Sometimes we think about being fearless as being a magic key to unlocking our dreams and our potential. But I want to stand in defence of fear today. And I want to suggest that instead of being fearless we should be embracing how to be brave.
Because ultimately, being fearless is overrated. After all, if there’s no fear there is also no growth. So the sooner we can accept fear for what it is, the easier and more aligned our life becomes. And from that place, we’re able to actually take a transformational shift in our life by learning how to be brave and practising consistent courage, rather than fearlessness.
The underrated upside of fear
For all the bad wrap it gets, fear does have its upsides.
- It motivates us. Because we desire things, fear encourages us to get up every day and do things & be contributing members of society. After all, there is nothing like the fear of having to sleep in your car to motivate you to go to work.
- Fear can kick start transformation. A health scare, the death of a loved one, a job loss or a bad breakup all trigger fear in us. But, as painful as it is at the time, it is that same fear that triggers transformation. It gives us a reason to connect with what matters most to us. And it sets us up to take risks and do better & be better. It can literally shift us from being observers of our own lives to actually jumping in the driver’s seats and taking control!
- It builds resilience. And whilst resilient doesn’t sound exciting it’s the cornerstone of success and long term happiness in any & all areas of our life.
Harnessing fear for your benefit
Instead of wishing fear away and trying to (unsuccessfully) be fearless, I prefer to embrace Liz Gilbert’s approach. In Big Magic (one of my favourite books) she talks about fear as being in the car for every adventure. Gilbert (metaphorically) acknowledges fear and invites it to sit quietly in the back seat with clear boundaries that it can’t touch the radio, and definitely can’t drive.
This simple analogy highlights that anything worth doing will scare us. And once we accept that, we’re able to hold space for it and stop wasting energy trying to resist it and instead, focus our energy more constructively.
Embracing how to be brave
Now we’re in agreement that fear is inevitable, I have good news! And that is that there is an antidote to being fearless.
Yep, you heard me. We don’t need to eliminate fear, we just need to counteract it by learning how to be brave. Embracing bravery & harnessing courage is our superpower to step into the future we want. And here are my top tips on how to make bravery your middle name:
- Define your fears because once you realise the worst-case scenario is really not as bad as you think, you can stop stressing and start getting on with it
- Commit to taking massive action. Take one action every today towards what you want because like anything, learning how to be brave takes practice
- Go for progress, not perfection. We all suck when we start out and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. So accept that and get on with it. And remember other people judgment is more a reflection of them than you. You are awesome!
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