Amidst unprecedented times and ongoing uncertainty, there is one public figure whose mindset and actions have been keeping me optimistic throughout the pandemic. One morning on my way to work pre-coronavirus, I was listening to Rachel Hollis’ RISE podcast. Episode 120 featured Michelle Poler. On the podcast episode, Michelle talked about her 100 Days Without Fear project where she faced 100 fears as part of a project for her Master’s Degree in Branding. The project gained traction and Michelle later became the founder of Hello Fears. Hello Fears is a worldwide social movement that empowers individuals to step outside of their comfort zones to face their fears and live more fulfilled lives.

           As I listened to the podcast episode where Michelle shared her story, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by her bravery. Later that evening, I typed, “Michelle Poler and Hello Fears,” into the Google search bar and read more about Hello Fears. In the weeks following, I told my friends and family all about the 100 Days Without Fear experience and explained that I wanted to work on becoming braver. I followed Michelle on Instagram and have made it a point to seek out her posts ever since.

           Michelle Poler and her 100 Days Without Fear project proved to be inspirational long before coronavirus swept the globe. Facing 100 hand-chosen fears voluntarily is courageous, brilliant, and some might say even insane. In the last month or so, Michelle’s story has taken on an entirely new meaning relevant to our current circumstances.

           In this historic period of uncertainty, daily disruption, anxiety, and chaos, I remind myself that I can face the unknown bravely. I’ve learned from Michelle’s work that I can deal with the unknown, embrace change, and redefine fears surrounding the novel coronavirus as obstacles that can become opportunities. On any given day, millions of people worldwide are understandably fearful as a result of coronavirus and the implications it has physically, economically, mentally. And even though these are not hand-chosen fears we’ve chosen to pursue voluntarily, there is something to be said about how much braver we will be when we get to the other side of this.

           It’s not just Michelle’s outlook and mindset that I’ve found inspirational during these times, but her level of adaptability has also helped me remain optimistic and motivated. In a world where speaking engagements and presentations cannot take place in person temporarily, Michelle has quickly pivoted to offer virtual speaking engagements and presentations. When I need a quick mental boost, I take a peek at the @hellofears Instagram feed flurried with bright colors and words of inspiration. In a world where social interaction and participation is limited, a community of more than 700 people (including myself) has rallied together to support the launch of Michelle’s new book Hello, Fears. We’ve been able to build a strong community virtually and are united under one, meaningful purpose despite the challenges of coming together as a collective community during coronavirus. Michelle has worked to adapt her entire business and passion due to unforeseen circumstances while keeping her followers in mind. Her level of adaptability and consideration of her audience is admirable.

           I am thankful that quarantine has provided me with free time to further invest in supporting Michelle Poler and her story. I can reframe the fears surrounding the novel coronavirus as a result of what I’ve learned about facing our fears and being brave from Michelle Poler.