Friday, August 31, 2012

On Becoming Fearless

“It's about a girl who is on the cusp of becoming someone.. A girl who may not know what she wants right now, and she may not know who she is right now, but who deserves the chance to find out.”

This past year has been one of great lessons, growth and self discovery in all things life, work and love. I can honestly say that I have learned more in the one year I have been in the "working world" than I ever did in college. I have learned more about what I like, what I don't like and the type of life I want to live and the type of person I want to live it with. And in my mind, that's all we can hope for. To keep making sure that each successive year is better than the last and that we're leading the life, making the memories, having the impact and leaving a legacy we would be proud to tell our future children of.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

This has become a renewed focus for me. In the past year I started a new chapter of my life and when I read the first draft of my first chapter, I didn't like the story I read. It read a little like this, "Young college graduate gets a stellar job, throws herself into work, neglects friendships, loses any sort of interests outside of work, and loses herself in a relationship."

Don't get me wrong, in the past year I have loved and I have lost, I have laughed and I have cried, and I have discovered passions and things I detest. I have said good-bye to old friend and made new friends, and said good-bye to loved ones and welcomed new ones into the world. But all of these experiences and all of these lessons had me looking for more, something was missing, some part of me was asleep, scared, absent. In my search for this part of me after a recent breakup I discovered a book. This book had some great messages, and I would like to take the time to share them with you in a hope that you may find them enlightening as well.

How Fear Limits Us (Women)
I have forever worried too much about what other people have thought, how I would be perceived, if I would be good enough, and being the peace keeper in a broken family. And a lot of my insecurities stemmed from my lack of confidence and for wanting to please the male figures in my life: a strong-handed father, a vocal and iron-gripped coach, strong male teachers or bosses. This book has helped me to identify the "why" so I can recognize when I am doing it and the "how" so I can overcome the obstacles to live a more fearless life.

The "Why"
"... there are many other times we sacrifice our personal truth to go along, be approved of, or just plain be "nice." Because despite all our advances, there's still a huge premium on women being "accommodating" and "team players" who don't "rock the boat.""

"To prevent others from shutting us down, we do it for them. Trapped by our own fears, we then pretend that we're incapable of having what we want, forever waiting for others to give us permission to start living."

Understanding and Accepting the Fear: Fearlessness is about getting up one more time than we fall down. The more comfortable we are with the possibility of falling down, the less worried we are of what people will think if and when we do, the less judgemental of ourselves we are every time we make a mistake, the more fearless we will be and the easier our journey will become.

So "Step 1" is understanding why I fear the things I do. Society has raised us to be the peace keepers, the accommodating ones, the meek and the mild while the men steam roll ahead and are praised for their brazen ways. The deep seeded fear of being left out, the animalistic fear that survival will be impossible outside the tribe has led us to be forever waiting for others (men) to give us the permission to start living and start living fearlessly.

"Step 2" is accepting and acknowledging the fear, and deciding to live life fearlessly anyway. So, I accept and acknowledge that I will fall down, that I will make mistakes, and that I will not be able to be perfect at everything. But by acknowledging it I am free to live, and to try and to fall fearlessly. And this is a step in the right direction.