Ask yourself, "What's the best that could happen?"

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Society has a checklist of things we’re expected to do — graduate high school, go to college, find a job, get married, etc. And many of us feel the need to check off the boxes on that list before we can say we’re successful.

But Michelle Poler believes these expectations limit our ability to create a successful future. They can also make us too comfortable and stop us from growing. “I started to wonder ‘Who am I checking these boxes for? Who am I truly living for?’ I had to make a choice. I could continue checking society’s boxes, or I could have the courage to create my own and pursue those instead.”

Should I be brave or fearless?

Last night, Michelle, who founded Hello Fears, a social movement that empowers people to move beyond their comfort zone, spoke to a large group in Washington, D.C. at one of Siegfried’s events for young professionals. (These events, which have been happening all year long, are a fun and interesting way to bring young people from all industries together and inspire them to start living more passionately. Keep your eyes on our events page if you’re interested in attending one near you!)

During her thoughtful and motivating presentation, Michelle tackled the idea of fear and how it’s not about being fearless, it’s about being brave enough to take the chance. Her 100 Days Without Fear project followed her journey to be brave. “Being brave means that despite the fear, we have the courage to take action. And that is way more powerful and inspiring than being fearless,” she said. “Don’t forget that courage is contagious.”

Be brave enough to go after what you really want

Our comfort zones are great places to be…for a while. But stay in there too long and you’re just going through the motions. Think back to that list of expectations that society has for us, and ask yourself what expectations you want to create for yourself. Seriously consider what could make you happier, more relevant, and more energetic. What are your deepest desires? Write them down and don’t worry about any limiting factors (you know, like fear, time, or money). Get a feel for what you really want.

And then, instead of wondering “What’s the worst that could happen?” ask yourself, “What’s the BEST that could happen?”

And go from there.

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