I Dared to be More, Part 1

First of all, let's dispel the myth that to lead a Daring Life one must climb Mount Everest or swim the across the English Channel. While those are daring challenges to be sure, physical feats are not the only way to be daring. For some, daring may be presenting in front of a large audience, writing a book, or starting a business. For others it might mean finding a way to deal with a chronic illness or simply learning to cook. The meaning behind Design Your Daring Life, is for each and every one of us to challenge ourselves, to stretch ourselves to dare to live up to our truest potential. That dare may even be to allow ourselves some time to rest, to meditate, to be still.

My dare came last Thursday when I hired a professional clothing stylist to help me dress in a more "put together, way." I know what you're thinking...this is hardly an adventurous journey. However, for me, it was! As a quintessential style nerd, with a not-too-desirable body type, no one would ever accuse me of being a "clothes horse." But, I was ready to plunge in and find a way to enhance my appearance, even though this was way out of my comfort zone. Imagine having someone come into your closet and look over your clothes. For me, the wearer of jeans and a simple sweater, this was going to be a real stretch, as I was sure she wasn't going to find a single piece of clothing in my closet in which to create an appealing outfit.

The key to being daring, whatever it is for you, is to push through your fear. In my case, I had to push through my fear of being judged, of feeling "less than," of feeling inadequate. Those are real fears and to even admit them in writing is another daring achievement for me.

Susan Jeffers, in her book, "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway," talks about three levels of fear:

1) Surface Fears: aging, being alone, changing careers, public speaking

2) Inner State of Mind Fears: rejection, success, failure, being vulnerable

3) Underlying Fear: you can't handle any given situation

I was dealing with the level 2 fear of not feeling adequate, not feeling I looked good enough to deserve success or any of the great things life has to offer. People who know me would probably not realize how this one belief about myself, the way I look, could be so debilitating for me. While it might seem vain to some, for me it's been at the root of "playing small" in much of my life and career. Feeling inferior about the way I looked has held me back, time and time again.

Feeling inferior about the way I looked has held me back, time and time again.

So, having a stylist, enter my home, enter my closet and help me find a way to feel more confident about my appearance was a BIG daring challenge for me. I dared to look my best, I dared to express myself through my appearance, I dared to be vulnerable.

I see now, how I've been limiting myself. I took in, believing the negative words and criticisms of the way I looked. I, then, sabotaged myself by continuing that belief and buying into it. In my blog, Part 2, I will share the details of my Styling Experience. Stay tuned...more to come.

"You are confined only by the walls you build yourself."

What walls have you built to keep you safe and playing small in your life? What steps can you take to stretch yourself? What steps can you take to

Design Your Daring Life?

              Connie M. Leach, Ed.D.                conniemleach@gmail.com

Connie M. Leach, College & Career Coaching & Consulting Services