The last 2 years have been extremely tough on everyone. No matter who we are we have had to learn how to live, study, work and play differently. It seems that just as we feel we have this virus sussed out it throws us a curve ball and back we go into another lockdown or deal with a different varient. I believe that this has led to a lot of us becoming fearful and somewhat unknowing of how we should live our life or even what life should be like (even if we have to change things up.)
I believe that I learned how to be fearless while growing up. I don’t mean the type of fearlessness of doing things like jumping out of airplanes. What I am talking about is being fearless when it comes to tackling change or failure and doing things in a different way. Lets face it we have all learned to do things differently so now that we are slowly coming back to the face to face world are we so fearful of a different type of change.
I really think that it is our fear of change and/or failure that hampers us and the story I am about to tell you is a bit different than dealing with Covid but it is about a huge change in my mothers life. One that she grabbed with both hands, not that there wasn’t some type of fear there but it was a huge change for her and the rest of her life.
My mother is a prime example of fearlessness. At the young age of 20 she left the small town of Smooth Rock Falls in far northern Ontario to be a teacher in the big city of Toronto. A year later she saw an advertisement in the Toronto Star newspaper for policewomen. This was 1957, and at the time, she was only 21 years old. This was certainly not something that women usually did as a profession, but she saw this as an exciting, but scary new challenge.
She was accepted and started her 3 months of training, one of only 4 women in the class and on the 6th of October 1958 she was sworn in as the 14th woman ever hired by the Toronto Police Force. She was excited and nervous all at the same time, she was in a big new city and this was a huge change from teaching and the small town of Smooth Rock Falls! But she never thought about fear, change or failure, just the opposite…the excitement, the transformation and the success of a new career. I think that this knowledge of what she had accomplished really rubbed off on me.
I don’t think I was ever fearful of change, my life has revolved around change. Sure I was fearful of failing, especially at school, but it also seemed to me that unless you never experienced fear and failure along with change you wouldn’t succeed.
I think the older we get the more fearful we tend to get, especially now when we are coming out of lockdowns and dealing with Covid. Most of us have been stuck inside not having to deal with the real world except via modern technology and we now have to start dealing with real people face to face and possibly contracting Covid. Oh no there it is again another change and the unknown. We just got used to working from home, using zoom or teams and now we are being asked to go back to the office with so many rules around it…wear a mask…stay 1.5m away…use hand sanitiser….clean down our desks and the list goes on. But it’s only when we learn to change the way we have been used to doing things and realising that failure is a good step towards success that we will become fearless. There are ways to train yourself to not be so fearful and it is only you that can do it for yourself.
Here are my 5 simple ways to become fearless:
- Think of the worse case scenario of what could actually happen. Usually this worse case won’t actually eventuate, especially if you change what you have to. Make sure you put all your fears in perspective. In the grand scheme of things if we get rid of our negative thoughts and concentrate on the positive it will put you in a much better headspace and in a years time you will wonder why you were ever fearful.
- Be willing to make mistakes and look silly. If I worried about how silly I look riding a tricycle I wouldn’t be travelling the world and competing like I am. If you make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and try differently the next time, you will learn that mistakes aren’t to be feared, they are to be looked upon as learning.
- Beware that you have fear and be willing to ask for help. Depending on what you are fearful about there is no doubt there is someone out there that you can ask for assistance, to talk you through the how’s and why’s of what you are fearful about. Don’t keep it bottled up and deal with it inwardly, that will just make things worse.
- Don’t doubt yourself. When we start doubting ourselves we make fear appear which then makes us doubt ourselves more. If you are starting out doing something new whether that be a job, sport, new hobby or new way of life post Covid, remember that you are learning and along the way you will fail at some aspect. However don’t doubt your ability to succeed, it won’t happen overnight but with perseverance and fearlessness you will succeed. And don’t forget someone else’s success may be different from yours. So make sure you know what your success looks like.
- Be willing to pivot. Now I know this word has been used a lot in the last 20 months but it is so right. Lets say you have tried to do something, you have failed and now you are fearful of trying again. Well before you give up completely think of why you weren’t successful and think of how you could maybe do it a bit different…in other words pivot! Try it differently and you may find success.
“Courage and fear go hand in hand. We all face fear, but finding the courage to reach for our goals comes from within. Fulfilment and success doesn’t come from staying within your comfort zone. You have to use that fear to make an impact.”
-Carol Cooke AM – Finding Your Inner Gold