Daring to Fear

Anna Fitzgibbon
Anna Fitzgibbon

Anna is a Baltimore native, adventure travel enthusiast and flex-MBA candidate in her final year at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Anna is also the founder and owner of OutGrowth. Partnering self-starting students with socially-conscious farms for one-month project-based placements, OutGrowth takes internships out of the office, connecting students to professional purpose. With a focus on student experiential learning, career competency-building and sustainable business development, OutGrowth occupies the space where student travel collides with community engagement. OutGrowth is now accepting applications for the 2018 summer Legacy Cohort. To apply, learn more and join the growing community of change-makers, visit www.outgrowthtoday.org

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Fear is an interesting force. The notion of eliminating fear is quite prevalent in our culture, especially in the year 2017. Its absence, we are told, paves the way for purposeful action. Fear is often seen as a shackle, holding us back from reaching our fullest potential as contributors to society.

I have a different take. I spent years after my undergraduate days seeking fear. I traveled by myself through over 20 countries, each year looking for a more foreign place, a more unfamiliar language, a higher bungee jump. In my eyes, feeling scared quickly became associated with experiencing life of the highest caliber.

As someone who recently decided to make a career transition, I began reflecting on my own position of comfort. I believe that the longer we live in a state of stability, the more reluctant we are to move to shaky ground. We slowly develop roots and attachments to the lifestyles we grow. I have spent several years working part-time for a fitness start-up and among my favorite messages to clients is “Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.” We have to learn to recognize that feeling of discomfort as the new norm. We need to begin associating it with the promise of new direction and innovative thought, shaking our misconceptions of its tie to backwards movement.

So my new goal? Get scared…again. This job hunt, with the help of sound advice from multiple sources and a very knowledgeable Carey career coach, has become a quest to push myself one step further than I normally would. Reach out to that one extra contact. Go solo to that networking event. Risk failing, every day. Fight the possibility of stagnancy. Live in that space of discomfort because ultimately, you cannot do the same thing every day and expect different results. Fear goes hand in hand with uncharted territory, and real future impact exists in ideas yet to be discovered.

In the words of Burnett and Evans, authors of Designing Your Life, “Your life is not a thing, it’s an experience.” You have to grow into the person you want to become one day.

One question remains, “What are you afraid of?” Good for you; asking yourself that question means you are now well on your way to growing into your future self.

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