20 Top Bloggers Share Their Most Life-Altering Fearless Action

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If there is a theme for this blog, it is about being bold in the face of fear.

It is about taking practical actions that will move you forward, even when you are plagued with doubts and insecurity.

It is about being fearless, which by my definition means doing things in spite of fear and thereby conquering it. Or at least diminishing it gradually.

Often we become paralyzed by fear. Our limiting thoughts get the best of us, and we believe that we are alone in our doubts and seeming inabilities. I’ve found that hearing and reading the stories of others who have shared the same fears and insecurities makes me feel not so alone in my own struggles.

I especially like hearing how people have pushed past their fears to accomplish great things or small things that paved the way for great things. Pushing through one fear fosters fearlessness in other endeavors. And sometimes there is one life-altering push that can change the course of everything.

I invited 20 successful bloggers, writers, and coaches to share their answers to the question:

What is one bold and fearless thing you have done that has made a profound positive impact on your life?

Here’s what they had to say . . .

1. Jonathan Fields, Jonathan Fields: author, entrepreneur, and speaker

Here’s the thing. Nothing is fearless. It’s not about eliminating fear, it’s about harnessing the visceral response to the circumstances that give rise to fear and framing it as a source of fuel and possibility, rather than paralysis. 

That said, the scariest, most anxiety producing thing I’ve ever done that has made a profound positive impact on my life has been becoming a dad. There’s no way to study, no way to master a “body of knowledge,” no way to lock down the future, no way to know if you’re doing it right. 

Every day is a dance with uncertainty. But it is also absolute perfection. Snuggles, hugs, kisses, laughing, crying, learning, growing, sharing, exploring, creating, destroying, messing up, getting better, evolving. 

2. Jennifer Boykin, Life After Tampons; midlife reinventionist, writer

After “thinking about it” (which basically means “being afraid of it”) for more than a decade, I have finally taken a chance on my Big Dream to serve other women.  In February, we launched our mid-Life reinvention project, Life After Tampons.  The response to our site has been off-the-charts-amazing, which, of course, further scares the bejeezus out of me.  So, one day at a time, I am showing up to this work and reminding myself that I am not in charge — I am merely the steward for the work.  And here’s the profound positive impact on my life . . . I have found my tribe!  They are the glorious women everywhere who are the real change makers!  Blessed be!  Amen!  Shalom!, etc.

3. Steve Chandler, iMindShift; coach, author, speaker, life-changer

I hired a very expensive coach and then vowed to have my work with him be so scary and transformative that I would make his fee back times ten.

 

 

4. Darren Rowse, Problogger,  Digital Photography School, FeelGooder and TwiTip; blogger, photographer, entrepreneur

The first thing that came to mind was a moment many years ago as a child when I did something for the first time that pushed me right out of my comfort zone. 

I was around 10 years of age and on a summer camp for young people. I was a very shy boy — very shy. I had a small group of close friends but was very timid outside of that group.

On the last night of camp there was a camp concert and my group of friends decided that we should participate by miming to an Elvis track — I think it was Blue Suede Shoes. For some reason they all nominated me to be Elvis (I have no idea why).

I was petrified but that night stepped onto the stage and became Elvis. 

Looking back on it now I can only imagine what a cringe-worthy performance I gave but it was a moment in my life where I realized I could break out of my shyness and that I could stand in front of a room of people and be confident. I also realized that doing so came with a real buzz and it was something I wanted to do again.

That moment began a series of other public performances and public speaking opportunities. In turn these led me to discover that I enjoyed and was passionate about communication — particularly public speaking.

That opened many doors for me and has shaped almost everything I’ve done professionally. I’m still shy and get nervous when getting up on a stage — but that little Elvis performance always gives me courage to get up and give my best, although I never did get myself any blue suede shoes.

5. Lori Deschene, Tiny Buddha; blogger and author

This is a tough question to answer, because I don’t believe I’ve done anything that was both bold and fearless—every time I’ve done something bold, I’ve done with a healthy dose of fear!

If I had to name one thing, I’d say writing my first book, Tiny Buddha. I shared a lot of highly personal stories in there, and a big part of me was terrified to expose myself in that way. I knew I wanted to do it, though, because I personally find vulnerable writing to be the most interesting and insightful.

This has had a tremendous impact on my life for a few reasons: for one, I feel as though I’ve really helped people, and that contributes to my sense of purpose and connection; secondly, I did something I previously thought I couldn’t do—write a full book—which makes me feel proud of myself; and lastly, it’s led to a second book, which I’m equally excited about!

6.Alex Blackwell, The Bridgemaker; blogger and author

The one fearless action that has made a positive impact on my life was acknowledging that I needed to change – and then taking action to change. Nine years ago with my marriage on the brink of divorce because of my selfish and career-minded attitude, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and attended a personal formation seminar, which focused on a very simple truth: You cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge.

Now nine years later, I strive to be present to my own life, and to live in every moment. Understanding the need for change has helped me to strengthen my marriage, rebuild my relationships with my children, and has taught me to love and value myself more – all because I found the courage to be bold, and change.

7.  Stephanie Wetzel, Trading Pounds; blogger, designer, coach, author

I changed the way I see the world. Roadblocks turn into opportunities when you shift your perspective in that way. It’s easy to look at your life and see all that isn’t working. It makes you feel like a victim of circumstance. But when you change that perspective from victim to creator, you empower yourself to begin taking action towards the changes you want to make for your life.

Shifting my perspective gave me the power to change my entire life. Since this moment when I chose to see things differently, I have changed my life completely. In just over two years, I’ve lost 200 pounds, left full-time employment, started my own company, strengthened my relationships, and most importantly, stopped struggling through my life and started enjoying every single moment.

8. Scott Young, Get More from Life;  speed-reading, vegetarian, holistic learning, productivity hacking recent university graduate, blogger

The biggest thing for me was sharing my writing with other people. It can be daunting to put your work out there, since it puts you in the spotlight for criticism and scrutiny. Overcoming that fear helped me a lot, both to improve my skills and to eventually create an audience for my work.

 

9. Jeff Nickels, My Super-Charged Life; entrepreneur, consultant, training instructor, and military officer, IT director, blogger

I launched my own technology services business essentially without any planning or hardly any forethought when the small company I worked for abruptly announced he was closing the doors immediately. 

I found myself unemployed and in shock.  However, I didn’t let that stop me.  I quickly decided to pursue my entrepreneurial dream of owning a business.  Within days, I was up and running.  I was even fortunate enough to make deals with several clients I had previously done work for under the old company.  It was amazing how it all came together.

This bold and fearless move was one of the greatest learning experiences in my career.  It provided me with the contacts, background and perspective to rise even higher.  I’d encourage people not to over-think opportunities.  You can miss the best breaks in life by getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

10. Tim Brownson, A Daring Adventure; coach, blogger, writer

After vacillating for five years, I finally made a decision (with my wife’s help) in 2004 to leave the UK and move to Orlando in the US. Even though we wildly underestimated the time (it took us two years to get our Green Card), the cost and the red tape we would have to cut through, it has still been well worth it, and we love living over here. Research suggests where people live has little impact on their happiness levels. If that’s the truth then I must be an exception to that rule because wild horses couldn’t drag me to a cold climate now.

11. Evelyn Lim, Abundance Tapestry; life coach, mother, wife, ex-Banker, Singaporean, and an internet entrepreneur

To be honest, I think the periods when I have been bold were those that I encountered tremendous fear. Hence, I won’t exactly call myself “fearless”. I was in a struggle, but at the same time, I was determined to overcome my fear. 

Perhaps one of the boldest thing that I have done happened when I decided to make a commitment to the self.  At that time, because I was in such misery, I decided that enough was enough.  And so I wanted to look deep inside to investigate what my root fears were.  However, even after making the decision, I almost wanted to give up.   I resisted, cried, kicked up a fuss and so on. There was pain and buckets of tears involved, while reviewing some of the difficult events in the past. 

In the past, I would have ignored and suppressed my pain altogether.  But because I had actually made the promise to the self, I held on to the process. Looking into some of my deepest fears was frightening, but I have been so glad that I made it through.  In hindsight, I realize that I must have been rather bold to say yes to a path of inner discovery.  A check around reveals that not many feel up to addressing their personal issues from encountering difficult situations.  A dose of boldness is definitely needed! 

12. Trent Hamm, The Simple Dollar; entrepreneur, blogger, author

The most personally challenging thing I’ve done to improve my life was to reboot my social circle.  It was very hard to slowly end friendships that I had enjoyed for a long time, but I had come to realize that if you include negative people in your life, they’ll dash everything positive you want to do to change your life for the better.

 I made a great effort to seek out new friends and eventually I was able to build a very tight circle of encouraging friends who wanted me to succeed rather than wanting to hold me back through bad habits and negativity.

13. Farnoosh Brock, Prolific Living; author, blogger, speaker, coach

The one bold and fearless thing was a mindset shift when I decided to follow my own gut, my own feelings and my own decisions without the weight of everything and everyone around me. When I decided to fully trust myself and the direction I was choosing my life to go, I made the biggest boldest shift. From that change in perspective and mindset, all my other seemingly fearless decisions have followed from leaving my lucrative corporate career, to getting a boyish haircut, to feeling confident about my present and ultimate success. It may not seem like much, but if you can believe in yourself and trust your decisions and honor your feelings, you will be amazed by what you can accomplish.

14. Peep Laja, ConversionXL, The One Question; web developer, internet marketer, blogger

Living and working abroad. If you always live in the comfort of your home country, you won’t grow to your potential. Moving to a foreign country with a different language and culture, and working with the people over there will change your life dramatically for the better. After you live in a different country, all kinds of parts of you (you maybe even didn’t know of) will be shaped much stronger, and you can develop a super strong self. The real you comes out. 

If you take yourself out of your normal surroundings, go away from the people you’re used to, and stop doing things you’re used to doing, what’s left is the real you. You can invent yourself anew, or discover what part is really you and what’s there because of peer pressure, society and circumstances. You will never know unless you go and live abroad. The more different the place, the better (e.g. it doesn’t count if you’re an American and move to Canada or Australia). 

 (I’m from Estonia, lived and worked 2 years in Dubai, a year in Panama and now in the US). 

15. Tammy Strobel, Rowdy Kittens; writer, blogger, tiny house dweller

Not worrying about what everyone else thinks of me. It took me a lot of years to shrug off expectations from parents, peers, and professional friends. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. If I listened to what everyone else told me, I’d never be living in my small house or writing for a living. Doing what you believe in can have a profound impact on your life and the lives of those you love. As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” 

16. Jonathan Wells, Advanced Life Skills; blogger and coach

Wanting to completely redefine my life and get off the path I was on, I decided to unplug from everything and set out on a personal quest. So, I left the suburbs of southern California and spent two months camping and exploring in the mountains of southern Oregon. Once I got away from the noise and immersed myself in the solitude of nature, I knew what I needed to do. At 21 years old, I bought land and moved out of California to the forested wilderness of Oregon with nothing more than my jeep, camping gear, and a black cat. Life has been an amazing adventure ever since! 

17. Scott Dinsmore, Live Your Legend; blogger and entrepreneur

Running a 32 mile ultra marathon with very minimal training and with having never run father than 15 miles in the past. A few friends talked me into it and I just thought “what’s the worst that could happen? Either I don’t finish or I do.” I did three long training runs the three weeks prior to the run: 12, 14 and 15 miles. Crossing the finish line changed me in a huge way. It completely expanded my belief of what was possible, both physically and mentally. And since then I have made it a habit of testing these limits. The confidence from that run snowballed into how I looked at my business and the rest of my life. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Amazing things happen when you prove yourself wrong! 

18. Dirk deBruin, Upgrade Reality; blogger and entrepreneur

I’d say that the most bold and fearless thing I’ve done to make a huge change in my life is to take action to overcome my shyness and anxiety of social situations. For my whole life until I was around 18 years old, I was very shy, had few friends and was terrified to talk to the opposite sex. I was just sick and tired of living like this and spent the next few years reading and learning everything I could get my hands on how become better socially. This of course also involved countless nights of going out to bars, clubs, shopping malls or where-ever I could find people and start conversations with as many strangers as possible. I cannot imagine how unhappy I’d be if I didn’t put in the time and effort to change my life in this manner.

19. Peter Sinclair, Motivational Memo; heart to heart resuscitation specialist, author, speaker, composer, and motivator

After losing my job, that very day I declared to my family that I would never again work full time for another man. And that was the day I looked around my house and saw what I had – a mop, a vacuum cleaner and some cleaning fluids – and I decided to start our own cleaning business.

So every one of us, as a family, were involved from the start, and within a week of operation, we were up and running and profitable in our own business.

That business sustained us as a family for the next three years before I sold it on to a friend and has led to two decades of owning businesses in four different industries because I boldly decided that I would never again leave my life, nor the life of my family, at the mercy of another.

The results? My two eldest children, in their twenties, are entrepreneurs with their own profitable businesses and my youngest currently holds a management position in one of my companies.

My decision had a profound and positive impact not only on my own life, but also on the lives of my entire family – along with those whom they serve through their entrepreneurial endeavors.

20. Ken Wert, Meant to be Happy; teacher and blogger

I had been nearly a decade in another career. I had a wife and young daughter. But I knew I wanted to teach. It was scary on all fronts. It’s one thing to go to college while you’re young, but altogether another thing to try it with a family. It was financially risky. I didn’t know if I would even land a job when I was done.

Given our lives and schedules, I knew I would lose lots of sleep. As it turned out, I usually got something like 4-5 hours a night while I was getting my degree and credential. Some nights I didn’t really sleep at all. I had to go back to school to get a degree in history, then a teaching credential, then student teach for a year without pay, all the while debt would be mounting. But I knew I wanted it. So I did the bold and fearless thing and dove in head first. It has changed my life and, I like to think, the lives of hundreds of other young lives as I’ve had the opportunity to reach out in small and large ways to my students over the last decade.

What is the most bold and fearless thing you’ve ever done? How has it impacted your life? Please share in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Barrie,

    Thank you for pulling this post together. Too often, our lives remain unchanged because we get stuck. But when we face our fears, and then move past them, amazing things begin to happen.

    Here’s to courage!

    Alex

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You are right Alex — amazing things rarely happen without an appetizer of fear first. But it is so worth it getting to the main course!

  2. Hi Barrie,

    It has been so interesting reading all the various experiences that pushes us to go beyond our comfort zone. Stories like these inspire me to become even more fearless. Thank you for putting this together. Great work!

    To infinity and beyond,
    Evelyn

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      These stories make us realize that everyone has the capacity for great things if we can just push past that uncomfortable fear. My now 18-year-old son used to run around the house shouting, “To infinity and beyond,” after he saw Toy Story many years ago. That little proclamation packs a whole lot of punch. Go to what you think you can do — then push farther!

  3. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. says:

    embracing our fears make for great fuel and motivation in a way. it’s interesting to see that bloggers consider a lot of what they’ve done, they’ve done fearfully, but done it anyway to push beyond limits

    Noch Noch

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      It’s not just bloggers. Anyone who has accomplished anything that required a stretch has encountered fear. But it can be thrilling to test yourself this way — to seek and find your fearful places and dive right into them!

  4. Loved the list of stories Barrie!

    Yes indeed, at times it’s when you read such stories that give you courage to move on further in life, as they provide you a source of inspiration in one way or another. And it’s nice to see all these wonderful bloggers also, who seem so similar to us, share stories of their most life altering fearless actions.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m so glad you like it Harleena. These are regular people who have found a way to act in spite of their fears. Anyone can do this. Once you accept that fear is part of the package but that it can’t hurt you, you can take action anyway. I find it amazing how quickly fear dissipates once you act.

  5. Great topic Barrie and thanks to all those who took the time to participate. I love it when you guys “peel back a layer” like Jonathan Fields did in his comment. The fatherhood fear was an unexpected answer but I can totally relate. And my kids are almost grown at this point. And Alex, making critical changes at a critical time when, as we all know, it’s so much easier to quit and just bail. Can’t recap a highlight from everyone but you get the idea. Again, thanks for all for replying to Barrie’s request to participate. It was well worth the effort.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi David,
      I was intrigued by Jonathan’s comment as well. I would not have guessed that one. I think I was too ignorant before having kids of what I was getting myself into! The fear didn’t start until after they showed up. :) It sure helps keep things in perspective when you see where others have meant fear along the way and overcome it.

  6. Wow, Barrie, what wonderful inspiration you present here, thank you!
    I think often we forget everyone experiences fear, it is not a sign of “weakness” when fear shows up– it is a sign of movement and creativity and living. And how awesome when we may share “how” we create with it, removing the stigma often associated with fear and instead providing encouragement and motivation to keep creating!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      You know Joy, I’ve begun to think of fear as a friend. I think it would be fun if I could jump into every fear with great gusto, just to see what happens. Just close your eyes and run in without thinking too much. Like Thelma and Louise — only you live!

  7. I loved the timeliness of this post. As someone who has started blogging and growing a subscriber list, this was very inspiring. My own fears of “how will I turn this into a business” have been my greatest fear. My message is to empower people to STEP into their own greatness. I’m learning that I have lots to offer and I take STEPs every day so that I’m practicing what I preach. And I’ve just now set my intention to be included in a post like this in the future.

    Thanks for the post.

  8. Hi Barrie,

    I like Jonathan Fields’ idea that it isn’t really about eliminating fear, it’s about dealing with the feelings and thoughts around it and re-framing them into possibilities.
    I was forced to face many fears when my late partner was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer many years ago. But I began to learn that opening myself to my fears and not resisting them quickly turned them into a gentle curiosity about what lessons were meant to be learned in each moment. The fear was still there on some level, but I tried to befriend it rather than run from it.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Unless you want to live in constant anxiety — that is the only thing you can do, right? And I’m sure you discovered that the fear had many positive things to offer once you befriended it.

  9. Courage is not not having fear – it’s going forward even if there is fear.

  10. Hello Barrie,
    Thank you for making these ladies and gentlemen share their fears and how it pushed them to achieve what they now enjoy doing in life. it is easy to think that some people have a smooth sailing in life tackling fears and obstacles with heroism like that of the Spiderman. Now when this people show their side of ‘flesh and blood’ with all the shortcomings common to mortals, I personally feel encouraged and convinces myself that ‘I can do it’ also.
    A beautiful post.
    Murigi.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Murigi,
      You are so welcome. They are inspiring — and they are “flesh and blood.” None of us are Spidermen. We all struggle with the same insecurities. They just finally decided to make the leap. And you can do it too!

  11. Hi Barrie,

    Thanks for a great post! It’s always inspiring to me to hear about the bold actions of others…If they can do it, why can’t I?

    The most bold and fearless thing I’ve ever done was very recent – I posted my blog up as my work info on my Facebook page. For a long time, I was afraid to share my work with anyone, so a public declaration was a big deal! I’ve seen increased pageviews, feel a greater sense of commitment to write regularly, and received a heartwarming message from an acquaintance, thanking me for my blog. The day I took the plunge was scary, but her message made it sooo worth it. :)

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Good for you Kaylee! Almost always the thing we are afraid of turns out to be OK or actually really wonderful. Congratulations on your blog.

  12. Thanks for including me among such luminaries, Barrie! It’s so inspiring to read how others have dealt with challenges in their lives in bold ways. I like what Jonathan said about fear. The fearlesses has nothing to do with feeling no fear. It’s in taking action despite the fear, even being motivated by it. The ability and willingness to take action in the face of fear is the true definition of courage, after all.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Beautifully stated Ken. The words “in spite of” are the operative words here. That does define courage.

  13. Rick Barlow says:

    I created a new product, learned how to write a business plan, found an investor, took a second mortgage on my home, quit my job and started a business. It was a defining experience in many ways. 21 years later I sold the business, becoming financially independent — the American Dream. Now I answer to nobody — except my wife, my kids and my grandson.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Amazing Rick!! What better way to live your life? And I’m sure you had plenty of fear when you first started. But sometimes fear is a great motivator, right?

  14. Fran Sorin says:

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for an inspiring and revealing post. I love each of the bloggers’ stories.
    The more I experience ‘embracing fear’ and not trying to vanquish it, the more resolute I am becoming in moving forward and working through it. It’s not an easy process but I am working on it. And yes, the benefits are worth it. :) Fran

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I love the word “resolute.” Hang on to that word Fran. The more you move forward, the weaker the grip fear will have over you. Fear hates resolute!

  15. This is such a fine initiative you took Barrie. I started my blog May 2009 and I think where courage is needed for me is to do my best to expand my ‘computer/internet’ knowledge as much as possible when I’m probably a poet at heart. And keep offering the best I have to give whether I create an income or not. I do find a lot of reward in a deeper connection with readers and I admit it does make me happy when they express their appreciation, which they do.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Christopher,
      I am with you on that — the technology part of blogging was so intimidating to me at first. But I can say without a doubt that overcoming this and beginning my blog was my most life-altering fearless action. I am so glad you have found that deeper connection. :)

  16. Great people you have here in this list.

    Its amazing how most of them overcame fear.

    The thing i know is this, no matter whom you are, fear will always come once ina while and it depends on how you handle them.

    Sheyi

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m glad you liked it Sheyi. It is amazing how they all overcame fear — and inspirational. It shows that in spite of fear, we can still do great things.

  17. Great stories here–so inspiring. I suppose one of the boldest things I ever did was to take in one of my son’s classmates. My son James has autism and was in a special class in middle school. One of his classmates suffered a terrible tragedy when both his parents died. There was no family to take Dan and because of his autism, there was no foster family qualified to take him. In a totally crazy leap of faith, I said I would take him. Dan has been part of our family now for 12 years.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Wow Galen. I am so awed by this. What an amazingly generous and loving thing you have done. I’m sure you have had difficulties, but the blessings you’ve received from this leap of faith have likely been many. Not many people would do something so loving and courageous.

  18. Thirteen years ago I left a very high paying job with a company that loved me. The golden handcuffs were firmly in place. I had it all. But I was so empty. Without a job and with very little thought for what I’d do next, I left to find happiness. At the time it didn’t feel like a courageous move, it felt like a life or death move. I knew what was left of my soul was quickly shrinking yet I still heard a voice trying to tell me it was a cop-out to jump down from the corporate ladder. It wasn’t a cop-out, it was courageous. To stay and not be true to myself would have been the cowardly choice.

    I have never looked back.

    Today I work as a coach to successful professionals who are where I was. I feel so blessed to do work that I am passionate about. I have married a man I’d have never met in my old life. We have two beautiful children and live in a city we chose together as our ideal home. I love my life. And what I love most is that I have created every bit of my happiness.

    My hope/wish/desire is for everyone to find work that makes their heart sing.

    Thanks, Barrie for giving me a place to say this out loud! It sure feels good.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      What a wonderful, inspiring story Jeannie. I am so glad you decided to make the leap of faith and not stay in the comfortable spot you were in. When your soul starts to wither, you have to do something. No amount of comfort or money is worth that. Good for you!

  19. What a great blog. It reminds me of a book I just recently finished that blew me away. 25 Laws for Doing the Impossible. It’s a must read.

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