In her book, Becoming Fearless . . . in Love, Work, and Life, Arianna Huffington does an expert job of weaving in her own personal stories and experiences, the wisdom and knowledge of many great female leaders, actors, and writers, and the wisdom and philosophy of the Greeks, Gandhi, Jung, and Goethe. Her writing is fascinating and chock-full of information.
Arianna’s book addresses many common questions with personal candor as well as statistics. What do women fear most? Do women fear different things than men? Is there a path to becoming fearless?
My goal is that we learn together how to become fearless, powerful women of character, integrity, strength and leadership while still retaining all the beautiful qualities that make us women. After you finish reading this book, you will be inspired to lead the world with feminine energy and take your rightful place as cherished partners, competent CEO’s, and beloved mothers, daughters, and sisters.
If I could impact you with only one resounding sentence for you to take away and live your life more abundantly and with joy, confidence, and courage, it would be this:
We are all women feeling universal fears who all have the power and strength within us to live fearless lives and lead the world.
WHAT DO WOMEN FEAR MOST?
- Being assertive
- Looking fat or ugly
- Not being good enough parents
- Speaking in public
- Not attracting great partners
- Losing the partners we already have
- Getting older (and potentially growing old alone, unwanted or undesirable)
- We are afraid for our children
- Going broke (even when our bank accounts are full)
- Leading the charge (because we have been told that take-charge women are unattractive, too masculine, and too independent)
WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO MASTERING OUR FEARS?
1. Improve our self-confidence
Did you know that self-confidence helps us overcome our feelings of “not enough”? Women with a high sense of confidence and self esteem feel better about their bodies and who they are. They are more attractive to their partners. And they are less likely to engage in the comparison game with other females.
Confident women are seen as leaders and influencers. They take on more challenging roles, and they are given higher levels of responsibility. Teaching women how to achieve higher levels of confidence is one of the cornerstones in coaching and educating women. I see it over and over: super competent, resourceful women get stuck and don’t move forward because fear, lack of confidence, or mindset holds them back. (If you want to learn more, check out my resources on strategies to improve confidence.)
2. Support each other more
Understanding the value of a tight network is something that men do well, especially in business. But women have had to compete for so long for maybe one or two token spots at the top that we often forget to support each other. It’s time that we stop competing and criticizing each other and realize that together we are so much more powerful.
3. Accept ourselves
“To truly love another, to truly overcome our fears, there is no alternative but learning to accept ourselves with all our shortcomings.” ~~Arianna Huffington
This may be one of the most powerful pieces of wisdom in this book. In order to love others, serve others at the highest level, and accept and lead others, we must do the hard work to love who we are. When we love who we are at our core . . . flaws and all . . . we are free. And when we are free, we give ourselves permission to show up fully in the world.
4. Use our power as women for good
“The entire point of having power is to use it on behalf of people who don’t.” ~~Patt Morrison
If there’s anything I believe wholeheartedly, it’s that feminine energies will be the solution to many of the world’s problems. When I say feminine energy, let me be clear here. This is not necessarily gender-based and has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Feminine energy exists in both men and women. Abilities like compassion, empathy, collaboration, listening, and caring are emerging as strong leadership traits that are highly effective. Let’s use our power to have great influence. Oprah Winfrey says that power is “the ability to impact with purpose.”
5. Be committed to transforming into the very best version of ourselves
If we commit to our highest purpose, our highest virtues, and our highest morality and actions, then the world around us changes as well. We are all connected, and once we start changing on an individual and community level, we will be able to create a revolution for change on a global scale. There is much that scares us. There is much that stands in the way. We are constantly bombarded by our culture, media, and the world with the message that we’re not enough. We often then believe that we are not meant to lead, build, influence, or rise above.
WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER
Becoming fearless is not about the lack of fear. It’s not about being immune to our emotions and what scares us. Being fearless is about mastering our fear and sing the fuel of fear to step out and be courageous. It’s about having the power and courage to influence and change while still having intimacy, family, and connection to others.
“Was the point of this great social revolution to have corner offices, fat retainers, and retirement accounts? Did we want the right to lead imitation men’s lives? Or did we really want something that we haven’t quite gotten yet, the ability to put our grand stamp on the ethos of the entire world? . . . We’re at a moment of synthesis, of balance, a middle ground. And that is the point at which we realize that work, influence, even power with no countervailing forces, no intimacy, no family, no sense of connection to others, is for many of us no kind of life at all.” Anna Quindlen addressing the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Arianna Huffington is paving the way for us to overcome our fears and not listen to the messages that tell us we can’t do great things. And fourteen years after the publication of this book, I think her message and her work is even more proof. Since the publication of On Becoming Fearless, she has started Thrive Global which offers science-based solutions to stress and burnout and was named to Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders. She serves on multiple boards of large companies and has published several books since this one including The Sleep Revolution.
I challenge you to be more afraid of living a life of regret than a life where we step out, in spite of fear, and make ourselves, each other, our families, and our world a better place. For more resources on how to step out in courage and purpose, join The Smart Better Life Community here!