Be Fearless: Moments in Time

I was feeling nostalgic and looking through old photo albums, and I realized I was coming across so many moments in my life that I would label as fearless. Some were mine, some I witnessed from others — but all make me stop and remember those times for the awe and inspiration I felt, the pride, and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment afterward. There are so many moments I could share, but for now, here is a small photo slideshow with some of my top Be Fearless moments over time.

Googling life, failure, and fear

Next up in my #BeFearless series, is my friend Drew Myers. I first connected with Drew online, over baseball and our shared love of advocacy. I met him in person when we volunteered for a Back on My Feet event in Philly, and the rest is history. You can read more from Drew at his blog, Defining Audacity

I’ve always wanted to write about “using” Google – keep up with my searches over a certain amount of time and blog about it. I thought it would be a unique and interesting peek behind my metaphorical curtain:

– What am I curious about?

– What’s on my mind?

– What interests me?

– What confuses me?

As a retired stay-at-home dad, who is trying to change the world one blog post at a time, I type some interesting things into the Google search bar:

• Teach your toddler to spit

• How do you know if your car seat is installed correctly?

• How often should a toddler poop?

Besides tips on daddyhood, I’m constantly searching for inspirational blog fodder online. Here’s a good search example that resulted in the inspiration for this post:

“What are people’s biggest fears?”

Read more

Is Not Being Afraid the Same as Being Fearless?

Next up in the #BeFearless series, my friend Sarah, who works in online communications at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. You can read more of her stories at her blog, QueSarah.net.

Traveling alone...and fearlessly!

A little more than five years ago, an amazing opportunity was presented to me: a chance to go to Thailand for work, to do a press check on a book we were publishing. My boss agreed to my request to take a couple of weeks of vacation there after my responsibilities were finished, and I got to planning my trip. I had little advance warning (just a few weeks) and quickly realized I’d be going alone — none of my friends could get time off from work on such short notice. Undeterred,  I reserved hotels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai and researched the train schedule that would get me between the two. I booked a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, not knowing if I’d ever be so near again. As far as I was concerned, I was planning the trip of a lifetime.

And it was, without a doubt. But even before I left home, I noticed a recurring theme from a lot of the people I told about the trip: amazement that I was flying halfway around the world, to a county that had just experienced a coup, alone. I was told it was bold, and brave, and fearless. Once I was there, everyone seemed shocked to meet an American woman traveling alone in Asia. (Apparently, it would have been less stunning if I were European, or perhaps Australian.) I was such a novelty that a group of Buddhist monks in Cambodia wanted to have their picture taken with me, to prove that they had seen such a thing.

Not surprisingly, I found this hilarious, and more than a little strange, because it hadn’t occurred to me that making the trip required any sort of fearlessness until people started mentioning it. I wasn’t afraid to be making the trip, therefore, I wasn’t being fearless — I was just doing what I wanted to do.

I don’t remember exactly when or how I developed that attitude — I just know that at some point I realized that being afraid was an incredibly lame reason not to do things I wanted to do or see places I wanted to see. From that point on, whenever I would hesitate to do something because I was fearful, I would remind myself that fear was, for me, not an acceptable out, and I would force myself to do it. Eventually, I got to the point where I needed a reminder less and less, because I at some point I stopped overcoming fear and just stopped being afraid.

Mostly, anyway. I’ve got it narrowed down to spiders, heights, and walking up to strangers and saying hello. And I’m working on those. Well, not the spiders. I don’t think being afraid of them is negatively impacting my life in any way.

Defining Fearless

Ready to take a swing at the world!

A few weeks ago I shared a post from my friend Lauree to kick off my personal series on being fearless, taking inspiration from my organization’s commitment to the movement. You’ll be seeing more from my friends in coming months, but for now, I wanted to share my own thoughts on what it has meant to Be Fearless for me in the past, what it means now, and what it could mean in the future.

As a little girl, I jumped into the swamps of Louisiana without a care for the alligators and snakes that could bite or kill me. I wanted to ride the boat or the jet ski or the bumper cars or four wheeler faster and farther. I loved playing hide and seek in the dark with my cousins in the old barns and sugarcane fields.

Read more