Welcome to “Fearless Living 101”. My name is Sarah Zink, and I’ll be your guide for this session.
What are you afraid of? For me, that’s an easy answer: Spiders. I can speak to you with little fear, I can sing in front of hundreds of people, I can volunteer to teach a classroom of 2nd graders, but if you put a spider into that equation, I’m toast.
But beyond that – what am I afraid of? Well, I’m afraid of not being loved, of not being respected. I’m afraid of not being good enough, smart enough, or professional enough.
What are YOU afraid of? Are you afraid of speaking in front of a group or putting forward your ideas? Are you afraid of interviewing for that new position in your company or of asking for a raise? Are you afraid of going back to school to get that degree you’ve always wanted or are you afraid of quitting your job, dipping into your retirement, and starting that business you just KNOW will work?
Many of us live in fear – mostly of those things that are intangible to us – things that touch our hearts, not our hands.
When I speak to you of fearless living, I’m not talking about reckless abandon – I’m talking about taking intelligent steps to make a change, to try something new, to reach outside your comfort zone.
There’s an old saying – “The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth”.
Robert Schuller once said, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I say, “What’s stopping you?”
I believe that in order for us to live, to truly LIVE, we must become fearless. We must make a choice to live. We must walk to the edge of the water – the edge of the ledge – the edge of the fear that keeps us from truly living. We must realize that our fears create a powerful wall that keeps us from becoming all we are able to be.
I believe that within each of us there exist two separate identities: the one that we feed and the one that we starve. Do you feed your “fearful” self, or do you feed your “fearless” self? Do you nurture your “fearless” self with whispered encouragement, or do you silently agree while your “fearful” self sets your course and direction in life?
The more you work to overcome your fears, the more fearless you will be. I have a friend who told me that at 20, she worried what EVERYONE thought about her. At 30, she worried about what her FAMILY thought of her, and at 40 she worried about what her BOSS thought of her. Finally, at 50 years old, she realized that she had lived the past 30 years worrying about what others thought of her, rather than what she thought of herself. She finally came to the realization that she didn’t care what ANYONE thought about her, that being true to herself was the most important thing. Please, don’t wait until you realize that you’ve been held captive by the fear of what others will think of you to make the choice to live fearlessly.
SO – Here are some action items you can take to move in the direction of your dreams (which usually, if not always, involve fearless living):
- Love Yourself. This moves far beyond the “loving ourselves for survival” thinking that many women substitute for real self-love. I mean: do you really like the person who’s in your skin? This isn’t narcissism; it’s a pure appreciation for ourselves. If you don’t like the person in your skin, then the ability to fuel your fearless living with positive affirmations is virtually impossible.
- Lose your Assumptions. It’s so easy to assume that people are watching what we do and judging us, or that nobody will want to help us achieve our dreams, etc. I believe we think this way because WE are always watching and judging others. When you change your perspective, you change your thinking, and you can change your life.
- Keep Asking: One lesson that took me years to learn was that when we approach life as a learner, we get what we need to succeed. ASK people to help you, to teach you, to mentor you, to give you the opportunity, to show you the way. If you don’t ask, the answer is ALWAYS “no”.
- Stop Making Excuses. You can always find a reason to NOT do something. You’re too old, too young, too fat, too __________________ (fill in the blank). We make excuses, and they feel so real, because they “give us permission” to avoid doing things we either want to do, or NEED to do. Excuses keep us from honoring our values, and they keep us from being true to ourselves.
I challenge you to make your “Fearless Living” list today.