The BIG Dare

“Most people live and die with their music still unplayed.  They never dare to try.”     ~ Mary Kay Ash

As an advocate of women’s leadership, my goal is to connect women with information, tools, resources and people to help them nurture and promote both their professional and personal self. The resource pool is wide and deep, but it’s only part of the story. 

All the information in the world – as great and powerful as the source or concept may be – will stand motionless unless you actually do something with it.  For some things, it’s easy enough to move forward.  For other things, just the thought of it can be downright paralyzing.  If fear is the beast holding you back – fear of humiliation, fear of failure or even as Marianne Williamson says, fear that we are powerful beyond measure –  then now is the time to face it head on.

So how do you muster up the courage and dare to do something you only imagined?  Brian Tracy, self-help author and speaker, captures it best:

Control Your Fear

First Rule: “Everyone is afraid.” You’re afraid, I’m afraid, everyone you meet is afraid in some way, often in many ways. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is not absence of fear; it is control of fear, mastery of fear.” The brave person is the person who acts in spite of his or her fear, who faces the fear, feels the fear and moves forward regardless.

Confront Your Fear

Second Rule: “Fears diminish and lose their power over you as you confront them and move toward them; conversely, every time you back away from a fear situation, the fear grows and becomes more powerful.” The only way to develop courage is to consciously and continuously make a habit of confronting your fear of treating every fear-inducing situation as a challenge and as an opportunity to become stronger, more resolute.

Do The Very Thing You Fear

Third Rule: “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” Psychologists call this the process of “systematic desensitization,” doing it over and over until it holds no fear for you at all.

So What’s Your Big Dare?

Getting out of a meaningless job?  Starting that business you always thought about?  Promoting yourself more?  Making yourself a priority despite what others might think?  Playing the drums?  Running a marathon?  The possibilities are endless.

I invite you – even dare you – to take one small step closer towards just one thing that makes your heart sing.

Need some more inspiration?  Check out this video…

So what’s your BIG Dare?  Let us know in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “The BIG Dare”

  1. Saranya Murthy said:

    I was excited to see you reference Marianne Williamson because I heard her speak at the “I Can Do It” Toronto conference a couple of months ago. I’ve read two excellent books about this topic:

    1) “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers, Ph. D.

    There are 5 Fear Truths introduced in the first chapter of Dr. Jeffer’s book and two of them seem particularly relevant here:

    – “The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.”
    – “Pushing through fear is less frightening than the underlying feeling of helplessness that comes from living with fear”.

    Powerful words 🙂

    2) “Secrets for Happiness Every Woman Should Know” by Barbara de Angelis, Ph.D.

    This is a book with 10 “secrets for happiness” and each chapter discusses one of the secrets in detail. The sixth chapter is titled “Fear will steal your aliveness, so make your courage bigger than your fear.” You can imagine it was an interesting read. The chapter opens with a very eye-opening story that uses some powerful imagery to drive home exactly what fear does to a person’s life. It introduces an interesting idea that fear (in the modern world anyway) was initially born out of love, i.e. a protective mechanism to ensure a person’s survival when s/he was very young. There’s also a neat “And then what?” game to talk out one’s fear (for both adults and children).

    I’ll have to think about what my big dare is – food for thought! Thank you.

  2. Lydia Fernandes said:

    Saranya, thank you for sharing your insights! I love the chapter title of de Angelis’ book: “Fear will steal your aliveness, so make your courage bigger than your fear.” Definitely words to live by.

    I continue to practice mustering up the courage to tackle many items on my list of fears, and I have to say that doing it over and over again makes each subsequent attempt a bit easier. One of my girls is especially good at the “just do it” way of tackling fears and I consider her to be a role model to me in that regard. Sometimes I literally think of her when I’m confronted with a situation where I’m afraid to move forward, and it’s usually just the gentle nudge I need!

    btw, I think a guest blog post on that book is in order 😉

    • Saranya Murthy said:

      You’re welcome, Lydia! You know I love this kind of sharing 🙂

      > btw, I think a guest blog post on that book is in order 😉
      Now _there’s_ my big dare! (Isn’t that something?) I’d love to – thoughts on de Angelis’ book have been fermenting away in my head for the longest time so it would be great to get them down. Let’s make it a reality! Let me know what you think (in terms of guidelines, timelines, length, etc.)

      I love how your daughter inspires you – it reminds me of Louise Hay’s words, “Our children have come to be our teachers.”

      Something that worked for me today is a quote I heard Sean Aiken reference (when he spoke at York University): “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

      Have a wonderful day!

  3. Lydia Fernandes said:

    Love from Twitter…..

    RT @JenGPhotog: RT @LydiaFernandes: What’s your BIG Dare? http://bit.ly/oe8FXU

    RT @SarnayaMurthy What’s your BIG Dare? https://passionliveshere.wordpress.com/the-big-dare/

  4. Fantastic post and topic, Lydia!

    Fear is such a deep subject with vast implications.

    At its core, fear is indeed borne of self-love but throughout history has created great tragedy. We need to understand the difference between the shades of fear: healthy (self-protection) or unhealthy (paralyzing or even phobic) and being honest with ourselves about what is behind the fear.

    Deeper still is understanding that most of our fears are not rooted in reality.
    When we look at what’s behind the fear and what’s behind that and so on, we expose the fear for what it is – more often than not it’s a lot of wasted time, worry and dysfunctional drama. The time spent fretting that the “boogey man” is under the bed, would be better spent analyzing the facts or getting on with the task.

    It may sound extreme but I have concluded that fear which is not rooted in real self-preservation is toxic if not outright evil. The most unhealthy fears are at the root of, every lost potential, lost relationships, terror, crime and war. We fear that which we don’t understand; if we have arachnophobia we want to kill all spiders. If we don’t understand a different culture or peoples and think they threaten us, we seek to dominate or annihilate them. Many of the resources and exercises that you and Saranya have shared are great illuminators and desensitizers to understand, expose and dissolve fear. Another favorite resource is, “The Places that Scare You…a guide to fearless in difficult times” by Pema Chodron.

    I have found that when I am most bold or fearless are the times that I am rooted in conviction of my values, belief in my abilities, purpose or passion. They seem to override fear. My big dare: fear getting old. With any luck I’ll feel the fear and do it anyway…it beats the alternative.

    Thanks for making us think and for such great encouragement, Lydia.

    • Lydia Fernandes said:

      My dear, Sweet Jeanne……as always, I am honoured to have you share your words of wisdom with us all!

      “We need to understand the difference between the shades of fear: healthy (self-protection) or unhealthy (paralyzing or even phobic) and being honest with ourselves about what is behind the fear.”
      – When I finally took the plunge to start my business several years ago, the courage came from exactly what you suggest here. Standing behind my fear was the feeling of not being “smart enough”, though on the surface it presented itself as “How am I going to manage it all?” I realized there was a deeper issue when I had mentors in my life who walked me through exactly how to keep organized and were there to answer any questions and offer support….and I still refused to move forward. So while “managing it” was an issue, it wasn’t the thing that was truly holding me back.

      “I have found that when I am most bold or fearless are the times that I am rooted in conviction of my values, belief in my abilities, purpose or passion.”
      – I love this statement so much that I am posting it on my office wall……..and Twitter 🙂

      Love you Jeanne!!

    • Saranya Murthy said:

      I enjoyed reading through your post, Jeanne. Glad to see a book title by Pema Chodron; Barbara de Angelis identified Chodron as one of her favourite authors in “Secrets for Happiness Every Woman Should Know.” This is a Pema Chodron quote I remember from that book:

      “Hidden within the poison of our pain is our liberation.” — Pema Chodron

      I thought this spoke well to the topic being discussed here; what I took away from the above quote was: once you face your fear, regardless of the outcome, you are free.

      Jeanne, I was also taken with this statement of yours:

      “It may sound extreme but I have concluded that fear which is not rooted in real self-preservation is toxic if not outright evil.”

      It doesn’t sound that extreme to me at all; in fact, it almost seems a little mystic because a similar idea is expressed in “The Blue Castle”, a fiction novel published in the early 20th century (IIRC) by Lucy Maud Montgomery (one of my favourite authors. Many will recognize her as the author of the children’s classic “Anne of Green Gables”. “The Blue Castle” is unique because it can be enjoyed by both children and adults, even though the characters are primarily adults). Here is the quote from “The Blue Castle”:

      “Fear is the original sin. All evil in the world has as its root the fact that someone is afraid of something.” — L.M. Montgomery

      Wisdom stretching across the ages…

      “The Blue Castle” also contains the following lighter quote, which relates well to Jeanne’s statement that we fear that which we don’t understand:

      “When he could not understand a thing, he condemned it. Simplicity itself!” — L.M. Montgomery

      There is a shade of Jane Austen in her humour, isn’t there?

      Regarding this next statement by Jeanne:

      “I have found that when I am most bold or fearless are the times that I am rooted in conviction of my values, belief in my abilities, purpose or passion. ”

      Beautifully expressed! I have found this to be true for myself also. I understood it for the first time upon reading “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He states that when we are in flow, we forget our self, participate wholly in the experience and emerge from the experience to discover to our amazement that our self has grown.

      I would recommend reading “The Blue Castle” as a way to explore these ideas, see what happens when we let go of fear and enjoy some escapist entertainment at the same time.

      Lydia, thanks so much for giving us a forum to discuss these ideas! I’m grateful for it 🙂

  5. Saranya Murthy said:

    Here’s an inspiring story of a 14-year-old Torontonian who followed her big dare. Sharing it here; perhaps it will inspire others to take their big dare.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/torontocouncil/article/1032536–video-wild-applause-for-teen-s-2-a-m-speech-for-libraries

    It is challenging enough for a shy introverted teenager to give a speech to her classmates during school hours when she is presumably refreshed and energetic. For the same girl to address the City Council’s Executive Committee (which she knows to be hostile to her agenda) and a roomful of strangers at 2 AM takes a _lot_ of courage. It shows tremendous personal growth. Good for her!

    • Lydia Fernandes said:

      I thought of you immediately when the library issue first surfaced, Saranya. The library serves so many needs for a wide range of individuals and families, and this girl’s emotional plea really brought that to the forefront. The video is a perfect example of a BIG Dare that is, indeed, very inspiring. Thanks for sharing that story here Saranya!

  6. Saranya Murthy said:

    Here is a great resource about facing your fear – “The Five Fear Truths” by Dr. Susan Jeffers: http://www.susanjeffers.com/home/5truths.cfm

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