001: Facing Your Fears with Corey Wilks, Psy.D, Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Executive Coach

Corey Wilks - headshot

We all have value to give to the world but most of us spend our entire lives unable to give that value. A large reason for that is fear standing in our way. It’s human to have fear pop up, especially when we are trying something new or putting ourselves or our work out into the universe. But what happens when we experience fear in the absence of real danger? It can lead us to live small lives where we don’t experience our fullest potential. 

So, how do we tackle our fears? Podcast guest, Corey Wilks, Psy.D, is here to help us. Corey walks us through the four horsemen of fear – failure, ridicule, uncertainty, and success. He explains how these fears may show up in us, and how to protect ourselves from them. Corey also shares a time when he faced a big career setback – losing his job abruptly with 30 days notice and three paychecks left. He describes how he reacted, the process he went through, and how he got to where he is today.

Key Highlights:
  • Fear is adaptive because a lot of times it’s a response to danger. The issue is when we experience fear in the absence of danger. We’re confusing fear with danger.
  • Sometimes fears popping up can be a good thing because it tells you you’re on the right path. Ask yourself – how can I get these under control enough so I can do the work that matters?
  • The four horsemen of fear are:
  • Failure – not good enough, a new endeavor won’t work, etc.
  • Ridicule (Rejection) – how will other people respond to the “thing”?
  • Uncertainty – overanalyze to the point of no decision
  • Success – believe you don’t deserve success and can show up as perfectionism or imposter syndrome. You can self-sabotage to prevent you from crossing that threshold.
  • Fear inoculation (Corey’s thought experiment):
  • Identify your fear
  • Assume your fear comes true – What happens first? What happens next? How do you recover?
  • What can you learn? What contributed? What did you do/not do? How do you move beyond it?
  • We fear the unknown. Making the unknown, knowable, robs fear of its power. Even if the worst-case scenario happens, you know how to recover, so you don’t have a need to avoid the fear.
  • Look at your own self-sabotaging behaviors – do you overcomplicate things? Overtinker?
Links Mentioned:

The Four Horsemen of Fear

The Man in the Arena Speech by Theodore Roosevelt 

Corey’s Website: 

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Full Bio:

Dr. Corey Wilks is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Executive Coach, writer, entrepreneur, and invited contributor for Psychology Today with over 15 years of psychological experience.

He grew up in rural Appalachia and went to Marshall University, where he earned his Psy.D.

Throughout his doctoral training and after getting licensed, he worked as a Behavioral Health Provider in integrated primary care—predominately working with addiction recovery programs.

After seeing so many people—patients, friends, and family—struggle to build their life around doing meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfilled them, he started writing online to help people get more out of life through understanding and applying practical concepts from psychology.

In 2020, he became an Executive Coach through the College of Executive Coaching to make the mental shift away from the pathology model of clinical psychology and toward the wellness model of positive psychology and started offering personal and executive coaching services.

Now, he coaches entrepreneurs, content creators, and other driven individuals, and creates content to help people be more intentional with how they live, work, and create.His latest project is Intentional Life Design, a 5-week live cohort-based course focused on helping people overcome limiting beliefs, think bigger, and do work that matters.