Leonard Kim is a very interesting guy and a personal friend. He is probably the only person who made it on Forbes’ 30 under 30 while over the age of 30.

It is Leonard’s transparency and self-deprecating humor coupled with gems of wisdom and ability to articulate brilliant business strategies that helped him go from sleeping on his grandmother’s couch at the age of 28 to dominating TedX just a few years later.

I met Leonard back in the Pokémon GO days, when I wrote an article about Pokémon strategies for local businesses—it went immediately viral on LinkedIn. It was my first validation that people may actually read my writing. In the midst of it, Leonard and I somehow connected.

And though Pokémon GO was a viral sensation that quickly fizzled, our friendship continued to bloom.

Leonard is a personal branding expert and digital marketing genius often featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Rockstars, etc.  What’s more, he just completed his first TEDx.

In his TEDx talk, Leonard brilliantly uses stock photos and cat memes while sharing his personal and painful story of giving up on life before stepping out of his comfort zone and doing something about it.

Over the past year, I’ve only seen Leonard compound his influence and success all the while being a personal friend and discussing his personal struggles as he continues to search deeper into his personal being and humanity.

This was very eye-opening for me. What I love about Leonard is that he is an authentic case study of obtaining influence and success while coming from nothing. He proves that anybody can be a success. Don’t get me wrong, he is brilliant in many areas, but he is also very human.

Leonard’s TEDx talk is awesome. I’ve watched a lot of TED Talks in my day, but I’ve never seen the crowd laugh so much.

And he talked about what he knows best, and something any human can relate to: fear.

Let’s get into it.

Fear

Fear is a double-edged sword. For many of us, fear can be a corroding thread woven into our lives causing stunted growth, stagnation, and if left untreated, it can evolve into resentment and anger.

But fear is also a healthy mechanism that has been embedded in the primal core of our brains as a result of—God knows how many—years of evolution. As we lost our sloping foreheads and developed cognitive abilities through the use of tools, fear has faithfully steered us away from impending doom, guiding us toward little successes.

Seriously, who wants to get mauled by a saber-toothed tiger? Or an Anzu—a chicken from hell?

It’s a survival mechanism. Not only that, but fear can be used as a tool, as a motivator—if leveraged appropriately.

Leonard Kim is an ideal—and humorous—case study on how one can successfully leverage their fears into achieving a lifestyle beyond their wildest dreams.

For Leonard, it began with his grandmother. At 28 years old, He was living on her couch after facing homelessness thanks to another startup going belly-up. And his grandmother, being from another era and another culture, didn’t have the sympathy most doting grandmothers would. Instead of milk and cookies, Leonard was served a cold dish of despair.

Leonard lived deeply in fear and failure. He feared failure but kept failing anyway. And as he finally hit a rock bottom he began contemplating suicide as a viable way to end the suffering. He felt utterly incapable and useless.

Then a someone told him, “Leonard, no one is absolutely useless. You can always serve as a bad example.” From this point of acceptance, Leonard began the foundation of building his personal brand.

He started writing. Furiously. But he was still afraid to publish his content. After a series of panic attacks, he finally hit a ‘fuck-it’ wall and clicked Publish.

Leonard was rewarded with the validation he’d been seeking his entire adult life. He finally found his path and was not only able to bear his soul and experiences to the world but has since inspired millions of people.

Leonard now uses his fear as an indicator that he’s onto something great. When it crops up, it’s no longer a red flag, but a green one.

Let your fears guide you:

1)    Recognize your fear.

2)    Face it—the scariest part.

3)    DSA: Do something about it.

It’s that simple. Acknowledge it. Face it. Kick ass. Repeat.

“Where You Are Today Is Exactly Where You’re Supposed To Be”

With so many six and seven-figure gurus saturating social media while capitalizing on their “storytelling” abilities, Leonard Kim is a real storyteller. He preaches from his heart and uses his brain to leverage his personal experience into helping others achieve their goals.

He is authentic, he is tangible, and he is raw.

Here’s the video of Leonard’s Tedx talk. Watch it. Embrace the three steps. Then go out there and do it.

But before all that, share this with your friends, family, and colleagues because they deserve nothing but the best in life.

The only way to get the best in life is to stop running from your fears, stop freezing up from your fears and to start recognizing, facing and DSA’ing it.

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Daniel Raaf
Dan Raaf is a digital marketer who focuses on unconventional niches: Models, Marijuana, and Hip-Hop. He collaborates with top influencers, growth hackers, and scrappy entrepreneurs while specializing in social media growth, monetization, and ROI-based strategies.