"What Would You do if you weren't Afraid?" is an Incomplete question. How it Ends, Matters.
When I worked at Facebook back in 2011, "What would you do if you weren't afraid" was plastered on the walls of our office. I loved looking at that poster because it gave me courage.
As I grew older and explored the world some more, I started to lose that courage. I would go as far as to say, business school, stole some of that courage from me. I started to care more about what people thought of me, I wanted to show up a certain way. I was surrounded by some of the smartest, most accomplished, most confident (and privileged) 20 somethings in the world and I felt judged.
Now, 6 years after graduating, I am still struggling to reclaim who I was and the chutzpah that I used to bring to everything I did.
In his book, The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck, Mark Manson talks about how if you give a f*ck about everything, you don't prioritise what really matters. And that's what I mean by the question is incomplete.
Why we need to articulate our fears
I believe (and Tim Ferris talks about it really well in his TED talk on fears), we need to articulate exactly what it is we are afraid of to be able to stop giving a f*ck about it. For me, that's judgement. For someone else, it may be failure. I'm not afraid of failure. I'm not afraid of being broke, I'm great at budgeting subway sandwiches for meals.
But judgement, boy that gets me. Maybe it was business school, maybe it is social media, maybe it was being surrounded by hyper confident Americans for 3 years, but in this curated, like-fuelled world, I no longer feel like it is enough to be me, to put my thoughts out there, semi-unfiltered. I don't even know what I'm afraid of being judged for being. Not cool enough? Not high achieving enough?
Who even defines these terms?
Defusing my fear
A part of me is scared of offending someone. Another part of me is just afraid I'll be judged the way I judge other people.
As I write this article and I define what I am afraid to be judged for, I find, I am taking away the power my fear has over me. Defining my fears helps me face them.
And thus the end of this question for me, that makes it complete and takes away the power of my fears is "What would you do if you weren't afraid of being judged?".
What are you afraid of?