Fearless isn’t what you think.

I’ve always thought of fearlessness as the willingness to bungee jump, go rock climbing, swim with sharks, or drive a racecar.  Google fearless and you’ll see images of skydiving, jumping across canyons, tight-rope walking, cliff-jumping, and a little Taylor Swift.

My favorite images are the one in the title of the post and this one.

I have a fear of heights and I’m a little claustrophobic.  Sometimes on the way home I panic about all the terrible things that might have happened to my family or pets while I was away.  Then when I’m home I panic about what might be happening to the animals at work.

Yet people still call me fearless.  I try and approach life like the girl in the picture.  Head up.  Shoulders back.  Face in the wind and ready.

I work with a macaw with quite literally zero self confidence.  Loud noises, wind, familiar people, strangers, other birds, stairs, the ground, the sky, all of these things are scary for this bird.

One day I was walking him to his exhibit on my hand and a co-worker popped out of back up area.  This poor parrot jumped, flapped, and thought really hard about flying away.

“It’s alright, you’re fine.” I said reassuringly.

My co-worker laughed and said, “Come on Treetop, you’re a dinosaur!”

I laughed a lot but I remember it in times I’m a bit fearful, sometimes you have to give yourself a little pep talk and remember you’ve got what it takes to face the challenge!

I asked my friends and family to share their stories of fearlessness. The recounted stories of killing spiders, holding snakes, lighting off fireworks with my dad, bear hugging sharks, and moving away from home.

None of these people jumped out of planes, tight rope walked across the grand canyon, or went cliff diving.  They just walked up to their fear, put their face in the wind, pulled their shoulders back, reminded themselves they were a dinosaur, and went for it.

Fearlessness isn’t taking risks.  Fearlessness isn’t reckless. You can be fearless and still feel fear.  In a podcast J.J. Peterson said, “Fearless is moving forward with wisdom in the face of fear.”

Wisdom. Information. Knowledge.  These are your weapons against risk, recklessness, stupidity, and fear.  I have a process when I’m faced with a situation that scares me. I ask myself the following questions.

  1. Can it kill me or someone else?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. What information do I need to gather to help me move forward?
  4. What will happen if I do it?
  5. What will happen if I don’t?

Then I look at myself in the mirror and say, BE THE DINOSAUR!

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