“Fear is powerful. It doesn’t matter, though. What matters is bravery and courage…”
I stared at this text for what felt like several minutes letting it soak in. It was like I couldn’t fully comprehend it. I had just divulged a long standing secret fear to someone I deeply admired and the response was more profound than I was expecting.
For the majority of my life, my goal was to be fearless. Fear less…or not fear at all. Fear had held me back for a very long time until I was so uncomfortable in my skin I could no longer take it. I had to make changes. Huge ones! And each of them were blocked by fear. Yet it wasn’t until I made the changes despite the intensity that I realized the fear was only blocking my joy.
This lead to an even stronger desire to be fearless. I challenged myself often to do things that made me uneasy to prove to myself I could. I made decisions that were the opposite of what I would normally do to experience more of what I didn’t know existed. Some fears were small, like ordering new foods I wasn’t sure I’d like or mingling at an event where I didn’t know anyone. Others were life altering, like buying a house out of my financial league after leaving my marriage, or resigning from a secure job and starting my own business with very little knowledge of what it would take.
The whole time I thought I was practicing fearlessness, but that could not be further from the truth. I was absolutely terrified! Each big step had seemingly hundreds of small steps that provoked inner angst. And each small step reminded me that there were many more left like them. I rarely feel like I know what I’m doing, but I keep going anyway. I practice bravery and courage. bravery to work through my fears and courage to keep going. I am not fearless. I am actually anything, but, fearless. What a relief to know it isn’t fearlessness that will keep me moving forward.
We don’t have to be fearless to follow our hearts. In fact, where we hold the most fear is where we are given opportunities to experience the most growth. Fear will always be a part of life and living, but it doesn’t have to be what stops it. When we practice bravery, we acknowledge our fear, and gently, or not so gently, push it aside, not allowing it to be an obstacle holding us back from what it is we truly desire. And courage continues to cheerlead our way to the finish line when we question if we will actually get there when feeling depleted and tired from facing our fear. But get there we will. bravery and courage will make sure of it.
Bravery and courage do not travel alone though. Their support group is the strongest of all with faith and trust feeding them every step of the way. Faith reminds us that what we believe holds power and trust ensures that our best interests will be met. When faith and trust are fully employed, failure does not exist. They allow us to know that no matter what happens next, we are safe and protected.
For me, taking the pressure off myself to be fearless has made me feel even stronger, more driven and proud of my accomplishments as I shift my expectations to practice what I know I can do. Be brave. Be courageous. Because it’s time to be the best version of you.