Oprah Winfrey once said… I have a lot of things to prove to myself, one is that I can live my life fearlessly.
These words resonate with me. These words are words for me to live by. But first, I think I should explain what living fearlessly means to me. It is not living without fear, it is being fearful but not being held back by fear, it is putting myself out there, stretching my levels of comfort and doing something anyway, regardless of how fearful I am. Facing fear head on and conquering it.
Learning to live fearlessly is something I’ve kind of been forced to do during the course of my adult life and the older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve gotten at living fearlessly and facing my fears.
As a young women, I faced fear when I left an abusive relationship and got divorced at 26. But being fearless and knowing what I stood to gain encouraged me to face adversity and start over. I’d failed at a miserable marriage but I had a chance to create the life I wanted to lead.
At 29 I moved half way across the country, leaving behind my family and friends, for a man I loved. I refused to give into fear and I was determined to take a chance. I was determined to be fearless and to face the consequences of that risk I decided to take.
At 30 I had my first miscarriage. What followed was 7 long years of being tested and facing fears and fearlessly and determinedly sticking to the goal I had set out to achieve. Irrespective of how scary that was and at times it was terrifying. You see, I used to have a terrible fear of needles, doctors and medical procedures. But I knew if I was to achieve my goal of becoming a mother, I’d need to face my fears, I’d need to have courage and I’d need to be fearless. I pushed myself right out of my comfort zones and got it done.
My infertility journey had some odd side effects. I became very aware of my own mortality with each miscarriage, how easy life could slip through our fingers and as a result I developed a number of odd fears and phobia’s. One of which was an intense fear of flying.
Do you know how I got over it? Yip. I faced it. Repeatedly. Even though each time I had to book a flight, get on a plane or even drive near the airport, my heart would race, my palms would sweat and I’d feel I was going to faint from hyperventilating. I kept standing in front of that fear and pushing myself through it, until eventually I was able to overcome it.
Our adoption journey was also fraught with fear. But I had a goal, I wanted to be a mother and no amount of fear was going to stand in my way. I was determined to live fearlessly in spite of fear.
Agreeing to be and then actually being a guest speaker at Saturday’s #JoziMeetUp… that was me, living fearlessly. Every time I’ve done a TV or radio interview, that’s me being fearless in the face of fear, because I am scared, I am fearful of trying and failing, of making a fool of myself.
So here are my tips for learning to live fearlessly:
- Set a (realistic) goal for yourself and then work tirelessly at achieving that goal, no matter how scary it may be.
- Look for opportunities that could bring you closer to achieving your goal, embrace all opportunities, even the scary ones, there is such an amazing sense of achievement, a high if you will, from facing down a fear and succeeding.
- Don’t be scared to fail, we all fail sometimes, but there is growth to be had in failure.
- Challenge yourself – by facing your fears, look for situations that make you fearful and then work towards overcoming them, that’s what I did with my abnormal fear of flying, I just kept doing it till I wasn’t frightened anymore.
- Seek support. Find people you trust, who are honest with you and who will guide and advise you. I was given a great opportunity for a guest speaking gig again this week and I was able to turn to my support structure for honest feedback and encouragement in facing my fear.
- Action! The greatest cure for fear is facing fear and achieving your goals in the process. Keep trying, never give up. Be determined. And just keep on keeping on.
And lastly… my other motto in life… that feeds into this one… never ever take yourself too seriously!
Do you believe in living fearlessly? What are your tips for facing fear?