Fearless ≠ No fear
Fearless = Not constrained by fear
Fear is a survival mechanism. We need fear. Fear is an evolutionary force that pushes you forward. It’s denying fear that holds us back. At its root, fear often revolves around the possibility of losing something we value. That may be something we already have or something that we aspire to.
Denying fear grows its influence
You can come up with a million valid reasons why your fear of public speaking has merit. We’ve all had those moments. But you can’t change the fact that you understand and care enough about an issue to have a unique contribution to the discussion that only you can make.
Acknowledging and accepting our fears is the only way past them
There is no going around fear—only through it. You don’t want to look silly saying that thing. What if you missed something obvious? Well, there’s a trick for that.
Step back and think about your fear. Go deep. Explore all the very worst possible outcomes. If your point is moot because of something you hadn’t considered, will you be ostracized? Ridiculed? Really? If that’s the case, then maybe you have bigger concerns. Is the worst possible outcome really that bad once you name it? Worse than the irony of guaranteeing failure by not trying at all? This technique was adapted from The Tools.
Defining our fears is the diametric counter to denial
It won’t take you long to notice that explicitly defining your fears is the foil to denial. Examining your fears and their potential impact shrinks them. In one of our September workshops, we learned how having an intentional vision and value system to guide your career, and life, is a gamechanger. If you hold a fear up to your vision and values, you’ll realize that one event is unlikely to derail your development. Often, the worst possible outcome is the guaranteed failure of letting your fear hold you back from trying.
Brave ≠ Pedal to the floor of the bulldozer with eyes squeezed shut
Brave = Intentional approach, eyes wide open
Stepping into your fear is brave. Stepping into your fear means that you understand the risks. You are aware of and prepared for risks. And you know that in any unfamiliar situation, there are unknown unknowns. There’s only so much prep before analysis paralysis and diminishing returns. Being brave is moving forward with intent. And intention is yours to cultivate.
Brave is how you approach the unfamiliar
The situations that you cannot know for sure if it’ll work, but you do know that you’re more than likely to encounter something that you couldn’t have prepared for. Sometimes the first unknown in ‘unknown unknowns’ is far worse for our psyche than the second, the actual, unknown. A mentor once explained that they felt comfortable in unfamiliar situations because they knew that they made it through, and benefited from, 100 other unfamiliar situations just to get to that point.
Being fearless and being brave are how you grow forward
They say that if you are not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. Fearless and brave don’t make growth easy. Growth is flawed executions and awkward conversations.
Being fearless and brave make growth purposeful
They are the safety goggles that ensure you’ll always walk away from the experiment having learned something. Even if it wasn’t what you set out to achieve. And sometimes, that’s way more valuable than you ever could have imagined. But you’ll never know, if you don’t put on the goggles and give it a go. Being fearless and brave is the confidence to embrace discomfort because you know the lab rules and you’re capable of handling change like the growth opportunity it is.
One of the few things in life that you truly can control is your reaction
Come to think of it, that’s probably the only thing that you can control. If you do the work. Being fearless and brave in your career and your life is about intention and practical preparation. The confidence to know that if you made it this far, you can make it one step farther. If you put in the personal development work to bake fearless bravery into your approach, then you can confront the unfamiliar and the unexpected. You can confront change with confidence. From the train delays to the first contribution to a meeting on your new team to asking for that raise.
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