As I anticipate the year and decade ahead, I want to share an exercise in reflection and clarity.
It’s so important to trade your old story (what you tell yourself that limits your best self) for your new story, and adopt the new behaviors and rituals of greater fearlessness. By cherry-picking the most meaningful lesson from each decade of your life, you likely will have a greater sense of how you have learned to deal with fear.
Here’s how this works as I reflect on my life.
Age birth to 10: You can figure it out.
My twin brothers are five years older than me, and on the first day of school, our working Mom asked them to walk me to my kindergarten class and get me settled. The side door to the classroom wasn’t open because the teacher hadn’t arrived yet. “She’ll be here in a minute, just wait here,” my brothers told me. They were out of there! About 10 minutes later I heard some movement inside and pulled the door open. This memory reminds me that little moments prepare us for bigger moments. Alone and scared in those few minutes, prepared me, strengthened me for other moments when I need to open the door.
Age 11 to 20: Prepare for opportunity before it arrives.
I applied to Michigan State University and several smaller liberal arts schools. I remember getting the big envelope from MSU with my acceptance letter… along with the rejection letters from the others. I made the decision to walk on to the MSU tennis team—which meant no scholarship money and likely little playing time. I worked my tail off my senior year of high school and the summer before college, ready to contribute in whatever way I could to the team. A few months into the school year, several injuries left the team shorthanded. Before I knew it, I was thrust into the lineup playing #1 doubles and #6 singles. I earned a partial scholarship by my sophomore year and captained the team as a senior. The lesson I learned is to always prepare like your number will be called. Because when it is, it’s up to you to be ready, lean in and execute.
Ages 21-30: Ask for advice.
After college, I moved to Atlanta with the names of three people who I thought might be able to help me. Not with a job directly, but advice on getting a job. These three strangers listened to my questions and each referred me to three other people they knew who might be able to help me, and so on. I had one goal in those meetings, to get them to like and respect me enough to hire me or help me. Asking for advice is all about tapping into your curiosity, and that fuels connection. Staying curious and seeking advice from anyone I could was ultimately how I broke into the sports industry. Curiosity drives connection and relationships in our lives is what matters most.
Ages 31-40: Connect with your why.
At age 29 I got married, at 31, we had our first daughter, and the next year welcomed twins. My daughters taught me a love like I never knew existed. I’ve never loved like I do now toward them. That transcendent emotion—and the speeded-up sense of time that comes with parenting and age—compelled me to connect even more on my why. Connecting with my purpose powered me to make the jump from being a sports agent to author and speaker. Becoming a mother of three practically overnight certainly hastened my clarity on my purpose and immediately brought me new perspective. No better time than the wee hours of the morning—both exhausted and madly in love—to dig deep inside and connect to your why.
Ages 41-Now: Tap into gratitude.
Gratitude helps me focus on what I have, not what is missing. Gratitude is a simple and powerful way to create an incredible positive energy source that carries over to everything you do and everyone you meet. I practice gratitude daily, and experience greater peace, focus and clarity. Writing three gratitudes is the most powerful way to start and end my day. Gratitude helps center me fearlessly on my personal mission statement: To connect, inspire and lead with creative courage and optimism.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Now it’s your turn to try this shortcut to fearlessness. Reflect on what you have learned over the decades.
- Which of your most important lessons relate to fearlessness, and how?
- What part of your old story belongs in your new story?
- What area of your life will you practice fearlessness consistently before your next birthday?
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.