us feeling like losers and we ignore notices from our local tax commission
The more we accept the labels we’ve worn in the past, the more we do things that reinforce them. Fat, shy, unqualified, losers make choices that keep them that way.
Jennifer tackles these and other issues with compassion while pointing us to the only logical answer. We must take responsibility for how we respond to each root cause.
Yeah, you knew that. But Jennifer convinces you to do it.
It’s all about choosing an empowering perspective: “Don’t use [past pain] as an excuse. Use it as an incentive to get out and get on with your life.”
Lesson 2: Clarity leads to courage.
We need courage to overcome fear, and courage is a byproduct of clarity. So how can we get clarity and act courageously?
Clarity comes from focusing on doing the right thing. Jennifer boils this down to prayer. “If you are stuck and if you believe in God, ask Him what to do.” And even if you don’t consider yourself religious, you can follow her simple method to hear from God.
I imagine someone protesting, “God doesn’t hear the prayers of unbelievers.” But Acts 10 tells the story of an unbeliever whose prayer God answered. God likes it when we seek His wisdom.
Can we get this wrong? You bet (been there, done that). Jennifer explains how to avoid making foolish decisions and blaming it on God.
Next, we find courage by focusing on what needs to be done, who needs us to do it, our past victories, and future possibilities rather than on how we feel.
These concepts work whether the scary thing we face is launching a business, adopting a child, running a 5K, returning to college, undergoing chemotherapy, or something entirely different.
Lesson 3: Moving past fear does not guarantee a pain-free life, only a worthwhile one.
What happens when we take action in spite of our fear? Is it all “rainbows and unicorns and lucky charms” after that? Nope. Sorry.
Instead, we’ll likely face disrupted schedules, confusing circumstances, social media attacks, criticism from friends and family, and a multitude of other distractions.
Jennifer sees these distractions as spiritual resistance. Resistance is proof that your vision matters. The more the vision matters, the bigger the resistance. And that’s why we must keep going until we break through and level up.
Jennifer brilliantly likens this process to launching a rocket ship. Rockets “shake insanely right before they break through the sound barrier.” Sometimes resistance feels like that.
So, yeah, it’s gonna be hard. But so is regret. It’s up to us to choose which hard we’d rather live with.
What’s exciting to me is that, as we choose to try—like a deaf girl singing—we discover we really were made for so much more.
God never promised unbridled success this side of Heaven. Your next idea may still flop, your site may get hacked, and you might follow that fitness plan “to a T” and still gain weight.
He only promised that obedience is worth it.
My Personal Takeaways: Faith, fun, and obedience are not optional.
George Bernard Shaw said, “If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.” Unrelated to the book’s topic, I am impressed by Jennifer’s skill to craft a message that:
- keeps readers engaged with surprises both witty and profound
- avoids doctrinal controversy while sharing core biblical truths
- is true to her faith while welcoming others without judgment, shame, or pressure to conform
Homeschoolers understand what I mean when I call this a living book. It’s packed with truth and encouragement delivered in a way that creates a hunger to come back for more.
It’s the book I hope to someday write. In the meantime, I’ll finish the book I started. Now is the time to take action. Do it afraid. Do it imperfectly. Do it now.
Fear Is Not The Boss of You Review
If you want to follow a practical framework to overcome fear and finally do that scary thing you’ve been debating for eons, Fear Is Not The Boss of You is the book to read. 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is a great follow-up. Tommy Newberry offers a fun and highly practical action plan of time-tested strategies and exercises for experiencing joy by design—God’s design.
What else can you learn from Fear Is Not The Boss Of You?
- The one thing we must have in order to get unstuck (page 19)
- How to reframe a handicap and turn it into your secret sauce (chapter five)
- What to do if your husband is not on board with your business idea (chapter six)
- What elephants teach us about getting unstuck (page 74)
- The simple yet profound perspective that will give you courage to heal from past hurts (chapter eight)
- The one question you can ask yourself to overcome big scary feelings (page 103)
- How to hear and recognize God’s voice (chapter thirteen)
- How to access bonus materials (lovely scripture cards to print)
Who would I recommend Fear Is Not The Boss Of You to?
Entrepreneurs and freelancers, especially women interested in building a creative online business.
The grieving widow, terrified at the thought of facing budgeting, household maintenance, and job instability without her best friend by her side.
Christians struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, insecurity, childhood abuse, and faith.
Non-Christians willing to explore a biblical perspective on these issues in a shame-free, judgment-free zone.
Fear is Not the Boss of You Free Chapter of Audiobook
What are you afraid of at the moment?
Tell me in the comments below.