And you don’t need to be either.
I saw a woman today wearing a shirt that said “FEARLESS”. And while I believe I understand the intent behind this shirt’s bold statement, it really just didn’t resonate with me. Why? Because I am not fearless. Not even close.
Every decision I make, both personally and professionally, involves a certain amount of fear. Every time I stretch myself out of my comfort zone, I feel it. Usually the amount of fear I feel is in direct proportion to how much I care about what I’m doing and how much skin I’ve got in the game.
And lately, I’ve been feeling ALL the fear — because I’m doing stuff I care about and taking big risks. In fact, the only times I’ve ever been fearless are times when I really didn’t give a shit about what I was doing and/or how it turned out. And while it may seem cool to not give a shit, the truth is I give shits … lots of them. And that’s totally valid. It’s okay to care so much that you get scared from time to time. How else can you live a big, bold life?
Fear, itself, isn’t the problem. It isn’t something I need to eradicate. There’s nothing wrong with me when I feel it. My goal isn’t to be fearless. It’s to build a life that’s so jam-packed with things I love that fear is inevitable. Because that’s how you know … fear is often a symptom of love.
So yes, sometimes I feel afraid. Sometimes feel absolutely terrified. Sometimes that fear momentarily cripples me. And you know what, that’s okay. As uncomfortable as fear is, I don’t want to stop feeling it — it reminds me of what’s important. It keeps me focused and accountable. And because of that, I’ve given myself permission to feel fear without shame. And so should you.
I won’t say that all my fears are valid — it takes a lot of work to separate the fears that keep me alive from the ones that keep me from living. But I’ve been doing it long enough to know that fear will always be in the car with me, the trick is learning to not let it drive.