Fear Is My Homeboy: How to Slay Doubt, Boss Up, and Succeed on Your Own Terms

Fear Is My Homeboy: How to Slay Doubt, Boss Up, and Succeed on Your Own Terms

by Judi Holler


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If you love empowering non-fiction books like "You are a Badass" by Jen Sincero, "Girl Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis, or "5-Second Rule" by Mel Robbins you'll love Fear Is My Homeboy.

In Fear Is My Homeboy, author Judi Holler has a message: It’s time to stop letting fear boss you around so you can start leveling up personally and professionally. This is a book for people who believe that they deserve more. Holler focuses on helping the reader shut down self-doubt so they can start taking action.  After reading this book Judi promises that you will get braver, bolder, and more confident in your natural-born badassery. 

Inspired by her improv theatre background at The Second City Training Center’s Conservatory in Chicago and building off her decade of speaking, sales, and marketing experience, in addition to her current role as a business owner, Holler’s book is your own personal life coach and cheerleader.  In it she shares valuable, actionable advice on how to accept—and even embrace—fear, so readers can start to live more balanced, successful, and fulfilling lives.  Holler’s mission: to stop fear from stealing your opportunities so you can start connecting in powerful and profitable ways.

If you enjoyed the book then you'll love Judi's weekly Podcast:  The FearBoss Show!  You can listen in and subscribe on iTunes and Spotify to keep the fear party going!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626346260
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Pages: 151
Sales rank: 106,064
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Judi Holler is a professionally trained improviser and alumni of The Second City Training Center's Conservatory Program in Chicago, Illinois. Judi started working in the hospitality industry at the age of thirteen and has spent the last fifteen years working in the convention + meetings industry, specializing in sales + marketing for companies like Marriott, Omni, and Starwood Hotels before starting her company, HOLLA! Productions in 2013. Judi is a past president of Meeting Professionals International, Chicago Area Chapter, and was named one of the 40 under 40 in the meetings industry by Connect magazine in 2015. 

Judi was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent ten years living in Chicago, studying improv by night and growing her career by day. Judi now resides in Hudson, Ohio, with her husband, Scott.

Read an Excerpt


Love Yo'self

"She remembered who she was and the game changed."


Why do we wait for the bottom to drop out before we decide to take care of ourselves? Why do we wait for the diagnosis, the failed marriage, the lost job, the accident, the destroyed friendship, or the illness to wake up to what's really going on in our lives?

Guilt, self-doubt, and fear make you stick to your same ol' patterns because it's just easier that way. How could you possibly put yourself first when there are so many people that need you and depend on you? You are slammed, and stressed out, and running on all cylinders. You are taking care of kids, family, and/or a partner, plus trying to keep it together at work so you can earn that paycheck — all while trying to keep it together at home with a full fridge, clean toilets, and food on the table in time for dinner. By the time all that is done, who ends up last on your list? You. We're constantly putting ourselves last, every single time.

If you can't figure out how to love yourself first, you will never be able to make fear your homeboy. It's the #1 requirement; because if you don't love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? When you love yourself more than anything, fear doesn't stand a chance because no matter what happens — good, bad, or ugly — you know you will be okay. Fear can't stand that. It hates when you love yourself because when you do, you become the boss, not fear.

Nothing Works Unless You Do

This idea is so damn juicy and important I should write it again:

Nothing works unless you do!

Yes, that is written in I'm-hollering-at-you-girl font on purpose. Why? Because sometimes we need to hear something loud and clear, multiple times, so it really sinks in. You are not a machine; you are a human being. If you aren't working, nothing else will. If you are miserable personally, it's going to affect you professionally. And if you are miserable professionally, it's going to affect you at home. The only constant in both scenarios is you.

This means that you have an incredible opportunity in front of you to flip the script. See, when you love and take care of yourself first, before you go take care of everybody else's to-do list (hello, email!), you will make a powerful shift mentally and physically, which will then set in motion a chain reaction of badassery. This means you will finally start getting done the things you want to. Maybe it's the weight you want to lose, or the nasty habit you need to quit, or the vacation you want to plan, or the certification you have got to start studying for.

A better life can be yours as soon as you are ready to start leveling up and change the soundtrack in your head to stop playing the "easy for her to say" song and start playing the "I deserve it" song.

World's Worst Boss

We are such jerks to ourselves, especially women. I mean would you ever work for someone who talked to you the way you talk to yourself? If the words in your head that you tell yourself about yourself were put on a billboard, would you be proud or embarrassed? The inner mean girl we all have is a total beeeyotch, and she needs to be shut down. Immediately. It's time to stop letting the freeloaders — things like anxiety, stress, fear, jealousy, and hate, which aren't paying any rent — live in your head any longer. If it doesn't serve you, if it keeps you stuck, if it makes you sick, it's time to kick them out.

Just image how life would change for you if you booted out these negative freeloaders and invited in more magical things like vulnerability, self-love, play, positivity, and trust; these things not only pay the rent on time — which is made in big deposits of health, energy, focus, confidence, and a sense of peace — but they also pay in advance for months that haven't even happened yet!

See, when you love yourself, you have no time for the freeloaders who pay no rent because you realize they are only there to trick you into believing you are not ready, worthy, or enough. It's time to kick them to the curb. You are enough, you were born ready, and you have more power than you realize.

You are enough, you were born ready, and you have more power than you realize.

No One Else Can Be You. This Is Your Power!

We all have moments when we quit on ourselves. In these moments we over-think, doubt ourselves, and decide that we are not good enough or worthy enough. For you, maybe it's the certification you "don't have time" to study for, the mammogram you keep putting off, the date you're not going on, the promotion you're not going for, the business you're not starting, or the bad habit you just can't seem to quit.

I wonder, What badass doors are you not opening because fear has you in a choke hold? What could the world possibly be missing out on because you are too afraid to level up?

I know a thing or two about being afraid to open doors.

Not a lot of people know that the very first time I signed up for improv classes at the Second City Training Center Conservatory in Chicago, I never even went. I paid the nonrefundable fee for the entire semester, left my apartment in Lincoln Park, and walked all the way to the training facility in Old Town. I even went into the building, up the stairs, down the hallway, and stood in front of my classroom door. But I never went in.

People saw me standing there and asked if I was lost or if I needed help. I didn't want to tell them I was afraid, so I lied. I made up stuff like "My bad, I'm lost. Wrong room. Wrong class. Wrong day." I ran out of there with my tail between my legs.

Fear won that day. I was so stuck inside my head. I remember thinking, I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not funny enough. Oh, and I was the very "ancient" thirty years old at the time, so the main soundtrack in my head was: I'm too old. It's too late. I'm too old. It's too late. I assumed all these "kids" were trying to be on Saturday Night Live; what was I thinking?

So I quit; I gave up. And I regretted that decision for a long time.

Thank goodness I made a different choice about a year later. I signed up again for those classes at the Second City Training Center Conservatory, paid that nonrefundable fee again, and once again left my apartment in Lincoln Park and walked to the training facility in Old Town. I took a deep breath and went back into that building, walked up the stairs, down the hallway, and stood in front of my classroom door — but this time, this time I opened the door. The best part? When I opened that door, I saw people just like me. I even saw people older than me, like twenty years older. I'll never forget how it felt to prove that freeloader in my head wrong, the one telling me that I was "too old." Because right there in front of me was proof that I wasn't.

Opening that door, choosing courage over comfort, literally opened the door to the rest of my life — and certainly to my life as I now know it.

Improv at the Second City Training Center Conservatory really became my fear church, my fear yoga. It was where I went to get zen with my fear, by which I mean it's where I found peace with my fear. Because, you see, the more I did the scary thing onstage five, six, seven nights a week at the Second City Training Center Conservatory, the more I started to get the guts to do the scary thing on the stage of my life five, six, seven days a week. I started to get brave and bold and confident, and this confidence allowed me to open incredible doors, both personally and professionally.

At the time, I was working full-time in sales and marketing by day and studying improv at night. I started watching the things I was learning at the Second City Training Center Conservatory change the game for me onstage, so I thought: Why not try out some of these improv ideas at work and in my professional life? So I did! And doing this taught me that there is tremendous power in being brave enough to be exactly who you are.

No one else can be you. Only you can be you — this is your power. No one else does it your way. No one else was born with your special gifts and talents. No one else looks like you, walks like you, talks like you, eats like you, writes like you, dances like you, thinks like you, laughs like you.

No one else is you — this is your power.

When you really start trusting and believing that what you have is good enough, fear doesn't stand a chance.


When you do improv, although you have to trust in your fellow improvisers onstage, you mostly have to trust in yourself. You have to trust that you bring a unique perspective to the stage that no one else has. That your story, physicality, ideas, and sense of humor are totally unique to you. This works in improv and in life, because we need, want, and crave that kind of variety in this world.

One of the first things I did to unlock my power was to start trusting myself. I mean really trusting myself. I had to trust that I am good enough and that what I have to offer matters. I started doing this in job interviews by asking more questions, on sales calls by not freaking out when things got quiet, in presentations by telling more authentic stories, around the board table by making others look good, with my senior leadership by asking for resources I needed, and even while dating by speaking up when I wasn't interested. All of this leads to less regret from day to day. I believe that what we really regret is our failure to speak up and protect our values when we have the chance to.

I started speaking up and asking for what I really wanted, which helped me sleep better at night and taught me the power of owning it. See, we need you, not a fake version of what you think we want you to be. You were born to stand out in this sit-down world; and the moment you realize that trust is the gateway drug to self-love, you step into your power.

We need you, not a fake version of what you think we want you to be.


If you think of your work environment and industry right now, who are the pink flamingos? The people who stand out. The ones who seem to have an aura, an energy, and a vibe that you can't help but notice. The people who make you feel like you're the only one in the room when they talk with you. Mentally pause here, grab a pen and notebook, and write a list. Once you've gotten a few names down on paper, do you notice any patterns? Do they have anything in common? Are they doing any similar things?

The pink flamingos in your industry and in your company aren't only extroverts, or leaders, or a certain age. They aren't the ones with the most experience. They are the ones who have confidence and compassion, which fuel an energy you can't help but notice.

When you trust yourself and find power in your unique talents and perspectives, you'll become an example for others. You'll be a pink flamingo who refuses to let fear hold you back from finding ways to stand out among the flocks and flocks of boring ol' pigeons in this world.

It can be inspiring to watch someone be exactly who they are, without offering apologies for it. Growing up, I was obsessed with pink flamingos. I had a pink flamingo phone, a pink flamingo clock, pink flamingo bedding, pink flamingo stuffed animals, a pink flamingo calendar, pink flamingo school supplies. It was a pink flamingo explosion in my room and life. I'm not sure where this obsession came from exactly. Maybe it's because I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, in the middle of the American Midwest, and pink flamingos were rare, beautiful creatures I only got to see at the zoo.

Then I got to travel to Florida with my grade school BFF and her family, and got to see my first-ever pink flamingo in real life. Oh. My. God. My little teenage self was in awe. I remember standing against the railing looking at these beautiful pink birds, thinking, Look at these flamingos, all tall and elegant and hot pink. They don't look like any of the other birds, and they don't seem to give one single "F" about it.

It can be inspiring to watch someone be exactly who they are, without offering apologies for it.

Even now, I love what flamingos symbolize. They aren't afraid to stand tall, wear color, or stand out. They were born to stand out. So were you.

When we watch you truly be yourself, you become the pink flamingo in the room for us, and you will inspire others to want to do the same. We need you to give us more of who you are. We need you to be brave enough to love yourself. And we need you to have the courage to share your gifts with us.

Share the Love

Once you start loving yourself, you may feel vulnerable. However, it's a shortlived paradox. The world loves to tell you that loving yourself is conceited and self-absorbed. Think about it. You never hear anyone say things like "I woke up today, and I love myself so damn much." I mean, only a self-absorbed weirdo would say something so selfish and boastful, right?

Hell to the no!

Take, for example, Alex Toussaint, a Peloton instructor who is one of my favorite examples of positive self-love. He embraces this self-love and shares it with thousands of people every day. Peloton is a spin bike fitness craze that I'm 100 percent obsessed with. It's like having an indoor cycling studio in your house. I always say it's kind of like SoulCycle in your living room. Classes are live-streamed from their NYC studio or you can take them on demand. It's not only a killer workout, it's inspiring, motivational, and the instructors become like family.

In his classes, Alex says things like "Oh man, I feel so damn good today. I woke up today, and I love myself so damn much," and then he continues to sprinkle more "I love myself" comments into the ride.

When I first heard Alex do this during one of my rides, I found it refreshing and inspiring. It's uplifting to listen to someone so bravely tell thousands of riders all over the world how much he loves himself. He shows each of his students that it's okay to love yourself, and that when you do you will inspire others who want to embrace their own self-love and positivity to do the same.

Self-love is contagious, just like yawns and laughs are. You can't help but be in a good mood when you are around people who love themselves. Just like you can't stop laughing when someone else can't stop laughing. Self-love shifts focus from a fear-based "everything is going wrong" to a faith-based "everything is just as it should be."

There Is Nothing to Fix

Why is it that every time we look in the mirror we see only what needs to be fixed? We obsess over that new wrinkle, or the gray hairs that seem to come out of nowhere, or the fact that our nose isn't smaller, or that our eyebrows are too thin, or that our eyes aren't blue. We go through this mental checklist comparing ourselves to all the bullsh*t airbrushing we see online in social media. This makes you feel like crap. Like you aren't good enough, skinny enough, rich enough, smart enough, busy enough, or loved enough.

None of these things matter, and most of it is Photoshopped anyway. People aren't posting their crappy day or their cellulite or their bloated belly. In most cases, you are seeing only the highlight reel of someone else's life.

I want you to look into the mirror and start seeing your own highlight reel — with YOU being the highlight. I mean, look at you ... you are alive! Your heart pumps blood through your body and beats more than one hundred thousand times a day so that you can walk around this beautiful earth. You have cells and molecules and organs and all kinds of other sciency stuff that allows you to travel, earn money, fall in love, eat good food, laugh, read this book right now, and oh yeah ... breathe! I mean, we can't forget about that!

One simple shift I made to help me remember how good I have it is when I look in the mirror, instead of being upset about my reflection or finding my flaws, I think about how there is someone my age somewhere right now in a hospital on life support or very sick. Thinking of this unfortunate person reminds me that I'm not broken or ill. I'm here, alive — very much alive — healthy, and happy. These things are such a privilege. There is nothing to fix. There are only things to be grateful for.

There is nothing to fix. There are only things to be grateful for.


Do you ever have that feeling that one day everyone will discover that you are really a fraud? That you don't actually deserve your big job and even bigger salary? That you really have zero clue about what you're doing?

Hello, imposter syndrome. Welcome to the fear party. According to an article in Harvard Business Review:

Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. "Imposters" suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. They seem unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field. High achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so imposter syndrome doesn't equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence. In fact, some researchers have linked it with perfectionism, especially in women and among academics.


Excerpted from "Fear is My Homeboy"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Judi Holler.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Love Yo'self 7

Chapter 2 The Universe Has Your Back 27

Chapter 3 Balanced By Design 49

Chapter 4 Becoming The Ceo Of You 71

Chapter 5 Find Your Tribe And Love Them Hard 93

Chapter 6 The Magic Of Momentum 115

Chapter 7 Your Homeboy, Fear 131

Shameless Plug 147

Acknowledgments 149

About The Author 153

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