Fearless vs. Fear Less: A New Approach to Facing Your Fears

BY Kelly Epperson        March 6, 2015

“Fearless” is the buzzword of our era. Oh, to be “a fearless woman.” Fearless in love, in business, in life. We are pummeled with advice and memes and songs on living fearlessly.

The sentiment has proper intention yet when we do feel that edge of fear and our tummies go spinny and our hands go clammy and our hearts go pumping wildly, we think something is wrong with us. We feel we aren’t living up to the fearless wisdom being bantered about.

We don’t have to. I am far from fearless. I sing the songs. I read the quotes with images of women with flowing hair and their arms outstretched to the heavens. I have bought myself greeting cards that say: Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.

I’m pretty good with truthful and gentle, but fearless? Forget it.

The fearless frenzy serves a purpose. Anything to get us to take that next step is good. And that is all we have to do. Fear, in all its various drapings, cloaks us, clings to us, and coaxes us to hold back.

Fear is trying to keep us “safe” and frankly, safe is not the end goal. And it’s the ultimate paradox. One of the reasons I love my husband is because I feel safe with him. I have never felt so safe, so free to be me. And that is the epitome of truly being fearless.

We need a new buzzword. How about we simply break it into two words: Fear less.

You will still feel fear, but with practice, you will feel it less. Its effects will not be as intense and fear will lose its vice grip on you.

It’s an ongoing dance, feeling the fear and venturing out on to the dance floor of life anyway, with a spinning tummy, clammy hands and pounding heart. Start small. I had a large and long-standing fear about singing in public. The first time I did karoake is a huge milestone for me. I am no diva and have no pipes. I don’t belt it out and no one says, “Wow, she’s good.”

It took over forty years to get me to pick up a mic. Now if the opportunity comes to sing a little ditty, I fear it less.

Going to networking groups or a party where I don’t know anyone, I fear it less. Taking the stage to give a keynote, I fear it less. Launching a new program or project, I fear it less. Writing personal stuff, I fear it less. Investing in me, I fear it less. Telling someone what I really feel, I fear it less.

We won’t live a fearless life. It’s simply about not letting fear be the driving force.

When we let fear be the driver, we go through life with the brakes on. We hold back, and that is our greatest dream killer.

We need to comprehend that we are safe, even though we may feel fear. How many times have you heard a bump in the night and felt fear? Yet you were safe in your bed and there was absolutely no threat to your welfare. Unless something truly is a threat to your welfare, why are you holding back? Why are you letting fear take the reins?

Your assignment: Today do one tiny thing that seems a bit scary. Maybe you talk. Maybe you walk. Maybe you sing. Maybe you write. Maybe you dance. Maybe you throw away the junk in the basement. Maybe you smile and reach out.

Tomorrow, do it again. The next day, do it again. And again. Then again. You will fear it less. That’s the goal.

You don’t have to be fearless to be successful. But you will be successful, and much happier in love, business, and life, if you fear less.


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Kelly Epperson

Kelly Epperson, a former IRS agent, is now an agent of joy. Kelly has written 25+ books, some for New York Times bestselling authors, one that sold over 3 million copies. She writes a weekly newspaper column and is a judge for the Erma Bombeck essay competition. Kelly is founder of the Joyful Living Institute and Birth That Book with the mission to awaken your dreamer and help you fulfill your dreams. Kelly also founded the Happiness Club of Loves Park and is a member of AATH (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor).

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