Dr. Hick is no stranger to fear-based decisions; this year, that’s all going to change. Join us on the journey as we make 2015 the Year of Fearless Living.
For most skiers, the first day of the new ski season is racked with anticipation: wondering what the snow will be like, checking over and over that you still have your gloves, speculating how your new gear will perform. There’s a child-like giddiness that keeps you sleepless the night before, just imagining the possible adventures the upcoming season might hold.
This was not the case for me.
Growing up, I spent an occasional day on the slopes with my family. But after my ninth-grade best friend tore her ACL skiing (and hobbled miserably on crutches for six months), I banished the idea of ever skiing again. Finally, three years ago, I was ready to try again.
Last year was my first full season skiing; I challenged myself to ski at least 10 days. I woke up well before sunrise, fought traffic on I-70, froze my behind off, injured my finger skiing through trees (I don’t recommend this), and loved every minute of it. I totaled 13 ski days and couldn’t wait to get started this year.
My excitement lasted until just after I got off the first ski lift. As I slowly inched my way down the first run–a green, no less (the easiest)–I realized, “I think I forgot how to ski!”
My thoughts grew frantic: “Could this be?!” My heart started racing and I wondered how in the world I would get down the run without skiing into a tree, falling on my face, or worse… taking off my skis and walking down, with my metaphorical tail between my legs.
Well, I got down. And on the way up the second lift, I looked at the child skiers who bombed down the mountain–fearlessly. My ski-mate asked me, “Why don’t you just do what they do, ski without fear?”
What a novel concept! Practicing fearlessness. It was an intention that had been knocking at my door for some time, so I decided to apply it to skiing. I stepped outside of my head and let go of my fears–of getting hurt, going too fast, losing control–and just let myself point downhill. My first day’s skiing of the season became my best day yet. I still fell, but my confidence grew tenfold.
As I reflected on how fear had once entirely disabled my desire to ski and was now trying to hinder my ability to ski, I began to think of the ways fear limits our ability to be the best version of ourselves. How does fear influence how we love, learn, succeed, trust, grow, communicate, save, and change?
Even more importantly, how could practicing fearlessness in all areas of life—relationships, family, work, health, etc.—change, enrich, and deepen our lives in unimaginable ways?
2015 Resolution – A Year of Fearless Living
While I’m not big on resolutions–mostly because I used to hate failing–I think this one has my name on it. Furthermore, it’s been my experience, personally and professionally, that if an invitation like this keeps appearing, it will go right on appearing until we address it.
I’ve also learned that failure is a good thing. Yes, that’s right. Failure is good. Failing indicates trying. The only way to make progress is if you accept that failure may (will) happen, but that it’s also the surest road to success.
What if you could approach all things in life–family, relationships, fun, health, sex, money, etc.–with fearlessness? How would setting this intention change your year, your decade, your life?
I am not sure what internal and external changes will take place, but I do know change will happen. And, my gut is telling me that it may be big. Like, real big.
What is Fearless Living?
Fearless living may conjure up lots of images and ideas, including fears about fearless living. Let me explain.
Fearless living is not reckless living. Fearless is approaching healthy, growth-worthy relationships, behaviors, and tasks without fear, or sometimes, with fear but the will to move past that fear quickly. It is strategic, mindful, and growth-inspiring.
It is not deciding to quit your stable job without planning for the next step, spending your life’s savings on a fancy new car, or indulging in every sexual desire with whomever, wherever.
It is acknowledging you’re not happy, taken seriously, or growing in your current situation and then thoughtfully planning and making a change.
It is choosing to live in the moment and planning that dream vacation, as opposed to penny-pinching every last cent because you think your bank balance means everything.
It is deciding to express honestly and openly what you desire in the bedroom, asking that person out on a date that you see every morning at Starbucks, or allowing yourself truly to trust and/or commit to a partner.
It may be that you finally get real with yourself as you recognize the one big way (or a million tiny ways) that fear is holding you back.
The Next Steps…
Each month of 2015 will be dedicated to helping you begin to practice fearlessness in your life. The word practice is intentional, as this may be difficult at first. It may be easier some months and more challenging in others (you will begin to notice your fear blind spots). Perfection is not the goal. Failure will help you see your roadblocks, reassess, and try again.
The Fearlessness Begins Now…January’s Goals
To get started with 12 months of Fearless Living, I want you to do three things this month:
1. Journal about all the areas in which you believe fear may be blocking your road to a fulfilled, happy, enriching life. What has fear held you back from doing, being, developing, pursuing, etc.?
Don’t worry, your journaling does not have to be some profound literary piece, just a written form of your thoughts. These notes will give you a baseline of where fear currently holds you hostage. It will be helpful to see where you began and where you concluded at the end of 2015.
2. In order to assess your progress and process, determine a way(s) to document your experience each day, week, or month of the year. In The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin uses a Resolution Chart to keep track of her implementation. You may be someone who loves that sort of thing, or you may want to paint or journal about it. You can also find a new medium from month to month, if you desire. Just find a meaningful way to capture your journey.
3. January’s Challenge: Begin by asking yourself, “How could practicing fearlessness change my life and help me become the best version of myself?”
Looking forward to a year of Fearless Living! Stay tuned…