Fear in your favor
I fear for my children’s safety; for the welfare of the people around me. I fear not having the ability to provide for myself and my family.
But what makes a woman fearless, I think, is how we use our experiences to empower ourselves to face fear head on; using it to make us stronger, better, smarter and, yes, fearless.
I was extremely shy in high school. When I turned out to be the only one of seven girls who tried out for the cheerleading squad and didn’t make it, I feared the embarrassment of going to school the next day.
Fearlessness is what gave me the courage two years later to try out again, knowing I had to go in and wow those judges and leave my insecurities and fear at the door. I made the squad and got my first real lesson in why I simply can’t let fear stand in the way of fulfilling my goals.
When one of my high school teachers found out I got into the University of Southern California, he told me, “It’s only because you’re Hispanic and they need to fill their minority quota.” Fear made me momentarily second-guess myself. Fearlessness made me send him an invitation to my USC graduation.
When I started looking for my first TV reporting job, I received several rejections. Fear might’ve made me rethink my talent and ambition. Fearlessness made me keep pounding the pavement until that first job offer came along. It was for a morning anchor job, a rare offer for someone starting out.
When seven years later I was demoted and asked to vacate my desk for my replacement, fear could have made me take the offer to opt out of my contract a year early.
Fearlessness gave me strength to walk in every day for the remaining year and use the time to hone my reporting skills, which not only resulted in my first Emmy Award but caught the attention of a Los Angeles television station leading to my next job.
Four years later at five months pregnant and the family breadwinner, I was told my contract wasn’t being renewed. My fear was heightened. Pregnant, out of a job and not sure where or when my career would get back on track, I fell into a deep depression. I cried for 30 days straight, finding it tough to even pull myself out of bed each day.
Returning to fearlessness wasn’t easy. But I eventually found the faith and strength to believe that my family and I would be OK. I’m convinced that trusting and believing in myself and my abilities, embracing true fearlessness, is what led to the call from CBS 5 News just days after giving birth to my son, leading to what has become the best seven-plus years of my professional and personal life.
I’ve discovered that being fearless isn’t about walking through life unafraid. It’s about having the courage to admit that you are afraid – and then figuring out how to make that fear work for you, not against you.