It happened like this. I was appearing on a TV talk show in New York City in the early 1980s, when an attractive woman with a big smile walked up to me with a copy of MoneyLove and asked if I would sign it. She introduced herself as Dr. Susan Jeffers, a clinical psychologist practicing in New York, and said she loved the book, but especially loved a phrase I used during the interview, “Action Diminishes Fear.”
I had discovered in my own life that this simple statement is true. When we fear something, some outcome as a result of some action we should or could be taking, it can often immobilize us. The simple solution is to just move forward and take the action. Almost always, the fear either dramatically diminishes or disappears.
Susan and I lost touch for a few years, but reconnected in the mid 1980s when she and her British film producer husband, Mark Shelmerdine, joined The Inside Edge in Beverly Hills, the leadership support group and educational foundation I was a founding board member of, which met at 6:30 Tuesday mornings in the Beverly Hills Hotel. The three of us hung out a lot together, and became great friends. She told me when she was thinking of writing a book about fear, since this was a subject she worked with a lot of clients about. She said that at one point she had thought of asking my permission to use “Action Diminishes Fear” as the title, but then decided to come up with her own, which I think much better suited her and her book: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
That book even topped MoneyLove’s 2 million sales, and Susan asked me to do the introduction for her first audio tape version. As she was going on lots of book promotion tours, she also asked if I would replace her teaching a course on How to Flirt at The Learning Annex in Los Angeles. I did, though I doubt I was as good at it as she was. Susan, who died three years ago next month, was lovely, lively, charismatic and wise. Her laugh was contagious, and she was a hard worker who deserved all the success she had in her life, her writing, and her marriage.