“You are fearless” she emailed “fearless! The way you put yourself out there. I couldn’t’ do that”.
Thank you, I said, but please don’t mistake my work rate for an absence of fear! I love the perception of being fearless – but it’s far from the truth. The truth is this:
The first time I did live TV I was terrified. Terr. I. Fied.
The second time I was still terrified.
The third time, I was terrified minus one percentage point.
Out of about a thousand.
When my book got published and went “out there” into the world I was elated, excited but more than a little scared of what the reception might be to such a controversial wellness topic delivered in a pretty bullish style.
Each week when I press send on my column for the New Zealand Herald, knowing it will be read by tens of thousands – sometimes there is a little prickle of worry about how it might go down.
So, I’m absolutely not fearless despite how it may look. Here’s how it works for me:
I have fear. Of course I do.
But I also have a message to share, and my message is bigger than my fear.
It has to be.
My fear of not doing what I am meant to do
My fear of not serving the world in the way I know I am here for
Is bigger than my fear of failing
Is bigger than my fear of looking stupid.
My message of self-efficacy around women’s wellness and energy management
Is bigger than my fear of falling
My message of empowerment and 4 dimensional wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
Is bigger than my fear of not being perfect
I know I cannot fail because even if I help one woman live bigger. Reach higher. Expand into the woman she is meant to be with the life, business and body she deserves – I have done my job.
I know there really is nothing to fear.
I’m not scared of perfection.
Perfection will not stop me.
Because I know nothing is ever completely perfect. And I certainly am not!
So I will keep taking perfectly imperfect action forwards.
It’s important to be smart – fear has a purpose. It’s a basic biological drive within us to tell us there is something to pay attention to. However – it’s important to be able to tell the difference between Danger and Fear. If you mistake fear for danger you can become paralysed with inertia. Danger is REAL, it’s clear and present, it requires immediate action RIGHT NOW. As a rule we are very good at responding to danger. Fear however is a mental construct – it’s something we are IMAGINING in the FUTURE that is making us scared in the now. Fear is our imagination creating a scary scenario, which may, or more likely, may not ever come true. A common acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. We can get suckered in by this fake fear, and treat it like it’s real, and that’s when the problems start.
False Evidence Appearing Real can stop you playing big.
False Evidence Appearing Real stops you making your dreams real.
False Evidence Appearing Real can strangle a new business idea or expansion plan at birth.
Being able to tell the difference between Danger and Fear is mission critical because it opens up the gateway to appearing fearless. And when we choose fearlessness we seize the opportunity and seize the day.
Being fearless does not mean having no fear.
Being fearless means believing in something bigger than your fear.
So, if you are getting paralysed by fear – break it down. Take that fear and look at it. Examine it. Really analyse it. What are you truly scared of? Failing? Not being good enough? Not being perfect? Making a fool of yourself? Not making money? Not being the best? Not making it work?
Then mitigate your risks, as far as that’s possible. Be a smart and pragmatic entrepreneur. Prep thoroughly for the radio interview. Go meet with the bank manager. Hire the social media expert. Reduce the number of product lines. Fire the lackadaisical intern. Do what you need to do – from a place of power not fear. Step up and step into your business, driven by empowerment not fear.
Then – proceed. Recommit to your mission. Recommit to your vision. To succeed and be fearless is not to neutralise all fear. That cannot be done. Fear is hardwired into our operating system as a human being. Accept some fear is inevitable as part of the process of growth. Think of it as a fuel that helps you bring your A Game. Get clear. Decide. Choose. Choose that you are bringing something to the world that’s bigger than the worry that will accompany it.
How to live fearless? Know that your mission is bigger than your fear.