I, like many others over the last 12+ months have unconsciously chosen fear over all else. Fear of the pandemic, fear of life without my mother, who passed unexpectedly, fear of the unknowns of my career when I joined unemployment with my 10 million closest friends, and so much more.

It took 2020 to realize I’ve actually been choosing fear my entire life.

What’s interesting is if I were to ask friends and colleagues to give a list of my qualities, I bet most would say that I’m confident. I’ll admit, I can command a room – I was also blessed (or cursed) with a very loud voice. There is a big difference though between external and internal confidence. Fake it til you make it has always been my motto. After over 15 years in the “real world,” I’m still waiting for that “make it” part to happen. I’m afraid I may never hit it though as I’ve come to realize my greatest fear IS making it. Success terrifies me.

This may sound confusing. It confused me as well, until I actually broke it down. It started when I was young. I was pretty good at soccer, but never wanted to make varsity in high school. What if I couldn’t deliver, once on the team? This thought process has continued throughout my life. Promotions brought on stress and anxiety. I actually thought twice about accepting a VP title and tried negotiating a lower raise. TRUE STORY.

That was my past. I’ve decided I’m no longer choosing fear. I’m rewriting my narrative and I’m choosing to BE FIERCE. Just saying that gives me a sense of power. What has changed? In general, I am an optimistic person; however, this is far more than having a positive mindset or outlook. Over the last 6 months I’ve been working on my mental fitness. That’s right, MENTAL fitness. Every day I do a series of exercises and use specific techniques to strengthen the “positive” side of my brain. Like physical fitness, it’s not always easy and the results aren’t instant. The more I practice though, the more clear-headed I feel when I’m in or facing a tough situation.

2020 was difficult, and while the vaccine gives me hope, I’m learning 2021 is not and will not be a breeze. My mind gym is open 24/7 though, and I’m hitting the weights harder every day (bonus, no mask required). I’m looking success straight in the eye, and I’m going after it. It’s not terrifying either, it’s exciting!

Fake it til you make it? No, my fierce self is going to believe it – even if it feels impossible – til it’s real. That’s the narrative and motto I want to and choose to live by.

You too have a choice. What do you want your narrative to be?