To kick off the year right, Miriam College invited YouTuber, fear-facer and influencer Michelle Poler to speak in front of an audience of 400 young girls composed of middle school, high school and higher education students last January 5 at the Henry Sy Sr. Innovation Center. Titled Girls, Be Brave! the talk jumpstarted the school’s campaign of the same title to engage girls in subjects or field of the future that they tend to fear the most.
Poler is most known for her project 100 Days Without Fear wherein she had to face one fear a day for 100 days. She filmed herself braving different kinds of fears from holding a tarantula and skydiving to posing nude for a drawing class and helping people in need.
"I didn’t want (my fears) to define my future," said Poler. "So, I started to challenge myself little by little doing this project. And now I can assure you that I’m not going to let my fears limit me." During the talk, the influencer told the tale of how she dealt with all the things she’d feared as a young girl.
Poler also shared everything she'd learned during the course of her journey in the form of hashtags that can help anyone not just get through 2018 but inspire you to conquer the year as well. Here are the greatest takeaways from the influencer's talk:
"The enemy of success is not failure but comfort," shared Poler. "Comfort is what keeps us from raising our hands to suggest the next big idea. It convinces us to stay with partners and friends we no longer love." Comfort zones are our own personal psychological bubble where we experience very minimal anxiety and stress. Surprisingly, however, stress is not always a bad thing. There is a healthy kind of stress that allows you to grow as a person and by staying in your bubble, you are possibly denying yourself a chance to grow.
Be the kind of person who creates your own opportunities. Don't waste your time dreaming of winning the lottery and start imagining ways to make the money. Stop hoping some music executive is going to chance upon you singing in the bathroom and let your voice be heard on YouTube or Facebook. "Courage begins with the will to create your own best scenario," the influencer explained. "It’s about creating your own luck –sending that email or raising your hand."
"Belongingness can be amazing," said Poler. "It’s what enables teambuilding, friendship, and family but if you are not careful you can lose your authenticity." Individuality is a very valuable trait that a person must not compromise for the sake of belongingness at all costs. Like Steven Pressfield (author of War of Art) said, it's not about looking for some ideal version of yourself to develop into but to find out who you are and be that person.
If you'd known everything you have learned at this point in your life when you were younger, would you have said "yes" to more opportunities? It turns out, Michelle Poler would have. You can start taking control of your life anytime you want. All you have to do is say "yes."
A lot of us tend to overthink and begin enumerating all the things that could possibly go wrong when we face a new fear. However, Polen taught us a little hack to be able to overcome those thoughts. Instead of "What could go wrong?" the question your should be asking is "What's the best that could happen?" she explained, "That question helps me turn my fear into excitement and makes me go from "I’m so nervous" to "I can’t wait to do this.""
A lot of the most successful people in the world didn't just magically chance upon their greatest feats. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, fashion designer Vera Wang and even Queen Beyonce wouldn't be where they are if they hadn't stepped out of their comfort zones, taken a risk and created their own opportunities.
Fear is an obstacle that we all must overcome in our life. Michelle Poler is another living, breathing proof that letting go of all your hang-ups and self-doubt gives you the chance to take yourself anywhere you want to go. Stop worrying and take the leap. You never know what's waiting for you on the other side of fear!
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Photos courtesy of Miriam College