So I have been thinking about fearlessness all week since sending my 26 month old twins off to daycare/preschool this week and how they just love it and seem to be thriving - total fearlessness. Deepak Chopra says there are no coincidences so I take that to heart! Everything happens for a reason – which leads me to this story.
A friend of a friend called last summer and asked if we’d be open to housing and feeding a 17-year-old French girl named Marion, in exchange for some babysitting for two weeks. She wanted to experience America and work on her English – which I must say is quite impressive for an 11th grader. Her father has given me strict instructions to ONLY speak to her in English – I speak fluent French. Anyhow, Marion arrived, tired after a long flight, but cheerful and adorable all the same. I was amazed at her confidence and ability to be relaxed with total strangers in a new country. She appeared to be fearless and I admired that in her. She saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
As I offered her a late dinner and we started talking, I was reminded of my own similar experience at 16. I was bored with my High School and I think my mom knew she needed to save me from myself – or perhaps what might be waiting for me around the corner - or that is my interpretation at least. During the summer following 10th grade, my mom asked if I wanted to go study in France for my junior year. She had explored some options and through some friends had found a family for me to stay with in the small town of Carcassonne in southern France. I immediately accepted and found myself on a plane to Paris on my 16th birthday. I had studied French for years but really couldn’t put a sentence together. Here I was, suddenly living with a strange family and trying to communicate while my nose was buried in a dictionary. I ended up loving my new family and my life there. I had a real transformation from a naive child, into a young woman who had a purpose in life.
Before leaving for France I had never done anything in my life that I considered to be fearless. This moment changed my life forever. While I wasn’t aware of the fearlessness at the time, because I was terrified, I came to understand later on what the significance of just getting on the plane meant. I felt very lonely for the first few months as I really couldn’t communicate with anyone. Being essentially alone really forced me to look my fear in the face and decide that I was bigger. I wanted to succeed for the first time in my life and was prepared to do what ever it took to get there. This was my first entrepreneurial moment and I didn’t even realize it.
I have often drawn on the strengths that I discovered in myself while living in France. I know that when I want to make something happen that I just have to acknowledge the fear and accept it. Once you do that you are unstoppable.
Are you ready to be fearless?
Write them down, acknowledge them, and accept them as part of your process.
What is holding you back from moving forward?
- Are you procrastinating? Cleaning your desk again?
- Are you afraid to share your idea?
- Are you afraid to take the first step?
- What would happen if you just did it?
- Are you wondering where the money will come from?
- Are you afraid to call a buyer?
- Are you afraid to pitch an editor?
- Are you afraid to be famous?
- Are you afraid to need help?
These are all natural fears, but fears that can stop you from realizing your dreams and living the life you want to live.
Be fearless this week and take a bold step forward.
Sarah Shaw is the founder of Entreprenette.com, a consulting company that works with entrepreneurs in bringing their product to market. Sarah grew her own million dollar company with her famous “Pinked” handbag and has applied her expertise and knowledge to her consulting practice. Sarah has been featured in the LA Times, WWD, Oprah Magazine, as well as on Access Hollywood and regularly speaks to inventors and entrepreneurs nationally.