Fearless and perfect don’t work. Here’s what does.

Fearless is another form of perfectionism. It’s something so many people strive for, yet it’s completely unattainable. I see people talking about wanting to be fearless, lamenting how nothing they’ve tried has worked and feeling like they’ve failed or are defective because they’re doing all of these things but they still feel fear…and I think those are the most courageous people out there.

If you’re doing all the things, and you still feel afraid, you’re doing it right my friend. That’s called courage. <—CLICK to Tweet

Courage is to fearless as gratitude is to perfectionism. Let me explain.

I tried for a long time to be perfect. I had a lot of nice stuff and was always doing things for others, but still felt like I was failing because I could always think of something that wasn’t perfect. My house wasn’t nice enough, my hair wasn’t long enough, my body wasn’t small enough…the list could go on. At the end of the day, what we all want is to feel happy. Striving to be perfect had the exact opposite result. Every time I thought I’d found the thing that would make everything perfect and make me feel happy, I was wrong and was quickly chasing the next thing. The thing that did (and does!) make me happy is gratitude. These days I focus on being grateful for what I have and feeling proud of what I accomplish. No matter how bad my day or how small my accomplishment, I choose to find gratitude every day.

Like perfectionism, fearless is a moving target. You can always find something to add to the “if/then” list (if I do this, then I’ll feel fearless). You can try everything from speaking up in a meeting to jumping out of an airplane, and there’s always going to be some lingering fear. At the most basic evolutionary level, fear will always be present. If it didn’t exist and humans were truly fearless, we’d all be walking into traffic and would be extinct in a matter of weeks! While that may not be the kind of fearlessness people desire, the constant chasing of the pop-culture version of fearless is just as detrimental as the chasing of perfection. It doesn’t work and it makes you feel like a failure. What works is courage. When you practice courage, you actually learn to work with your fear, instead of trying to get rid of it. Having courage does not mean we are unafraid…it means we feel the fear, and still take action.

Join me this week in practicing the things that work: gratitude + courage. Drop the pursuit of perfect and fearless and notice the happiness that starts to creep back into your life.

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