April 5, 2016

There’s a reason why I chose fearless as my word for 2016.

It’s because half the time, I’m terrified.

My idea to focus on living fearlessly came when Nick and I started talking about whether or not he should stay in the military. I thought about all of my fears for military life. Most of them are of the unknown.

I realized that you can’t avoid things because you are afraid of things that might happen. You can’t put off going after your dreams because you’re afraid you might fail.  You can’t live your life in fear.

other side of fear (1 of 1)-2

So we decided that Nick would stay in the military and that we would take each day as it comes. We would live our life knowing a general outline for Nick’s career, knowing that anything could change at any time, knowing that every couple of years, the military will send us wherever they like. We live chunks of our lives separated from each other but are always committed to finding each other again. When I think about it like that, I feel pretty fearless.

But I don’t think that anyone can really be fearless. All you can do is be brave in the face of fear. That is even more empowering to think about, I think.

I’ve learned that facing your fears not only makes you stronger, but it also makes you more willing to keep facing them. It makes you more able to take on hard things in the future. Because whether you’ve failed or succeeded, you’ve done it. You know that you will survive.

The longer Nick stays in the military, the more fearless I’ve become. Things like big moves scare me a lot less, because I’ve done them before. Even though we lost the majority of our possessions in our last move, I got through it. I will do big moves again.

The longer Nick stays in the military, the less I worry about the unknown. Because I’ve already faced so many unknowns. I’ve become more open-minded, better able to problem-solve, and more sure of my own voice than ever. Because I keep pushing myself to do the things that scare me.

I remember the day Nick graduated from college. As we were taking pictures, I remember thinking that his commitment seemed like so long. I think you can see it on my face in this photo. In that moment, I was excited, happy, and proud of Nick. But I was also afraid, because I couldn’t picture what my life over even the next year might be like. I didn’t know anyone else in the military, and I had no idea what would come. I didn’t know what a deployment would be like or where Nick would get stationed.

In many ways, the girl I was back then was even more fearful, and even more brave.

Nick's commissioning in May 2007

Nick and I face a lot of unknowns this year, but they don’t scare me at all. I’m excited for whatever comes next and I know that I can handle anything the military throws at us.

Don’t let the unknown scare you into inaction. As you face your fears more and more, you will become stronger. You will become more confident. You will have less and less fears. And that alone is worth chasing after your dreams, confronting things that scare you, and choosing to be brave. No matter what the outcome is, you will be a stronger person.

Being fearless is about being brave when you want to hide. It’s about embracing hard choices, having difficult conversations, and doing things you haven’t done before. It’s about standing up for yourself and for what’s right. It’s about taking risks and finding your voice. It’s about living the life you want to live, no matter what anyone else thinks or says. I’ll always be in pursuit of fearlessness.

Be fearless. Be brave. Be you.

Now I’m asking you:
What does it mean to you to be fearless?
How are you doing with your words/resolutions for 2016?



12 responses to “What does it mean to be fearless?”

  1. Cait says:

    great post girl! xo

  2. This is such a great post! Being in the military you face a lot more unknowns than most people, but I love the fact that you’re taking everything head on and have so many wonderful experiences along the way!

    • Carolann says:

      Yes we definitely do! And while there are certain things that I will never get used to, like having my husband gone, I have gotten used to not knowing where we are going to live next and to a lot of change. In a lot of ways, it’s fun. I like that we get to move around and see different things. But it’s hard too. I just try to take it one step at a time.

  3. Isabel says:

    This is so powerful Carolann. Being brave is like trying to be happy. After you’ve done it, you won’t get a cute little checkmark to prove that you accomplished it. It is something that you need to do everyday. Everyday you start at 0 again. But we are capable of being brave and, as you said, very very capable of keep facing our fears. Thanks for writing this. I really needed to read this.

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you so much Isabel — your comment is so insightful and so true. As soon as we accept change, as soon as we face a fear, as soon as we finally find our groove — we have to do it all over again. It’s a constant, evolving process. I think we can get better at it, but we can’t ever forget to keep working at it.

  4. Sara says:

    I’ll admit, change throws me off a lot. And with leaving my job, getting married, and moving all in the last nine months, it’s been a lot of change. So for me it has meant embracing all those changes.

    • Carolann says:

      I had a very similar experience almost three years ago, Sara! I used to hate change. I worked in the same place for 6 years. I ate the same thing for lunch every day. I was really bad at change. But that experience of quitting my job, getting married, ad moving made me a lot better at dealing with change and I think it will do the same for you! Embrace those changes and married life! I am excited to read your journey.

  5. Emma says:

    I truly think you are one amazing lady.

    • Carolann says:

      Emma, your comment made my entire week! Thank you. I really hope that we do get to meet in person one day. I think you are pretty amazing too.

  6. The Bulgarian says:

    I think fear has been so present in all my setbacks that perhaps if I could have avoided it I probably would have had easier time, especially in the professional department. Thank you for this and I guess I really need to meditate on what fearless means to me? How can you know the meaning of something you have never been? I guess there is only one way to find and that is to become it, even for a short period of time.

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