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August 29, 2010


Atta girl!! Isn't it great to see your child up and doing something they wanted and had to work for? There's nothing you can compare to that smile.

Congratulations Miranda!! Great job!

Way to go Miranda, and atta girl Whitney for nudging her.

Very thought provoking questions you ask, with this post.

Writing a book. I remember thinking that was An impossible undertaking. I'm edging my way there though. I didn't aspire to do anything of the sort till about four years ago, but haven't superseded the barriers to finishing one yet. Working on it. Thanks for the seeds of encouragement here!

I've come to learn that there are 2 types of fear: 1) real fear and 2) illusory fear.

Real fear involves being faced with something deadly like...a python or an oncoming car. The fear serves a lifesaving purpose.

Illusory fear, however, functions in the opposite manner - it serves a "life killing" purpose. This type of fear is based on things that are not real (e.g., "If I do x, then people will think y," "If I do x, I will not have enough money to live on," etc.). These fear seem real, and certainly, in some cases the likelihood of them occurring may be high. But, these things have NOT happened, but we operate as if these events are inevitable, and, thereby, paralyze action.

My pet illusory fear right now that I like to bring to attention is the steady paycheck argument. A primary reason that many women do not pursue starting their own businesses is that they are addicted to the corporate America steady paycheck illusion. Unemployment rates in the United States right now should more than explain that illusion.

I make twice as much as I ever made in corporate America and work about 2/3 of the time - all because I did not give in to that illusory fear.

The issue of fear has been intensely on my mind as my family enters a new phase of uncertainty and opportunity. To echo Janna's stunning comment above, it is firmly of the illusory life-killing variety. And in the words of the genius comedian Bob Newhart, who Lisa Gates pointed me to last week, I find myself frequently saying "stop it". YouTube it. You'll be glad you did.

We all can see ourselves in Miranda. How many of us are also Whitney, the one throwing out the invitation to someone we love - "you can do this"? And how many are Roger, the one who shows the how and is there to catch? All three roles are critical in this parable. Right now I am Miranda. And I've found my Whitney and Roger, so no more excuses.

Chrysula - It's so interesting to read your comment because I view you as positively intrepid.

I liked your "tripod" model with Whitney, Roger and Miranda. I'm going to be thinking about that one for awhile.

This story of Miranda's fear, Roger's assistance, your invitation reminded me of our first daughter's parallel experience. Thanks for sharing this. I have a young woman (yes I have just been called as YW pres) who is painfully shy, a shadow to herself. I would say she needs many invitations to ride a bike. And for myself, it is that LSAT - I practise, I spend time at it and then look at my answers which are nothing like the right ones. It's like Greek. And I want to succeed at it. But let the scrapes keep me down.

Such great questions (and comments). When I was ten, my older sister challenged me to do something that scared me every day. I didn't like doing scary things, but I liked the concept.

Now, whenever I'm afraid to "dare to dream," I simply commit to do one scary thing per day. (And it's working.)

It's absolutely essential to have mentors (people also doing scary things). I am constantly emailing, visiting, or calling people who have already achieved the success I am trying to achieve, and it's amazing how willing they are to offer solid advice. Whitney, you're a great mentor for me and Saren. We appreciate you so much!

When did I learn to ride, I can't remember.But It was my dad teaching my ride bike.How greetful I was! I really less brave than your daughter .

Please forgive my poor English.

Great story Whitney!I do vividly recall dad being behind me, holding the fender, and then saying something, realizing her wasn't there and YES!! FREEDOM!! Riding a bike may be our FIRST freedom from our physical limitations (speed) and it is perhaps the sweetest.

Here's the thing about "real" and "illusory" fear, though. The unconscious can't tell the difference. When I was struggling with my very real strange fright at the commencement of my career as a trial lawyer (sweaty palms, trembling hands, quavering voice) it wasn't the voice of my inner reason that saved me but acting classes and repeated experience in the courtroom no matter how awkward and frightened I must have appeared. To be frank, fear drove me from the courtroom and into teaching in my fifth year of practice. Teaching cured me of my stage fright and I returned to practice two years later. I guess my thoughts are this ~ we can't save our face and our A** at the same time. But once we save our A**, we can get our face back for the fear we've conquered. Then the next one arrives and the next and the next. And THAT'S what's so freakin' beautiful about it.

Here's a view from the other side of the fence: somehow I grew up with almost no fear.

Maybe it was just because I was unhappy where I was learned to do whatever I had to get out and get something better. Maybe it was studying piano and getting up on stage in front of audiences from a young age. Maybe it was a certain lack of parental nurturing that taught me early on that if I wanted anything I'd have to get it for myself. And maybe it was just that I was too clueless to know better. Whatever the reason, I have forged ahead for better or for worse, and things have worked out for the better.

I've been self-employed in some way since I was 7. I moved to NYC with $200 and no job, and within a few years bought my own apartment (as a single woman) when logic said it should have been impossible. I've written two books, published numerous articles and photographs, and traveled around the world.

As for bicycling, in high school, when my father refused to let me use the family car, I took his 10-speed; we lived 4 miles out of town on a state highway with a soft shoulder and 18-wheel tractor-trailers full of produce whizzing by. Yes, it was insane (and, one could argue, irresponsible on the part of my parents, especially since it was before anyone even thought of bicycle helmets), but I didn't think of that then: I just had to get to my piano students' lessons. Years later, I bicycled the California coast from San Francisco to LA. Today, I bicycle around NYC almost every day.

I've had more "lucky breaks" than I can count, I think simply because I was willing to take a chance. I say this not to brag, but to encourage: look ahead and see your success, not failure. Fear be damned, Just Do It!

Maybe because I was raised by two 7th children, who essentially raised themselves, I was raised with far more freedom than other women. I have hitch hiked, slept in freight yards while waiting for the next train, bicycled long distances alone, & nothing bad has happened.

I take up my full share of space as I move about in the world & people respond accordingly. Which I think is unusual for pre Title IX women.

One thing I enjoy doing is sharing my love of bicycling with other women by being a tour guide for WomanTours. Last month I guided a group of beginning riders around the Teton valleys. These women rode 30 miles a day for the first time in their lives. They learned how to shift gears, fix a flat & get on & off their bicycles gracefully.

Their physical accomplishments translate into greater emotional strength, which inspires me to go home & move through whatever is in my way.

Tailwinds everyone

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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