From fear of judgment at the gym during “resolution season” to fear of failure when asking for a raise, all of us deal with fear every single day. One of my big goals at this time in my life is to live fearlessly.
About 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety (according to the professionals). Even if you haven’t been clinically diagnosed, you’ve most likely felt the effects of anxiety in your everyday life. There’s a reason that self-help guidance is one of the most popular genres on the market right now—we all want to learn how to live fearlessly.
I believe that being true to yourself is a tremendous act of fearlessness. In a world defined by the number of “Likes” you can get, it can be hard for all of us to live our truth (it can be hard just to find it!) But with practice, self-love, and a willingness to challenge yourself, you can achieve it.
Stop Worrying About Other People
This is easier said than done, for sure. It takes practice to outlearn everything we’ve been taught about acceptance by others. It took me 29 years to get to a place where I don’t care about others opinions. Sometimes we think that if we don’t care what others think, we have to develop a big, bold personality that makes other people uncomfortable, just to get our point across. That’s just not true!
I’ve suffered from binge eating disorder for years (BED) and am happily now in recovery. I suffered in silence, afraid of what the people around me would think. Coming out about my disorder and seeking help from my community was one of my proudest moments. It was a true act of fearlessness to confess my personal demon to the world, no matter the consequences. I consider it one of my greatest accomplishments.
Take A Chance—Don’t Let Fear Paralyze You
Fear of judgment, of people staring at me, and of being turned away from connections with other people kept me alone for years. I let my worries keep me at home instead of accepting an invitation to go out and meet new people.
Being fearful of what might happen when you take a chance is truly paralyzing. What would happen if you stepped out on faith and took a risk? Say that you have a dream of setting up a meeting with your company’s founder to discuss some ideas you have to help boost business. You’re afraid she’ll reject you or that your voice won’t matter. What’s the worst-case scenario in your mind? Now ask yourself, how likely is that to really happen? You might find that logic can turn your fears into make-believe nightmares.
Challenge Yourself To Live Fearlessly, Right Now
What are the big, worst-case scenario fears holding you back? I encourage you to write them down (even if writing isn’t really your thing.) Write down your big life goals. Apply for that dream job? Start your own business? Move across the country? Think big! Write down every fearful thought that comes to mind when you think of all the reasons you “can’t.” Then, make a list of all the things that could go right!
I challenge you today to take one step toward your goals. Buy your business domain name, or say something nice about yourself. Take one fearless step toward your own greatness today and, no matter how it turns out, remember to grow from it. Failure is not the end. And sometimes, taking a chance on what you want is exactly what you need to create momentum toward big success.
There is no better time than right now to join NEDA’s Fearless Challenge! Is there that one thing you have always wanted to do but something has been holding you back? Maybe it’s facing your fear of heights, singing in front of a crowd, skydiving, or something as simple as posting an unedited selfie. Whatever that one thing is, now is your chance! Join the campaign by visiting myneda.org/fearless.
Ryan Sheldon is founder of Confessions of a Binge Eater, a blog he created to share his journey with binge eating disorder (BED). Ryan hopes his story will help others suffering from BED overcome shame and embarrassment, as well as gain back control over food.