If You Had No Fear, What Would You Do?

Posted on June 13, 2017

By Rosalind Lockyer, Executive Director, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise.  

Would you make a new life for yourself?  Sell everything, and go live in Hawaii?

Take the plunge and start that business that would give you the lifestyle you crave!

Life is short! It makes no sense to live our life by the desires and standards of others or to squander our time living a life we did not choose- because of our fear.  But, many are held back by fear.

So what do women generally fear? 

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They may fear not having enough food or other basic needs for their children.  They may fear losing their house, or losing their job. They may have fear of violence or harassment or of losing their spouse or partner if they were to choose their own path in life.  They may fear the criticism or ridicule of family and friends if they choose to quit their job and start a business.  They may fear failure if they take a risk and follow their dream. All of these are real and conscious fears.  Ironically, the greatest fear is the subconscious fear of success and the demands that success may bring. However, the path to courage is facing our fears. This power is within us all.

Taylor Swift sums it up, ‘I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.’

Now let’s put this in perspective, there are small fears and big fears, but that is relative to each person’s experience.  But, how does one overcome fear?

I hit fear head on, when several years ago I was diagnosed with cancer- the big ‘C’.  To add to the fear, my father had died with this same form of cancer, a couple of years before.  Yes, when a doctor is explaining your chances of living five years when you are young with growing children, you have all kinds of fears.  Fear that you will not live to see them graduate, to see your grandchildren, of leaving your spouse and children to fend on their own, and fear that you might be near the end.  Fear that now your life must change. But, not unlike many others faced with the same situation, I can honestly say that this was a positive turning point in my life.  I learned a lot while I struggled through three years of treatment.

Sitting in waiting rooms, recovering from surgery and convalescing at home, gave me lots of time to think, and to revisit my priorities.  But, the path to conquering fear was facing that fear.  And, the path to facing the fear, as I saw it, meant taking some kind of control, the best that I could.  This strategy worked for me.  To me it meant getting various diagnoses and advice from several doctors, including my father’s surgeon.  It meant making my own decisions on a course of treatment.  That meant, making the decisions myself instead of leaning on my family and any one doctor.  As there were real risks, I needed to make my own informed decisions and I was willing to take responsibility for the outcome. 

This approach would served me well over years to come.  Face the fear, do the research, get advice from those with experience and expertise, and make the decision, and live with the outcome. 

Take control and take responsibility.

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So, as in most cases when something bad happens, we need not fear.  We can turn the experience around to be a lesson for change, for positive change.  I decided that I would change my path in life, and start a non-profit ‘business of change.’  PARO was what I did when I conquered fear.  Today, PARO is called a social enterprise, a successful non- profit social enterprise that works to change women’s lives.  

My life change was to work with my community, more specifically, to bring together a community of women.  To bring together women who would want to help other women.  Listening to women and working with women I seeded and grew what is today, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise.   We gather to learn how to build a business and to celebrate success and for many, how to give hope and reality to our dreams of change.

Maybe this was the message that Paul Anka put forward when he wrote these words.

‘Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew . . . When I bit off more than I could chew,

But through it all, when there was doubt.  I ate it up, and spit it out.

I faced it all, and I stood tall, and did it my way.’