How Fear Can Create Opportunities For Women
Fear is greatly misunderstood. It has been a dream killer and soul squelcher for many women. Ladies, we have become masters of mediocrity and creators of complacency because of fear. These are not badges of honor my friends.
The fact is, everyone feels afraid. Top artists, athletes, writers, performers, parents, business owners, scientists, military leaders and activists feel fear. When you experience fear, you are not weaker than others, you are just human.
No matter what you want to explore, change or move, you will face fear. In the journey of life, fear will creep in if you are moving on the path toward your dream. Those who don’t face fear are not moving, exploring or doing anything. They are stagnant.
Fear is multicolored.
It is like a tapestry that has been woven over the years. This tapestry is created with a combination of trauma, humiliation, emotional discord, failure, and let-downs. Instead of the multicolored tapestry displayed in beauty, it can become a load of baggage.
The tapestry transformed to baggage has a load we carry around with us throughout life. Weighing us down, this big bag of trauma, humiliations, failures, and emotions hold us back from running forward. It is time to embrace the beauty of the tapestry. No longer treat the tapestry as baggage, but allow the tapestry to display its beauty. The beauty that shines a light for us as we get out of the pit of mediocrity.
Transforming fear is a necessary step that allows you see the woven tapestry differently. The transformation shines the light on the adventure of a life you desire and deserve. We are going to learn to transform fear from a barrier holding you back and weighing you down to a gateway of achievement. You will learn to reframe fear, metabolize it, and energize you to take action despite of it.
This month is dedicated to honoring women who faced fear and led us to opportunity.
I want to share the story of two women who faced challenges and fear but achieved the impossible.
Kitty O’Neil was fearless. She looked fear in the face and giggled in delight.
Kitty O’Neil was born in 1946 in Nueces, Texas. She was welcomed to the world with set-backs and adversity.
Soon after Kitty’s birth her father passed away in an airplane accident, and when Kitty was just five months old, she developed measles, mumps and smallpox at the same time. Due to the illness she lost her hearing at a very young age.
Her devoted mother Patsy wanted to prepare Kitty for the world she was about to face. She committed to home-schooling her so that she could be proficient in speaking and reading despite being deaf.
By age eight, Kitty was able to be in public school and developed a love for diving. In fact at an early age, she was invited to train with a nationally known coach for the US dive team. By 1964 she won the AAU Nationals and was on the path to qualify for the Olympic games. Unfortunately, her diving career ended abruptly due to an injury and a bout with spinal meningitis. For a short time, she thought she may lose use of her legs.
Despite her set-back, she persevered once again to go on a new venture. Her love of speed and water moved her into the realm of high speed water skiing. In 1970, she set the women’s world water skiing record at 104.85 miles per hour.
Naturally progressing her career, she then became interested in automobile and cross country motorcycle racing. This is where she met Duffy Hambleton. Duffy introduced her to the world of high powered vehicles and movie stunts. In 1976, at Alford Lake in Oregon, Kitty shattered the world speed record for women by clocking 512.70 miles per hour in a 3 wheeled rocket powered vehicle.
In that same year, she became the first woman member of the Stunts Unlimited, an organization for Hollywood’s top stunt performers. She doubled as Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman where she plunged 127 feet from atop the Valley Hinton in Sherman Oaks into an inflatable air bag set upon the hotel pool deck.
She was also the first woman to perform the cannon fire car roll in which explosives charge under the vehicle and propel it to rise up and tumble over and over.
Kitty shared she could face the fear and overcome anything. She said, “I had a very positive mental attitude. You have to show people you can do anything.”
Born in Texas, Bessie Coleman was one of 13 children to Susan and George Coleman, who both worked as sharecroppers. When Bessie was a young child, her father left the family in search of better opportunities in Oklahoma. Her mother did her best to support the family and the children contributed as soon as they were old enough.
In 1915, at 23 years old, Coleman moved to Chicago, where she lived with her brothers and worked as a manicurist. During this time, she began listening to and reading stories of World War I pilots, which sparked her interest in aviation.
As Bessie Coleman heard exciting stories from the men, they inspired her to seek the journey of flight. Though it was nearly impossible for her to be a pilot in the early 1900’s, Bessie had a passion and was determined. She was going to escape poverty and discrimination to become an African American female pilot.
This goal did not come without barriers and fear. She quickly found that it was doubtful she would earn her pilot’s license in the United States during this time, but she did not give up. Even with the doubtfulness, she became vulnerable and applied anyway. As expected, flying schools in the United States denied her entry. She was not going to let this hold her back.
She realized the well-known, French school named Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation could be an opportunity. However, she did not know how to speak French, much less live there. She was determined to make this dream a reality. Over the next few years, she taught herself French, saved her money, and moved to France to earn her license from the well-known school of aviation.
In just seven months after her move, she became a pilot. Coleman did not seek to be an average pilot. She specialized in stunt flying and parachuting, and eventually earned a living barnstorming and performing aerial tricks. Known for walking out in front of huge crowds, making a statement in her high leather boots and sweet military leather jacket, the press loved her boldness. She was known as “Queen Bess.”
Believe it or not, when she returned to the United States a year later with her international pilot’s license, she was met with fanfare and celebration of her achievement. In 1922, female aviator Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to stage a public flight in America.
She used her newfound fame to promote another passion. Coleman wanted to promote equality for women and for African Americans. She stood up for her beliefs and would decline airshows that wouldn’t admit African American people. She also found ways to encourage other African American women to learn to fly.
Bessie Coleman overcame major barriers and fear by seeking alternatives to reach her goals. She then used her voice to promote a mission she deeply cared about.
She was ridiculed and hurt by those who did not support African American women in flight. Many disagreed with her passion for equality. But she was not going to have anyone hold her back from achieving her dreams- so she faced the fear and achieved.
These women had to rumble with life’s challenges and fear. In spite of the set-backs and barrier, they created opportunity. They show us great examples of how embracing fear correlates with strength and high achievement.
Your excuses may sound like this.
I can’t open a new boutique. It is not the right time of year.
I can’t approach the new client and ask them to purchase now. The economy is not good right now.
I am not going to start my new exercise program. It is just too busy with the kids in school and sports.
The beginning of the month.
The end of the month.
All the excuses in the world keep you stuck.
Let’s face it. The excuses are due to the fear.
We are afraid to talk to the boss.
Start the relationship.
Make the call.
Focus on our health.
Do you allow fear to set you back or move you forward?
Does fear rob you of a positive energy or excite you?
Is momentum created by your excitement or stalling you to seek complacency?
Stomp out your fear with energy, excitement, and action.
Overcome the fear by understanding it is a sign that you should take action. If you are growing and expanding, fear will find you. Move past the fear by allowing it to fuel you.
The idea in your heart that is filling your mind is the roadmap to your soul. Let the fear be your guide as you metabolize and manage it.