Why are we afraid? I don't mean the fear of snakes, heights or Pittsburgh tunnels. I'm thinking more about the fear of the future, fear of publicly speaking or the fear of what life might bring.
Regularly, I get up, put on my fearless britches and my fearless smile, but in reality I still fear that someone will find out that my entire life is fraudulent. I fear that I’m not fit enough and I’m afraid that I’m not smart enough. For my male friends, we tend to live under this fearless guise. We’re meant to be strong, stoic and unafraid, but I know this isn’t true for all of us. We’re all emotional beings that move, feel, think, laugh and cry, and we should give ourselves permission to live as we are without fearing judgment. Even though this may be common sense, it doesn’t stop fear from laying in our minds like still water. The thought that “yes, we need to feel more and fear less” may make sense, but in order to get the fear to move, we need to use it to move ourselves.
For me, it’s drive that comes from being aware of my fears and it’s success that comes from my fear itself. I have failed hundreds of times because of my fears only to come back stronger the next time as I learn more about myself. The fear of being fake, poor, not smart enough or fit enough drives me to want to not only move mountains, but to soar above the mountains every day and prove my fears wrong.
A phrase that gives great meaning to my life both professionally and personally is “You Matter” and these two words are so applicable to this conference and my place in it. Regardless of gender or identification or age or race, you do truly matter. Your goals and aspirations matter. And, even more importantly, your fears and your efforts to overcome them matter.
During my presentation on October 9, I will be talking about how I used (and continue to use) my mental fears as fuel to keep myself moving towards the things I love the most in my life and how we can transcend our biggest setbacks when we acknowledge that every bit of ourselves matters. Beyond the mountains of fear is a beautiful world waiting for all of us. Step from behind the darkness of fear and feel the warmth of new opportunities and possibilities across your face. Be Fearless, Move Mountains and Soar!