Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety – Caroline Paul (#227)

“Tragedies are the result of a series of small forks in the road.”

– Caroline Paul

Caroline Paul (@carowriter) returns to the podcast by popular demand for a round 2 Q&A. (You can catch her first appearance here.)

Caroline is the author of four published books. Her latest is the New York Times bestseller The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure.

Once a young scaredy-cat, Caroline decided that fear got in the way of excitement, confidence, and self-reliance. She has since flown planes, climbed tall mountains, and fought fires as one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco.

In this episode, Caroline answers your most popular questions, including:

  • The best starting point for overcoming your fears
  • How to stay focused in the moment and not let your mind create anxiety and stress
  • Her biggest life-changing experiences
  • Coping strategies for dealing with life’s most difficult events
  • And much, much more!

I hope you enjoy this round 2 Q&A with Caroline Paul.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#227: Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety - Caroline Paul

Want to hear another conversation with Caroline Paul? — Listen to her first appearance on the podcast. In this episode, we discuss various types of fear and how to overcome them, using stories, habits, and tactics.(stream below or right-click here to download):

#151: How to Overcome Fear - Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Caroline Paul:

Twitter|| Gutsy Girl Club on Instagram | The Gutsy Girl Website

Show Notes

  • If you’re trying to change your relationship with fear, where do you start? [05:43]
  • Suggestions for people who work in the emergency medical community. [11:09]
  • What’s the best gift to get a firefighter? [17:19]
  • How does Caroline focus and stay rooted in the present? [19:39]
  • The Checklist Theory and coping strategies for exposure to horrific human events. [24:16]
  • Avoiding gender bias with kids. [27:44]
  • What adventures have been most life-changing for Caroline — and why? [32:41]
  • What is Caroline’s nighttime routine? [37:27]
  • Why did Caroline start flying, and what made her switch from Cessnas to paragliders to ultralights? [38:36]
  • While firefighting or adventuring, has Caroline ever been trapped or in need of rescue? [45:03]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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18 Replies to “Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety – Caroline Paul (#227)”

  1. Tim, can you please stop having sexists on your podcast? It’s pretty annoying to have an entire talk about “we as women often aren’t brave, we as women need to face fear”, we as women etc etc. Overall also inconsiderate and unprofessional. If any of your male guests were to talk like that and dismiss an entire half of humans, it would be the same. Reverse sexism is still sexism. Couldn’t listen through this one.

    1. Rob, now I can’t say 100% for sure but I don’t believe Caroline meant any harm or that what she was saying was sexist. As Tim said in the intro to the podcast, what she is saying is totally useful to all listeners regardless of gender. We live in a patriarchy where sexist messages of what society expects of women are everywhere you look. How women should look, what they can and can’t do in their careers, how they should act, speak etc. Her comments and the basis of her book are efforts to combat this rampant sexism in our culture that severely limits women in so many ways. Reverse sexism doesn’t exist in the same way reverse racism doesn’t exist. It’s awesome to see that you are eager to call out sexism, something both you and Caroline Paul have in common! But in this case she was not being sexist and instead trying to call out a misogynistic culture that teaches women/boys from a very young age to live a lot more fearfully than it teaches men/boys, as well as trying to empower women and teach EVERYONE super helpful tips to reduce fear 🙂

      1. Very well articulated response Lucas.

        My first resolution while listening to this podcast was to buy The Gutsy Girl for my daughters.

        The second was to listen to the first Caroline Paul podcast – what a wonderful person!

  2. This was a really good follow-up episode to Caroline’s first appearance; so I really appreciate you both putting it together. As a husband and father to two girls, I appreciate how Caroline outlined early in the episode how girls are conditioned against bravery so early in life; and I will make a conscious point to prevent that with my own. I look forward to reading her book, hopefully along with my family. Also, her story about finding the women and children in the burned house was really powerful. Lastly, the section on gift ideas for firefighters was a really nice surprise; hopefully, I will get an opportunity to put that knowledge to use for some of the local ones near me. Cheers!

  3. Very interesting, good stories and anecdotes but I think Caroline deviated from the main topic of Conquering fear and reducing anxiety, I wish the questions would have had helped her.

  4. Bravery is learned!

    Thank you Tim for bringing this Fierce Female to your show. Fifteen Percent and Rising (more women listeners- we need it!)

  5. Please, please, please, change the background of the newsletter ! It’s all black with a black font. Am I the only one to experiment it ?

    Btw, huge fan Tim, I discover your book 4HWW 2 weeks ago and it’s been a blast 🙂

  6. I have to say she’s wrong about female heroines in “G” rated movies. The last few Disney/Pixar movies have made a point of having strong female protagonists. Moana, Frozen, Tangled, and Brave. Not to mention the older ones like Mulan and Lion King. The cool thing about these movies is that the protagonist doesn’t go it alone, but often works men to problem solve.

  7. Great work from Caroline. A listen to the first podcast helped put things in context. My takeaway, acts of micro courage. I saw the stories surrounding sea kayaking as tangible examples of how to feel the fear, make a plan, and do it anyway.

  8. [Moderator: comments combined] Tim’s female podcast guests are amazing and demonstrate unwavering strength. They go against the grain of tradition and normal. Also, it’s healthy to witness women thrive above social barriers. Great men understand strong women and brave women understand each other. Thanks, Tim!


    You’re a remarkable woman. Thank you for applauding micro bravery. I appreciate your hard work, talent, and sacrifice. Thank you again for being so brave with your words. Keep enlightening us with your journey. You inspire me and I’ll probably be paragliding in Malibu, thanks to you.

    Helpful Links:

    Theory of a checklist: Safe surgery checklists: lessons learned from the aviation industry [Moderator: pdf link removed] Experimental amateur-built aircraft

    Experimental Aircraft defined by FAA:

    Dr. Stacey Smith research focuses on content patterns pertaining to gender and race on screen in film and TV (research and full reports – bottom of page)

    Hollywood Reporter 12/11/2013: GUEST COLUMN Geena Davis: “We Are Enculturating Kids to See Women and Girls as Not Taking Up Half the Space”

    (references Dr. Stacey Smith research)

    EAA.ORG aviation-communities-and-interests/ultralights

    Ultralight Flying Video


    The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots

    FAA Pilot Training & Testing

    Sit-On-Top Kayaks

    Rolling: Evil Exercise or Reliable Rescue? “no hocus pocus, magic beans or philosopher’s stone required to learn to roll a kayak”

    Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, Wikipedia

    Flight Tour of Mount McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska

    Crevasse rescue – Wikipedia

    How to Build a T-Slot Or Deadman Anchor

  9. Hi Tim– speaking of fear– Can you advise someone with an extreme food phobia (fish)? I have searched the site and books and haven’t seen it yet.. I seem to remember you have thoughts on the subject. Love the work…Thanks.

  10. Hi Tim, thank you for creating and maintaining such a high-quality podcast. I’m a 29-year old woman living in SF (from FL originally, also a Tiger) and I listen to the podcast regularly. I lean heavily on it for understanding clear ways to improve my life. However, I often find the podcast alienating as a woman. Although you do interview women, the majority of book and philosophy references in your podcasts cite male thinkers. I have heard the names of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Marc Andreessen, and Scott Adams so often that I’m not sure if you or your guests can readily reference any female thinkers. As a result, I find myself implementing lifestyle tips for men by men. I represent a small portion of your audience– most of your listeners are men. But isn’t that even more reason to expose us to diverse thought?

  11. Hey Tim,

    I have a suggestion for a topic/interview: mercury and/or fluoride. Many people who are suffering from diseases and ailments are being exposed to mercury through mercury amalgams (dental fillings), high food chain fish such as tuna and swordfish, and contamination from random industries. The effects can be very wide-ranging as it infiltrates your cells and impacts your digestive, endocrine, neurological systems, etc. slowly over time. In conjunction with the use of fluoride, these are very controversial topics in dentistry but many people with a lifetime full of metal in their mouth and chronic ailments would benefit from hearing from someone well versed in the field. Off hand it seems as though Dr. Hyman is the most reputable doctor that would be worth interviewing. Best of luck.

  12. Love love love Caroline. Agree with her whole philosophy on life and am introducing my daughters to her book. Have you considered Steve Backshall as a guest? Amazing adventurer and incredible language learner.