MotherTalk Book Tour — Let’s Get Fearless!

Wed, April 25, 2007

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There are are a few things I’ve done in my life that others have thought were brave — going to college without a financial safety net and believing that somehow I would find the money, moving at the drop of a hat to “exotic” places, like Utica and Wichita, where I knew no one, for jobs in broadcasting that I hoped would advance my journalism career.

They didn’t seem brave to me at the time, but I guess in a way they were fearless in a naive sort of way — I did them just assuming that they would work out. And for the most part they did.

But there are plenty of other things where fear has played a huge factor in my decision-making process and I regret some of those, like staying in a job that gave me financial security even though it made me physically ill and staying too long in an abusive and dysfunctional first marriage.

As women, I think we often say we want change, but we find ourselves at a loss when it comes to finding the courage and momentum to act on our desires — changes for our physical and mental well-being, new and different career paths, more satisfying personal relationships or creating a better world to live in.

While there are many books on the self-help shelves (or what was called Personal Growth in the movie When Harry Met Sally) that claim they will help transform our lives, in On Becoming Fearless, Arianna Huffington has written about dealing with fear in a common sense way — it’s not a lecture or purported expert-tutorial as many volumes are, but rather, it’s a look by one woman about how she dealt with her own insecurities and fears to achieve a certain level of fearlessness that she believes could be powerful for other women in creating their own opportunities and success.

What made this book worth reading for me was that it felt like a personal coversation.

Yes, Huffington talks about her triumphs, but not in a way that makes you feel like she’s trumpeting her own horn about all her success. Instead, her revelations come across as a chat you might have with your best friend or neighbor as they tell you proudly about a special accomplishment — happy, inspired, gratified and hopeful.

Perhaps, more importantly, I get the sense that Arianna Huffington is quietly, but firmly, laying the groundwork for a fearlessness revolution. She’s already turned fearlessness into a conversation over at her blog that is growing exponentially.

If we transform our fear in different areas of our lives, what could we create? What if we, as women, all took back a little of the fear we put out there in our daily lives? What if we acted as if we were fearless, even when we’re not?

Huffington suggests that such an “epidemic of fearlessness” could help prompt some of the social change we’d like to see, not just for ourselves, but for our daughters, as well.

It might be obvious, but in her chapter entitled, Fearless About Leadership and Speaking Out: The Power of One, Huffington remarks:

“Before women can lead, we have to confront one of our worst fears: speaking out in the world. Sure, many men are afraid of speaking out, too. But it’s different for women. Nothing makes us more visible and therefore more subject to the criticisms specifically reserved for women in power. Every time we speak out, we might as well slap a target on our backs.”

“Yet it’s impossible to be a leader if we’re not willing to publicly stand up for what we believe. This is clearly a fear women have to learn to overcome. And I know from personal experience that it can be done.”

I think she’s right and I wonder if that’s where all of us women bloggers, including those in the so-called mommy blogosphere, should take her up on her challenge?

I had a chance to pose a few questions to Ms. Huffington for this review. I asked her whether all this blogging that women seem to do could be a good first step toward becoming more fearless in speaking out about issues we care about. In response, she said:

“I do think the blogging revolution will encourage more women to express their opinions. Once they have, and once they start getting the immediate feedback you get with blogging, it will be hard to put the ‘speaking out genie’ back in the bottle.”

I think she’s right. If you’re ready for some inspiration, spend some time with On Becoming Fearless.

Then we can start the revolution.

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Want to win a free copy of On Becoming Fearless? Leave me a comment about your most fearless life moment. I’ll pick one person from the commenters to receive a paperback copy! Also, if you want to win an autographed copy, get the details here at MotherTalk and you can be well on your way to becoming “fearless!”

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7 Responses to “MotherTalk Book Tour — Let’s Get Fearless!”

  1. CPA Mom Says:

    Most of my life it seems (at least to others) that I’ve been fearless. When I was feeling the fear but doing it anyway! Like when I went to Paris for my 30th birthday with people I barely knew just for the chance to go to Paris (church people, but still). Or when I went on a singles website and meet my husband (I had been widowed a year and wanted to get out and meet people) and allowed him, a complete “stranger” to pick me up at my house. Yeah, not smart. He married me anyway. Must have been my fearlessness that attracted him.

  2. impromptublogger Says:

    I am not one of the bravest people you’ll ever meet, although some would say marrying my dh was a risky undertaking. But that book is definitely on my “to read” list and I have a lot of admiration of Arianna. I love her website and the fact that she wasn’t afraid to admit she was wrong about a lot of things and to take criticism as it comes. How cool that you got to interview her!

  3. Her Bad Mother Says:

    Motherhood has made me unfathomably fearful, and fearLESS beyond imagination. Mindblowing.

    Arianna’s book – and mommy blogs! – are good reminders that I’m not alone in this feeling.

  4. Janet Green Says:

    When I was pregnant with my one and only child, I was a gung-ho careerist, positive I’d want to return to the workforce and welcoming the opportunity to balance work and family.

    But there was a moment, when my daughter was about 3 days old, where my husband made a comment about “all the things she’ll see in technology after you and I are dead and gone.” For some reason (probably post-natal hormones!), that remark hit me very hard – I became fixated on the notion that something was going to happen to either her or me before she was grown, so that I would not get to see her grow up. It was nearly paralyzing – I cried a lot, became overly sentimental about silly small things, and had a horrible time settling on a daycare option for her, because all of a sudden I no longer wanted to return to work.

    I did go back to work, and worked for three years before finally, thankfully, being “down-sized” – at which point I took the opportunity to start a home-based business so I could spend more time with the little girl whose childhood I felt I was missing.

    Arianna and I do not share political viewpoints, but if she is writing about ‘being fearless’ and becoming more vocal about our opinions as women, then the premise of the book is solid and I would welcome the opportunity to give it a read. Thank you for the opportunity!

  5. Andrea Says:

    The most fearless thing I’ve done was trusting my instincts when I met a man over the phone who lived two states away from me. He is now my husband, and if I’d listened to my friends and family when they told me not to trust him or the feelings I had for him, I would have missed out on my soulmate. I transferred schools to be closer to him, which turned out to be a good decision given that I feel I got a better education from the school I transferred to than the one I was attending. It taught me that I could trust my gut and that I could go anywhere and make it on my own. I should be cautious but not let that caution get in the way of living my life on my terms. At the time, meeting people online was a stigma that meant no relationship beginning without being in person first was a valid relationship. I was able to trust in myself and my judgment of people enough to politely ignore those telling me I was nuts and/or stupid by pursuing a relationship with a guy I’d only seen in pictures.

  6. Lawyer Mama Says:

    My most fearless moment in the big picture sense, was quitting my job and moving across the country to D.C. to go to law school. There’s nothing like leaving your entire life behind to generate a little fear.

    Leaving aside the big picture life altering move, I think of one specific fearless moment from my childhood. A quiet shy little don’t-rock-the-boat 9 year old Lawyer Mama stood up for a boy getting picked on and taunted during recess. And the bullies listened to me! It’s given me the courage to speak up for the rest of my life.

  7. Cool Shoes Says:

    Fearless for me meant facing my child’s multiple developmental delays, even when my husband, relatives, and his (soon-to-be-former) pediatrician pooh-poohed my initial insistence that something was wrong. Demanding a referral to the neurologist, paying for tests the evaluations insurance wouldn’t cover and we could barely afford, re-arranging my life to accommodate 4-5 therapy sessions each week and completing the at-home exercises with my son — with no gaurantee any of it would work — looking back, maybe this was fearless, but I think I was motivated by plain old fear. The fear every mother feels that if she does not follow her gut and do what she just knows is right for her child, then what? Fear motivates mothers, makes us fearless, if that’s the right word. My mother just used to call it being stubborn. I’ll take that moniker.


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