Forget fearlessness—Befriend your fears instead.

We’re in an age of disruption and new ventures. Especially before COVID, fearlessness was very “in.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for boldness. But as a coach and a psychologist, I know that pushing yourself or others to be bold in a way that denies your fears and pain points, or compels you to suppress them, is generally bad practice.

Instead of thinking you shouldn’t feel fear and self-doubt, I urge you to welcome it.

Fear is NOT the enemy. Acting (or not acting) from fear is.

On a basic level, fear tries to keep us alive. It’s just that it can be a little… overeager and misguided. So instead of bashing on it consider patting it on the back and, if you can muster it, having just the *tiniest* bit of compassion. What does it want and need? Alternatively, practice nonjudgmental awareness. How does the fear feel and impact you?

Also while I advocate for befriending fears and wounds, in some instances we can take a need for healing as a sign we’re broken. You can tend to yourself without having to “fix yourself”: You’re a beautiful work of Kintsugi. So have reverence for your fears and wounds and get support as you go. I like a metaphor I heard Tara Mohr use: The palace is always on fire, it’s our job to notice both the palace and the burning parts.

As for fearlessness? Acting in spite of fear and pains past and current, especially for the sake of something you care about, is courage.

We can’t be courageous without being fearful too.

So get cozy with your fears. Lead them, but also be there for them. They’re there for you.

Like what you see? Subscribe to my Magical Mondays newsletter at caseyonder.com for regular leadership, work and life design tips and inspiration.

Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.