What Does it mean to be Fearless?
Sometimes you meet somebody in life that just sticks out to you. Their energy, charisma and bold sense of self-acceptance make you feel almost taken aback.
These people go about their lives making quick, confident decisions. They're aware there is an element of risk involved in each decision, but they trust and believe they will reach their desired outcome either way!
They speak up, even when their statement is greeted by confused silence. Rather than recoiling back into their shell, they see that what they've said hasn't been fully digested and go on to offer further insight.
I've met people like this and have experienced a mixed sense of awe and admiration. "Don't they care what people think?" I'd wonder.
But the irony was, they were so authentic and sure of themselves that nobody questioned them for a second.
We don't see this when we are plucking up the courage to do something, as the fear of judgement masks everything.
Unfortunately, whilst we imagine that we become more emotionally mature as we grow, the majority of us tend to hold onto fear throughout life.
It becomes an unconscious part of our identity that we cling onto.
But, heres the thing. Things don't change for us unless we do.
As a member of the Female Entrepreneur Association, our founder Carrie Green talks a lot about being fearless. Last year, Carrie & her team conducted a "Fearless Challenge" which was I think a 5 day challenge aiming to expose the possibilities to women about how their lives would look if they approached everything without any fear. Overcoming fear, uncertainty and overwhelm were important elements within the challenge, and for me it certainly opened my eyes to how much I was allowing fear to hold me back in my life.
I believe Carrie & the FEA team may be hosting more "Fearless Challenge"s this year, so I highly recommend visiting her site: https://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/2020/11/your-most-fearless-self/
Whoever I've discussed the challenge with has said that despite sounding "a bit scary" it was a great idea.
However, some of my clients have reported that they felt a step-by-step method might work best for them, and they'd prefer to begin exploring fearlessness at their own pace.
With this in mind I've produced my Top 10 tips for embracing fearlessness at your own pace. One thing I do highly recommend if you are serious about making a change is that you share your plans with an accountability partner. This could be anyone, partner, a friend, sister: the important thing is you state what you plan to do before you do it.
In an article by Benjamin Hardy, I read that:
"Research studies have shown that publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of completing them. However, having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%."
So, you know. Tell someone.
Tip 1: Recognise where the fear is in your life! If we want to overcome it, we need to be really clear about when it comes up, the exact outcome we fear AND recognise when we are actively avoiding situations so we don't come across it. Yes, I see you!
Tip 2: Write down the fears and then underneath it write "I am committed to overcoming these fears and am truly interested in getting to the bottom of this". All you are doing is committing, but by being interested in the source of the challenge it takes emphasis away from fear.
Tip 3: Have you ever hidden your fears through embarrassment or further fear of judgement? By simply vocalising just one of your fears to a close friend, or even someone who isn't in your immediate circle really helps you to acknowledge it. You never know, they might suffer from the same thing and you could help each other!
Tip 4: Write a list of every possible outcome that may arise after doing "the thing". Think of all outcomes, good and bad. This really helps you to prepare for different scenarios. Working on acceptance, being OK with all outcomes helps you feel both prepared and calm about doing taking action.
Tip 5: It has to get worse before it gets better. If you are planning to do something that scares you, be prepared for the feelings of discomfort and struggle that will come up. Welcome them! See them as building blocks to becoming the fearless you. These feelings are what has held you back before: embrace them and triumph over them.
Tip 6: Find a role model. Remember when we discussed the people who just seem invincible at the beginning? Find people that demonstrate these characteristics and aim to embody the parts of them you admire.
Tip 7: Visualise "Future you". See how she/he tackles situations in a different way. Imagine doing something that terrifies you today, but with zero fear. Imagine yourself enjoying doing the thing that scares you. Imagine getting amazing praise and feedback from people who admire you for your courage. Do this regularly and get excited about taking steps towards becoming this person.
Tip 8: Embrace Rejection! Practicing experiencing rejection on your own terms regularly is a fantastic way to eliminate the fear around it. Doing this in an informal environment where you aren't going to be too anxious if rejection comes will get you accustomed to it. I have definitely mention this before on my podcast, but I think its so powerful I will share it again. Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, came up with the Coffee Challenge. The concept involves you ordering your coffee in a local coffee shop and asking for 10% off with no reasoning. It can feel icky, uncomfortable and strange but really all you are doing is AIMING to get somebody to say "No" to you (possibly with a perplexed, slightly freaked out side eye situation also....)
Tip 9: Explore a different perspective. Our fears do have a tendency to sound trivial to other people but feel utterly crippling to us in the moment. I get this. I've sat in meetings in silence afraid that if I spoke up I'd blush, and everyone would stare. A total waste of my time I see that now!
But look at the thing you are so worried about happening. Ask yourself, am I in control of this? For so many less fortunate people the things they fear are outside of their control, and are linked to disastrous outcomes. I do not say this to trivialise your own concerns, rather to offer a different perspective.
Scared of speaking up and "feeling stupid"? So what? In the scheme of things, what will happen after you feel stupid?
Tip 10: "Where focus goes, energy flows". Often our fears consume us, but unfortunately the more we think about something the more likely it is to occur. Try to identify when you are worrying and try to shift this to a statement of gratitude. For example: "I'm so scared about doing this presentation" becomes "Gosh, aren't I lucky that these people have given me some of their precious time to share my thoughts in this presentation. It will give me great experience so that I can continue to improve".
This isn't an exhaustive list but if you are looking to make progress in overcoming a fear, it's a good start.
Be patient with yourself. If for your whole life you've had a fear of flying for example, you're not going to banish this fear within a week.
But by being committed to making progress and being patient and kind to yourself, if you truly want it you can achieve it. Celebrate the milestones and see it as a journey!