How to Be Fearless and Do What You Want
Before I started freelancing full time, I worked a regular job in a regular office. It wasn't a bad job as jobs go, but it definitely wasn't the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
I had dreams of being a writer and had even enjoyed some success moonlighting as a freelance copywriter part-time. But doing it part-time was easy. I still had the security and steady paycheck that my regular job offered and if a writing job fell through or someone decided not to pay, it was no big deal. (See also: How to Get a Life: Consider the Worst Case Scenario)
The problem was, I didn't want that regular job anymore. I wanted to write full-time, and no matter how hard I tried to ignore that fact, the reality was seriously weighing me down. I needed to make a choice. And it scared the hell out of me. Thankfully, I had friends and family who convinced me to just close my eyes and take the leap, and I'm now so glad that I did.
But it also made me realize just how much "life" I had been missing because I was too afraid to let go of my safety net. Being fearless is having the confidence to believe that you can really succeed.
Of course, just telling you to be fearless is easy — it's the actual doing that poses the challenge. Here's how to do it.
Take Baby Steps
Becoming fearless is like adopting any other trait or skill — it takes practice. And the more you succeed, the easier being fearless will become.
Use this logic to your advantage by taking small steps. That is, exercise your fearless muscle in small ways that push the envelope just a little, but not too much.
If speaking in front of large groups is your weakness, for example, then make it a point to offer a suggestion at your next staff meeting or volunteer to speak at your kid's school on career day. It's not a huge move, but it does force you to step ever so slightly outside your comfort zone, and it gives you a solid success that you can build upon.
Yes, really — exercise and stay fit. It's much easier to summon up some boldness when you feel strong and capable. Not so easy, on the other hand, when your body is sluggish or weak.
As within, so without.
Start (subject to your doctor's consent, of course) with 10 minutes of yoga in the morning or take a walk in the evening before you call it a day. Start a regimen of push-ups or sit-ups, and then relish the definition that develops in your abs and your arms.
Encourage yourself to move faster, jump higher, and stretch farther, and give yourself major props for how much more fit you've become.
And then use that strength to fuel your fearlessness.
Dress the Part
There is a reason that the experts tell you to wear a "power suit" or a red tie to an important meeting — certain clothing conveys success and power, to you as well as to those around you.
Now, that doesn't mean that you always need to dress to the nines to find your fearless self. It does suggest that you pay a little more attention to the general state of your wardrobe. It's much easier to speak your mind, stand your ground, and charge forward if you're not tugging at your sweat pants or looking down at your scuffed shoes.
Ironically, the more timid we feel, the more timid we tend to dress, if for no other reason than to ensure we don't draw any unnecessary attention. But being fearless means you don't mind being "seen" and that's a much easier pill to swallow if you're feeling good about the way you look.
For me, it's a pair of black, strapless heels that make me feel invincible. They're comfortable, they're sexy, and I even got them on sale. I like them so much, in fact, that I have actually bought clothes for the sole purpose of showing off those shoes.
Your "power pieces" might be something totally different, but the point is to have them and wear them often. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, as the saying goes. In this case, dress for the bold and fearless person you want to become.
One of the things I love about writing is that I get to think about what I want to say before I actually say it, allowing me the opportunity to convey my thoughts in the most powerful and polished way.
Life, of course, doesn't always provide us with prep time, so we're frequently forced to think on our feet and in some cases, to do so under emotional stress.
But just because you don't have all the details doesn't mean you can't do a little future casting and play out the possibilities.
This concept of conscious planning is the reason that schools host regular fire drills and that self-defense courses coach you to "think" about what you'd do if you were attacked. The more prepared you are for the experience, the more likely you are to get through it.
And you can do the same thing whenever you know you'll need a little extra fearlessness in advance.
Walk yourself through the situation and plan out a general response for each possibility. If it's a conversation you need to have, play it out in your head. Not just what you'll say, but also how he/she/they might react when you do. Imagine yourself facing the most likely scenarios and decide on the best way to deal with each of them.
What you'll find is that if and when the situation does manifest, you'll feel much more prepared to face it. You'll know what to say and what to do to handle it with the grace and poise of your most fearless self.
Zig Ziglar used to say that it was "easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting," and that certainly applies here.
Give yourself time to over think a situation, and you'll likely "think" yourself right out of action, finding an abundance of reasons that you "can't" or "shouldn't" do whatever it is you want to do. It's not the right time, you don't have enough money, you're not experienced enough, or you don't have the credentials or support to succeed.
So, pretend that you do.
If all else fails and you're just not feeling it, fake it. Pretend that you know exactly how to proceed and have all the confidence in the world. Imagine that you can't fail and then decide how you'd behave if that were really true. What would you do? What would you say? What would be your next move if fearless was your middle name?
Are you fearless? Have you always been fearless or did you push yourself to become fearless? Don't be shy, tell us all about it in comments!