How would your life be different if you were not scared to face the fears holding you back from reaching your biggest goals?

I recently reconnected with an old friend from USA – Garrett Gravesen, who is the author of the book 10 Seconds of Insane Courage – when he traveled through Bangkok on his 52 countries in 52 weeks “Insane Book Tour”.  He is one of the liveliest, funniest, most good-natured people I am lucky to have as a friend!  We met up for lunch and he gave me a copy of his book, and told me all about the inspiration behind it when he was writing it.  As I looked at the back of the book, I was amazed to find endorsements from some world renowned names in the entertainment industry, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Will Smith, Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., and Cindy Crawford. I was curious and asked Garrett how he managed to get all of these incredibly famous people to write a testimonial for his book.  The story he told me, left me speechless! Here’s his re-telling of how he did it.

“I couldn’t just write a book called 10 Seconds of Insane Courage and not do anything so insane, that would be an example of how courage really can pay off.  When I was writing my book, my publisher asked me who I thought would be the most outrageous person I could approach to give me an endorsement – and I immediately thought of “The Rock” – who is all about fearlessness, saying “Yes!” and never giving up.  I don’t know him personally, and I don’t know anyone who does, but I thought I would give it a try. My first instinct was to try to get in touch with someone from his alma mater, the University of Miami, and I knew someone there – my former colleague. I gave him a call and casually inquired about “The Rock” and if he knew how to get in touch with one of his people. Incredulously, my ex-colleague told me that he had just spoken to his representative and gifted tickets to a football game to “The Rock” and his family!  The door was open! I managed to get an appointment to speak to him directly and when I told him my story and what the book was about, he was totally sold on giving me his endorsement. After I got “The Rock” I thought why not keep going and get more people on board, so I sent out my media kit along with his testimonial to hundreds of other actors and public figures, and got a few back! Had I not had the courage to say that I’m going to get “The Rock” to give me an endorsement and believe that it could happen, I wouldn’t have gotten any of those incredible people to back up my book.”

Natalie Glebova Garrett Gravesen holding book and showing fearlessness

Yes, dreams do come true! But it happens to those who have the courage and audacity to ask.  In his book, Garrett discloses 8 of the most common fears holding us back from living the life we want.

They are:

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of letting go.

Fear that I’m not good enough.

Fear of the first step.

Fear of bailing out.

Fear of not having enough.

Fear of disappointing others.

Fear of failure.

Visit to read more about Garrett and buy his book.


Our ancient mind keeps us safe

The message then, is clear: all the fears that control us are just a result of the limiting beliefs our minds make up to keep us safe. The mind is still primitive in some ways, as its main purpose since the dawn of time has been to keep us out of harm’s way.  The subconscious mind will always and forever try to talk us out of putting ourselves out there where we can get embarrassed, rejected, or emotionally or physically hurt from wandering out of our comfort zone, into a new realm of unfamiliarity and possible danger.

Fear is a natural and essential feeling for all human beings that has allowed us to survive and procreate in the past.  This survival mechanism works against us, however, because in our modern lives, without any of the dangers we used to face daily in prehistoric times, we are left with the instincts of our ancestors.  These ancient emotions tend to manifest themselves in other ways – phobias, paranoia, and anxiety. Carl Zimmer (2010) “The primitive, complicated and essential emotion we call fear”. Discover Magazine

Our minds also tend to play tricks on us, making situations seem more distressing than they actually are. It is essential to recognize that our thoughts don’t automatically reflect objective reality.  And we must also realize that it is only through the unfamiliar, the unknown, and by taking risks, that we can have new experiences that will lead us to grow, learn and become a better version of ourselves. The winners are those who look past fear and take control of their mind, telling it to quiet down, as they break past the barriers of their comfort zone and ultimately try to do the things that very few people have the courage to do.

And they consequently get rewarded.  Perhaps not right away, as many of them face inevitable failures and setbacks. But with more fearlessness and perseverance, they forge ahead, learning from each mistake and garnering strength and wisdom along the way, finally emerging triumphant on the other side.  


I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.”

~ Oprah Winfrey


Read  the winner stories from the winners featured in my book “I AM WINNING”.


Can you list 10 items you are grateful for?

Are you, in true winner style, beaming and bursting at the seams with appreciation for all the beauty your life is filled with?  Are you thankful for certain things but still wish for more? Or are you finding it hard to think of even a few things to be pleased with?

The more you express gratitude, the more likely you are to live in a positive state of mind, be more optimistic, and attract more goodness into your life.  But if you are the type of person who generally views any situation as “glass half empty”, and who finds it difficult to see the “silver lining” in bad experiences, there are ways to improve that outlook.  Gratitude-giving is a practiced skill, and can certainly be mastered with time.

In his 2013 TED Talk “Want to be happy? Be grateful”, Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast says,
“We tend to expect that being happy will make us feel grateful, but actually it’s the other way around. Gratitude is a choice.”

Making the choice to be grateful

How can we make the choice to be grateful, you might wonder? Simply by reminding ourselves of all the blessings in our lives. After his mission in Africa, Steindl-Rast was so thankful for his water faucet because it was something so rare where he had been. He even put a sticker on it to remind himself of how fantastic this invention is, as over time it started to seem common to him again.

In my eyes, gratitude is the number one quality of people who live happy, accomplished lives. The world can be a daunting and intimidating place sometimes, but it’s all a matter of perspective.  You are the one who ultimately chooses what you want to focus on. The opportunities, ideas, inspiration, love and beauty in the world – or problems, obstacles, lack, inabilities and injustice. If you fall down and scrape your knee, are you angry and frustrated that it happened? Or are you grateful that it wasn’t anything worse?

The 90/10 Rule

You can be in control of how you perceive situations when they happen, especially to you.  Stephen Covey popularized the idea of the 90/10 Principle in his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where he suggests that 10% of life is made up of what happens to you, and 90% is how you react to that which occurs. He poses the idea that what sets humans apart from animals is self-awareness and the ability to choose how we respond to environmental and circumstantial stimuli.  He states that we do not have to be affected by internal or external conditioning. And that we alone have the power to decide how we respond to any given situation.

I strongly believe in the 90/10 rule.  If you choose to react to any circumstance with a positive mindset, then you make your own luck, and leave very little to chance.  If you allow your mind to feel sad and sorry for yourself, that is no one else’s fault but your own. You have to learn to change your mindset from complaining to praising, from moping to rejoicing, from self-pitying to self-congratulating, and from jealousy to admiration.

Be a “glass-half-full” person

I want to leave you with a quote to ponder and keep as a reminder that gratitude is an essential part of your winning mindset. It was my final answer in the 2005 Miss Universe pageant, which helped me claim the title, to the question, “what is the biggest challenge in your life?”

The biggest challenge in my life is always trying to think positively.  I consider myself the kind of person who sees the world as ‘glass half full’, instead of ‘half empty’.  And even though, sometimes in difficult times, it’s hard to look at life this way, I always try to maintain the positive side in life.

Yes, it can be a challenge to always keep a smile on your face and peace in your heart, but you should never stop trying to do that in spite of the difficulties you may be facing.

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”

~ Aesop



Read  the winner stories from the winners featured in my book “I AM WINNING”.