Tony Horton doesn’t walk into a room, he swaggers
He doesn’t just enter a room, he controls it. Of course he does, right? He’s Tony Horton, inventor of P90X, creator of chiseled bodies and possessor of abs I’d like to use as a tongue scraper. Amazingly, before he became Tony “Swagger” Horton he was just a guy with a stammer passed down from his father and grandfather, who moved around a lot and had a hard time making friends.
“I was Anthony Sawyer Horton, but I thought the ‘S’ stood for scared. I thought my shadow would beat me up,” he told me recently as I interviewed him for a newspaper article I’m working on.
The statement was so contrary to his image that it made me stop the furious note taking I was doing and I think I just stared. But not in the same, drooling puppy dog way I stared as he walked in. This time it was more in awe. Tony Horton, the guy who makes pull-ups look as easy as brushing your teeth, the guy with the keen wit and easy likeability, is human?
EVERYONE feels fear
There, on a bench we shared outside of an Italian restaurant, in the cold night air he talked about his fears, what it was like to be Tony Horton and what it is like to be TONY HORTON–celebrity fitness guru. Do you know what both versions of Tony have in common? They both feel fear. One is as human as the other.
Coming up he was afraid of the normal things teenagers deal with, despite that he added “But I always thought something would work out for me.” And they did, just not the way he had planned. He wanted to be a comedic actor like Jerry Lewis. Then in college he wanted to be more like Steve Martin. As a struggling actor he wanted to be Jim Carrey.
Instead, he became a celebrity fitness guru—with a little Lewis, Martin and Carey meritage thrown in for fun.
And now, at that moment, as he embarked on a tour of California military bases where he was holding open workout sessions, as he gets set to launch Tony’s Kitchen organic food line, a clothing line, a line of watches and a bazillion other things emblazoned with his name, he sat in the dark, tamed his funnyman persona just a tad and admitted he still has fears. Of course, he didn’t admit to any bombshell fears, but fears nonetheless. Mostly, he is sometimes afraid to let his fans down.
This was evident as he walked back into the banquet room and began to tell funny stories about his training adventures and entertain the audience with tales of who he’s trained. He was personable, he was funny, he took ample time with anyone who walked up and wanted a picture to make sure it really was a good picture. All that despite having led a workout earlier, traveled to get there, and that fact that it was close to 9:30 p.m. and his dinner hadn’t arrived yet.
A few minutes earlier he confessed that things get stressful with such a hectic schedule. “When I’m a little tired or I don’t get to sleep I don’t want to let people down I don’t want to disappoint them,” he said.
Successful people feel fear and do it anyway
That night he didn’t disappoint. But it demonstrated one thing: All those big-time bloggers out there—yeah, I’m talking about you Darren Rowse, Chris Guillebeau and Corbett Barr—all those big time entrepreneurs, all those big-time anybodies, are merely mortal and experience the same fear that you do.
Think about that the next time you are afraid to hit publish on that beautiful blog post you wrote. Let it feed your courage when you are hesitant about starting your business, about leaving your job, about disappointing customers, about launching a product and nobody buys it, about hearing that dreaded “You’re starting another business?” from your friends and family.
It’s your life, you’ve only got one—take it back. Don’t let friends, your boss, out-dated notions and–especially not fear–hold you back from designing the life you want. The only difference between successful entrepreneurs and you is that they didn’t let fear hold them back. Dig deep, let out a warrior yell and charge forward. Then, learn how to swagger like you own the room—because soon you will.