Today I want to talk with you about the idea – the ideal, really – of fearlessness.
Is fearlessness possible? And if it’s not possible, should we at least strive to be more fearless in our lives or work?
Right now, in my field, lots of people use the term: Fearless Living, Fearless You, Your Fearless Year, and so on.
Like many of my colleagues, I’ve felt uncomfortable with these titles, because I believe fear is part of us, and a part of life. I’ve always thought the goal shouldn’t be fearlessness, but rather, skillfully responding to fear when it arises.
But then something happened to me that made me think about fearlessness quite differently.
I was offered an amazing creative and professional opportunity, something I’d always dreamed of. It was high stakes, highly visible–the kind of thing you’d think would have evoked fears of failing, or screwing it up somehow.
When I got the email about it, I was stunned, but I was not at all afraid. When I was planning for the first phone call about it, I was not at all afraid. As each stage of the process proceeded, I kept looking for the normal fears of failure or of making a mistake that I would have expected to be there, but not finding them. I had a happy hum in my heart about the whole thing, and a kind of thrilled excitement, but no fear.
I was honestly surprised by that, especially because over the past several months I’ve felt nervous and insecure about much less significant professional opportunities.
Why was this one different, I wondered.
I realized: with this opportunity, I felt a deep sense of home, of “this is just where I’m meant to be.” This opportunity was truly aligned with where my soul wanted to go and who she felt she already was. I knew I had nothing to prove.
I also felt this opportunity so sacred enough to my soul, so important to my personal journey, that I wanted to approach it with total authenticity and joy – none of the toxic calculating that fear might lead me into.
And that got me thinking about this: what if fearlessness is important not as a goal to work toward, but as an indicator of what your soul longs for?
Fearlessness is not something to achieve. It’s something to pay attention to, when we are graced by it.
It’s not about the ideal of fearlessness; it’s about seeing what your moments of fearlessness reveal about where your soul feels most at home.
I felt so good walking into this major opportunity without any fear or inner critic narratives, that my mind naturally started thinking, “Should everything in my work feel like this? Should I only take opportunities that feel like “home” in this way, that give me that blissed-out sense of rightness?”
I don’t know, but I do know this paradoxical truth: that amazing experience of fearlessness came because of many things I’ve done when I felt afraid.
I often felt afraid to send my book out into the world. I’ve felt afraid so many times to do this or that speaking event, to publish my work in that widely-read publication – but moving forward in spite of fear with did contribute – it seems – to this graced experience of fearlessness.
There is some mysterious way in which doing things that we are afraid of is part of the journey to the places that allow us to be free of fear.
Maybe it’s this: that there are lots of steps on the way to home that require us to change, to risk, to be exposed – and so they evoke fear. But home itself is different. When we touch home, we touch fearlessness.
My invitation to you is this: not to try to achieve fearlessness, but to notice when you receive the visitation of it – especially in the moments when you’d expect to feel fear.
Pay attention to what brings it. What relationships, kinds of work, creative pursuits, environments, bring you into contact with that gorgeous state of fearlessness? And what does it tell you about the direction your soul longs to go?
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