Being fearless is not lacking fear. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s having fears and choosing to go forward despite them. It’s a blend of persistence and courage that can be developed over time. There are mental, emotional and spiritual muscles that can be strengthened through repetition. They can, when flexed at the right time, catapult your life to the next level –whether it’s moving out on your own, taking a road trip or reconnecting with your true passions in life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to day grind and negative self-talk that convinces you you’re going to be an utter failure on the next endeavor, all the while forgetting how far you’ve come. Living fearlessly takes a lot of many things: asking for help from family and strangers, being open to learning with and from others, getting to know your reactions to life’s challenges, and developing new habits.
At some point, you flip from fearing what ‘might’ go wrong to fearing you’ll miss out on the growth that lies just beyond. By continually pushing against your boundaries, you learn to see the world, and yourself, from a perspective you may have never considered.
This happened for me this past spring while my future wife, Claire, and I planned our wedding. Claire, a diehard Dancing with the Stars fan, sweetly, but unequivocally, demanded that we dance at our wedding.
At first, I shot it down, for fear of the inevitable embarrassment. But then I realized I didn’t want to start this chapter of our lives with the narrative that there were certain things I wouldn’t do because of my insecurities surrounding my life in a wheelchair. All it took was a single lesson with an adaptive dance coach to help me see ways Claire and I could have fun with it. So we had that first dance and it turned out to be the most memorable part of the entire wedding. It really brought the house down.
So the next time life presents an opportunity to stretch one of your comfort zones, I hope you’ll take the chance to be fearless and surprise yourself.