I have a current professional obsession with fear. I’m currently devouring every single book that I can get on fear, its psychological implications, and the impact on the workplace. Before I can talk about fear, we need to talk about being fearless.
Can you think about a time in your life when you were fearless?
Personally, I struggle with getting the guts to really “move”. When I was 20 years old, I decided I was going to go live in Scotland for the summer break between my Sophomore and Junior year of college. I was in that stage of “finding myself” and I thought that Europe might be a good place to go look. I found a host family, and promptly started putting together a plan to live half way across the world for 9 weeks.
Now, I might be from the South, but I’m not the backwoods country bumpkin you might have imagined. My father traveled frequently for work when I was growing up, and I had the opportunity from a young age to travel both stateside and abroad. My parents had exposed me to different thoughts, cultures and languages. I am proud to say they made me very appreciative of the world.
I was still not the type of girl that would do something this bold. I was organized, planned and methodical. Being the poster child of academic, I should have probably been “finding myself” in research and internships.
But, I chose Scotland.
So, at the end of May, my parents took me to the airport, and we said our tearful goodbyes. Even though I had always been independent, I hadn’t spend that long away from home. But it was my test. My refining fire.
As I sat on the back row of my first flight that morning, I needed an extra dose of gumption. I snuck my earbuds in after the pilot asked us to power down our electronics (very scandalous for me the rule follower) and cranked up Tom Petty’s “American Girl” while the flight took off. How fitting.
My summer was not perfect. I spent the first few weeks crying and checking prices for tickets back home. But then, I leaned in and quickly grew to love my host country. I got to have experiences I will never forget and travel to places that most people can only dream of (Scotland is beautiful by the way, if you have a chance, GO).
I did it scared. Because if I hadn’t, I wouldn't have done it.
Is there something in your career that you need to do? A step you need to take?
You may be ready to do it, but you may not. Personally, the best things that have done in my life, I have NOT been fearless. The most important thing you need to know about making a leap? For most leaps, you have to do it scared.