Be Brave, Not Fearless

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” ~ Sheryl Sandberg

I have a confession to make. I've been pretty terrified my entire life. 

At age 22, I drove across the country from North Carolina to Los Angeles (I had never been west of Tennessee) to start a new life with $800 in my pocket, no friends there and definitely no job. I was terrified I wouldn't make it. 

At age 27, I sailed a boat out of San Diego harbor and travelled north into Canada and back to the US for six months. I was scared I wouldn't like it. 

At age 29, I got a divorce and moved to a remote island in British Columbia to live with a bunch of strangers in a house where I volunteered at a retreat center for room and board. I was afraid I'd made a terrible decision and would spend the rest of my life a lonely old maid.

At age 30, I sold my wedding ring and traveled through Thailand by myself on the money that gave me. I was scared I'd be lonely the entire time.

I could go on and on listing the risky (sometimes, downright foolish) shit I've been up to in my life, but the point is...I know fear pretty f*cking well. 

Fear and I have been buddies for a long time. I've cried alone with my fear in public restrooms around the world, sat on the floor of supermarkets because I didn't have enough money to eat, and transferred money around from 401k's to credit cards to stocks to mortgages to make ends meet. I've said goodbye to people that I loved more times than I can count. I've lived with strangers (some good and some horrible). I've moved on, up and sometimes down and up again. And FEAR has been a constant. 

On the outside, I look fearless. On the inside, I'm just a girl trying to live a good life and leave the world better than I found it. 

So while it's important to ask..."What would you do if you weren't afraid?"...I would rather you think, "What would you do even if you were afraid?"

What is worth it to you? What do you stand for?

Do that. 

Bravery is being afraid, but doing it anyway. 

Be brave, not fearless.