October 16, 2011

A good portion of the world is motivated by fear. This form of motivation is unsustainable. Our intentions change when fear is in the equation. If we want to be free, we need to fear LESS.

I’m in San Francisco with Nike for the Nike Women’s marathon. The vibe in this city at the moment is indescribable. There’s sense of energy, among twenty-two thousand people, that lends extreme unity yet fierce individuality. Basically, we’re celebrating ourselves. Together. That’s why I participate. I run daily because running is my religion. I run marathons, and half marathons as in this case, because of the celebration and life landmark. This marathon is particularly symbolic and timely for me.

Five months ago, I learned I had a golf ball-sized lump in my breast. (How the HECK did I miss that? Must have been too wrapped up in my high class problems to notice??) So I drew upon this sense of power I had been fostering and a feeling I had been practicing: Fearlessness.

A few years ago, I decided to leave my comfy corporate job and do my own thing in the spirit of coloring outside the lines (without crossing the line). I wanted to be free, design my own day and conquer new things. Reflecting back, that first fearless step off the ledge into the unknown entrepreneurial world was one of the most valuable steps I’ve ever taken. As a result, that feeling became addictive and applicable to all aspects of life. From last minute skydiving trips to speaking in front of thousands of people or initiating a very tough conversation with someone. I began to practice being fearless like it was a sport.

Many doctors, tests, appointments, biopsies and a recent surgery later, things are looking pretty good. Still have some challenges to work through but who doesn’t. I’m fortunate for my scar as it will always remind me to be fearless.

So, how does one practice the art of fearlessness? We have to be open. Willing. We have to be so open that we feel vulnerable. Then we get comfortable with that feeling and we step it up, welcoming more adversity and more of the unknown, more often. It takes focus, fierce commitment and practice.

We also have to realize the difference between fearlessness and recklessness. Fearlessness is controlled power stemmed from human will and recklessness is being irresponsible. Warning: When the line between fearless and reckless gets blurred, trouble ensues. (Trust me, and my tough reckless-inspired lessons.) It happens and it has to happen if we want to nail fearlessness. Sometimes we’re going to miss the mark but trust the process.

The magic number to be an expert at anything is 10,000 hours. That’s 416 days. Which means you could be a fearless expert by next December. That badge deserves a spot on your LinkedIn profile.

So, why am I writing this? Had I not practiced or been conditioned for fearlessness prior to this golf ball episode; I believe my life would look very different today.

Here’s my fearless wish:

Larry Fitzgerald, NFL rockstar and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, lost his mom to breast cancer several years ago and he’s tweeting for a cure. Larry is donating ten cents for every new Twitter follower he receives during the month of October.

Click here and click the follow button. If you don’t have a twitter account, now’s the time. You can make a difference. Also, Larry is donating $1,000 per catch and $10,000 per touchdown this month toward breast cancer research. So cheer for him on the field! (He had eight receptions last week.)

I’m fortunate to be able to run in the Nike Marathon but some women are unable to join. Give Larry a follow. Help a sister out. This isn’t just a charity follow though; he’s a super nice and inspiring guy. A solid follow. Win. Win.

Be fearless. Be free.

Big thanks to DEAR WORLD for the Fearless photo above. If you aren’t familiar with the inspiring work they’re doing around the world, check them out here.

Play-by-play at the Nike Women’s marathon:

Fearless videosphotos and music.

Photo above: My friend Heidi Burgett & I at the Nike Women’s Run the Runway event in San Fran a few nights ago. Through Facebook, Nike invited young women from across the nation to share their story and share why they should get to Run the Runway here this weekend. Nike selected amazing young individuals who walked off that runway more confident. They will no doubt remember the evening for the rest of their lives.

I took this photo in Santa Monica a few days before surgery. We are all a result of the thoughts we have.

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