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.
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.
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.