The Fearless Living Myth Debunked
Post written by Jessica Sweet.
I know you’ve heard the lion’s roar call-to-action that goes something like this: “Live fearlessly, set your flame burning, and to step into your greatness.”
You can see the wisdom in it.
It seems like the right thing to do.
If only you could do it.
Maybe living fearlessly is something that will feel more achievable when you’re older and wiser. . .
Or when you have earned your first million and have more freedom. . .
But until that happens – until something external shifts – it seems impossible to live life fearlessly and to the fullest.
Is Fearless Living The Goal?
We’ve been taught that fearless living is the goal.
That no matter what challenges you might face, you should strive to embrace your path forward impervious to the consequences or outcomes.
That’s just dumb.
(I’m sorry, but it’s true.)
Consider its warnings, and then decide if you should let fear go.
The Purpose Of Fear
‘To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.’ ~Katherine Paterson
The difference between you – an intelligent, thoughtful, and sometimes fearful human being -and a scared animal is that you have a choice.
Your fear can well up inside you, and yet you have an amazing capacity to embrace it, overcome it, prove it wrong, learn from it, or walk through it.
You might also choose to let it hold you back.
But here’s the thing: Fear serves as a marker for growth.
If you’re afraid, you know you’ve found a growing edge. And it might just signal that you’re supposed to move ahead.
Because while fear is present in situations you’d just as soon live your entire life without, it also has to be present in any situation that will stretch you to your limit and forge you into the person you’re meant to be.
But if you believe that you’re supposed to be living fearlessly, you take this fear as an indication that you’re not yet up to par.
You might think, “Wow. There I go again being all afraid. Why can’t I have the guts to just live without fear?”
And you might just let that unrealistic expectation deter you from doing whatever amazing thing you might have done if you’d just known and accepted that fear is part of the process.
Living Fearlessly vs. Living Fully
Instead of living fearlessly, I want to challenge you to embrace your fear.
But don’t let it swing you around by the tail.
And by that, I mean not only don’t let it stop you from doing things you’d really like to do, but also don’t let its mere presence tell you that you’re doing life wrong.
In fact, if you’re afraid it probably means you’re doing life right.
You’re pushing up against your own personal boundaries and limitations. And that’s a very good thing.
The message shouldn’t be “live fearlessly,” it should be “expect your fear but push your limits.”
Because living fully is actually “pee-your-pants-afraid” living. It’s sweating bullets and “not-sure-you’re-gonna-make-it” living.
People who have achieved any measure of success by their own standards will tell you that they were afraid, but they moved towards something they wanted in spite of their fear.
There’s no such thing as fearless living. Only living fully.
So now I ask you, do you agree that “fearless living” is a myth that is actually holding you back from your success?
Jessica Sweet -LICSW- is a life and career coach. She works with bright, creative people who are stuck in dull jobs and are seeking their next adventure. You can read her blog and learn more about working with her.
photo source: flowingfaith.com