On Becoming Fearless — Part 2

Mon, October 16, 2006

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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, but was such a dysfunctional and demeaning workplace that it literally made me physically ill.

As women, I think we often lament, as I did for my birthday, about wanting change in our lives, but we find ourselves at a loss and craving some positive inspiration when it comes to finding the 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 her new book, 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 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.

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? If you’re in need of some inspiration, spend some time with On Becoming Fearless.

Then we can start the revolution.

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6 Responses to “On Becoming Fearless — Part 2”

  1. mad muthas Says:

    oooh – glad to hear she’s written something so sensible. i’ve always thought she might be one of the (many) people i’d like to slap … but i’m going way back to when she was plain old ariana stassi … never mind. my sister was at cambridge with her and then she (not my sister) went super high profile in the uk as a cultural talking head and general thinking-man’s totty.
    go ariana!

  2. Her Bad Mother Says:

    It’s a great book. She spoke about it at BlogHer, and it was *absolutely* inspirational.

    And I think that mommybloggers are already leading this revolution – our blogs, most of them, are consistently speaking truth to power, laying bare the struggles and achievements of ordinary women, mothers, living with and overcoming fear (is there anything scarier than motherhood?) on a daily basis.

  3. Nancy Says:

    Did you really live in Utica? Wow, I think we have lived parallel lives in many senses. I will have to e-mail you offline.

    I’m thinking I should go find that book and read it. Sounds like the kind of pumping up I need right about now.

  4. Lawyer Mama Says:

    Ooh! I have her book right now and am about to read it. Glad to hear it’s so inspirational. And I think I’ll have to take her up on that challenge.

  5. PunditMom Says:

    Yup … Utica for about two years! The only time I’ve been claustrophobic because of snow piled up along the roads!

    But, hey … there was the Matt’s beer to make up for it!

  6. Honest Abby Says:

    well well, another group of mindless twats finding solice in worthless prattle, ladies if all you can do is praise an idiot then open yourself to CNN, it too is full of mindless twats, she was a conservative before she found money in the liberal world, ask her sponsers, you know those liberal money lenders in NYC.


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