How to Find Your Inner Fearless Leader

Fearless leader?  Who?  Where?

On Facebook I saw a lovely blogger who shall remain nameless refer to me as the co-host and fearless leader of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  It stopped me for a moment when I read it…

I’m more of a “feel the fear and try my best to do it anyway” than “fearless, daring, and leap before I look!” type.

I admire the fearless ones.  Or those who can look fear straight in the eyes and tell it to go jump in a lake because nothing’s going to stop them.

My early elementary years were spent hiding under tables (my poor teachers, they were lovely, and really did try their best to get me to interact).  You’re still most likely to find me in the corner of a room, likely connected to my email or Twitter.

So how did I end up co-hosting the Ultimate Blog Challenge, running a successful entrepreneurial business, speaking on the stage, and generally being pretty visible online?

If you’re a little (or a lot) on the shy side, too, here’s what I’ve discovered works for me to get out of my comfort zone and near the spotlight.

1.  Partner Up!

Alone I definitely wouldn’t have decided to create a blog challenge and keep it running through 9 challenge cycles.  But with a partner (Hi, Michele!), it’s so much easier and more fun.

I’ve also done the 31 Days Blog Challenge with a partner (Hi, Lisbeth!) and we rocked it.  (That one’s coming back later this summer, so keep your eyes open.)

And I’ve got three new projects in the works with partners from workshops to masterminds to another cool thing I can’t share–yet.  Partnerships of various kinds have been the #1 way I’ve grown my reach and my list this year.

When you’re working with a partner you’ve got someone to bounce ideas off, which means the end product is better, and you can share the challenges and successes.  They’ll help you stay motivated and inspired.

2.  Commit to a Great Coach

Working with a coach has made a HUGE difference in how fast I move forward in my business and how visible I’m willing to step up and be.  A great coach will call you out when you’re hiding and need that kick in the pants, have the perspective to see what you’re missing, and be there to get your back when things don’t go smoothly and you need help.

Connect with someone who’s done what you want to do, and is coaching clients to do it, too.  The perspective and support are invaluable.

I’ve worked with different coaches at different points in my business and they’ve all added something awesome and unique to my business journey.

And committing to your coach and the coaching process is key.  I’m in long-term arrangements with my coaches.  Why?  Because there are always days where I’d love nothing more (in that moment of weakness) than to weasel out, avoid my coaching call, and hide under the blankets.

3.  Stay in a Mastermind Group

Productive masterminding is an art form.  Find a group that you “fit” with and can be real with.  Meet regularly.  Strive to be open to new perspectives and suggestions, and to participate fully by offering support and ideas for your group members.

One of the mastermind groups I participate in is my warm and fuzzy place.  I know I can spill what’s bothering me, where I’m failing or getting stuck, and they’ll be there with kind, gentle support and advice to turn it around.  It’s priceless to have that kind of safe space and support.

Another is my “build your business bigger” space where I know I’ll be challenged to step up my game, get strategy and ideas, and be held accountable for taking action and moving forward.

I adore both groups and they’ve been another key to my success in the past year.

4.  Make Public Commitments

Know yourself.  Personally I need to set deadlines, commit to things, and share them with others if I’m going to get it done.

Like the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  I’ve committed.  So I’ll get it done!

Find what works for you.  Maybe it’s setting a date for that teleseminar you want to present but have been avoiding.  Set the date, share it on your blog and in your newsletter, and you’ll make it happen!

5.  Focus on Your Tribe

When all else fails, this always works for me.  Remembering why I’m doing what I do.

I won’t say I’ve got my “mission” in life totally figured out, but I know that part of it is what I’m doing here on my blog.  It’s writing.  It’s sharing my experiences, both in happy successes and spectacular failures, with you.

So the days I get writers block… or get stuck… or can’t figure out the best way to move forward… I ask myself what can I share or create that might be helpful for you.

 Your Turn…

Are you already the “fearless leader” type?  Or is it something you’re consciously working to move towards?

What strategies work for you to get out there and play a bigger game?

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  1. Ok that guy on the bug is creeping me out! lol Definitely captures the ‘fear’ topic…

    I’m thrilled to say that I do most things on that list, except maybe public accountability. I did make myself accountable that way through this challenge though so I guess you and Michele have helped me cover that, too!

    I guess I could be called a leader since I teach a group of clients four times a year on how to build a WordPress website. We meet in a webinar room and I’m the leader there. Overall I think I’ve always tried to avoid that kind of position, though, and try to consider myself more of a peer who can sit side by side to help. I’m not sure how that fits in with my business growth but I think it’s allowed me to not worry so much about the fear part of it.

    Now reading this I’m thinking I might need to challenge myself more to face some things I might FEAR and try them out. One thing is doing more live events and speaking on stage or at workshops. I’ve been thinking of taking my coaching program into a live class but I guess fear has held me back there.

    Anyway thanks for the tips and sorry for my rambling, lol!

    Angela Wills recently posted… “I Need New Leads For My Business”My Profile

    1. It’s amazing the stock photos one can find… LOL

      Totally get what you mean — I’m a huge believer in side-by-side or servant leadership models. :)

      That would make an awesome live workshop. How much fun would that be for students to show up with laptop in hand, and leave a day or 2 days later with a rocking WordPress website? Cool.

      And feel free to ramble here anytime. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Four Words That Will Destroy Your BusinessMy Profile

  2. I’ve done the above, but I think I need to hire a coach for the biz end more, now that I’m ready to uplevel. I also have done the masterminding, public bit, and partnering up. Just need to do the above more. I also love taking classes that help me to improve upon my weak areas needing it. I relate very much to your story about being the shy girl as a kid. I was that way too! I just found that by taking 1-2 actions steps outside my comfort zone, I kept expanding my courage :)

    1. Oh great tip! Yes, taking classes to improve weak area is an excellent strategy, Lisa. And I think sometimes I tip toe… but like you said, the more we get outside the zone, the more our courage grows. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content ConsistentMy Profile

  3. GREAT post Michelle! I have always been the lone ranger. But I am now learning just what you said about partners…they are valuable and can help you achieve more, as well as add some enjoyment. I am learning the need for coaches as well. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned and do!

    1. It took me a LONG time to learn it, too. I spent the first 8 or 9 years in business trying to do things by myself. Once I finally got some support (coach, partners, mastermind) I started making progress so much faster. I’ve moved forward more in the last year than I did in the first 10 years of my business.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  4. There are many people who refer to me as a “fearless leader” and I am much more like you are, Michelle. Love the tips you share here… great to implement AND remember!

    I enjoy the Ultimate Blog Challenge each time I participate. THANK YOU for keeping it so healthy!
    Julie Jordan Scott recently posted… How to Make Your Writing Better: Whether Its a Book, a blog… a Sales Letter, an info-product, etcMy Profile

    1. Awesome, Julie. We love hearing that people are enjoying it. :)

      It’s interesting, isn’t it? Public perception vs. what we feel about ourselves. There’s something to be said for listening to what others see… I’m learning that.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s the Only Thing You Should DoubtMy Profile

  5. Outstanding advice as always Michelle! I think another critical component of the brand of fearlessness you describe is authenticity. Being genuine and transparent (as you obviously are) enables leaders to not waste energy on maintaining a facade or being afraid of offending someone. Thanks for being the real deal!!!
    Tor Constantino, MBA recently posted… Why Parents Matter – a Guest PostMy Profile

    1. That’s a good point. I can’t imagine the extra energy that would go into maintaining that kind of presentation.

      I gave up on the non-offensive/PC writing attempts when it finally sunk in that no matter how careful I was, at some point I’d offend someone. I’d rather be honest, be me, and connect with the readers who like that. :) There are so many blogs and teachers out there, someone for everyone. :)

      And thanks for stopping by, Tor — things must me pretty busy at your house right now so I appreciate it. And congrats again!!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content ConsistentMy Profile

  6. Then, again, some of us are just brazen. And, we all can be just a little more brazen…
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… Um, excuse me. Your bias is showing…My Profile

    1. True. :) I do admire those who, either by nature or determination, stand up for what they believe and work to make the world a better place. We could all use a little more of that spunk!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Find Your Inner Fearless LeaderMy Profile

  7. Michelle, I have been following you since 2006 and I have seen you blossom through so many obstacles and changes over the years. You are an inspiration to me and so many others! You are like a pioneer for us introverts :D Thanks for the tips for finding our inner fearless leader! I am looking forward to putting into play all these suggestions! You rock, my friend!!

    PS the spider is just a little too creepy for me … I think I even did a little arachna-idiot dance in my chair!
    Kimberly ~ Gypsy recently posted… Sizzling Hot Secrets to Attract Clients Today by Michelle MahoneyMy Profile

    1. Yeah, it’s been a wild ride, especially the last 6-12 months. :) Glad to have you along with me!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

  8. Great post filled with excellent tips. I can totally relate to memories of hiding under tables as a child. Now I see my granddaughter doing that and it really bothers me. I’ve committed to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for the first time…thanks for being a great leader!
    Valerie recently posted… 7 Blog Ideas For Blocked Bloggers – 31DBBB Day 2My Profile

    1. Awesome, glad to have you in the challenge, Valerie!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Should I Blog About Today?My Profile

  9. Great tips Michelle! I’m pleased to say that I currently am using them all! And what a difference it makes.

    I would also add to “Take Ultimate of Yourself”. Being fearless and taking action means you’re going to be outside of your comfort zone quite a lot. So we need to nurture and celebrate ourselves for having done so.

    When I fail to take care of myself, I often find that I run right back to my old routines and then I wonder how everything got “sabotaged”. Well duh! I didn’t take care of my greatest asset – me! And “ME” eventually reared her head and MADE me take care of myself, only she did it by reverting to old habits.
    Lynn Ruby recently posted… Never Ever Start a Video This WayMy Profile

  10. Life has forced me to become fearless. It is either sink or swim. I must say that I sleep much better at night now that fear is no longer part of my life. Another interesting fact about fear, most of what people fear, never materializes any way.
    Wade Balsdon recently posted… Americans have a drinking problemMy Profile

  11. Sound advice here Michelle. I believe that too many people waste time fearing unwanted outcomes. The reality is taking action will prevent these outcomes from happening. While there is hope there is life and while there is life there is hope. Dig deep and make it happen.
    Neil Butterfield recently posted… Top Excuses For Not ExercisingMy Profile

  12. Thanks for the encouragement; I love the five-point plan. The pentacle of the successful solopreneur.

    I’m just starting my second Mastermind (first one didn’t go so well) and I am heartened to hear how supportive it’s been for you. Good timing, as I was having some serious second thoughts.

    Love and light,

  13. All five of these points are key parts of being a “fearless” leader. None of us is fearless all the time, however. That’s an illusion. We have to keep using whatever works to keep ourselves engaged, encouraged and moving forward. The successful ones are not those who have no fear, but those who have learned to push past it to accomplish great things.

    Of the five points you mention, I want to use partners more. In the past I’ve tended to forge ahead alone on projects. I realize now that working with a partner makes a project easier and increases its chances of succeeding.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… What You See is What You GetMy Profile

  14. Being the sole provider for my four children released my fearless leader within. I was a solo mom entrepreneur in more ways than one … success on the internet requires “partnering up.” Off line I was successful without partnering but online like @florabrown I need to embrace partnering. “Partner Up” anyone? :-)
    Adalia John recently posted… For Your Inspiration: Five of My Favorite Anais Nin’s Success QuotesMy Profile

    1. Me too, Adalia. I do SO much better when I’m working with a partner!

      I’ve connected with great partners through events–either live ones I’ve attended, or virtual ones like the blog challenges. Anywhere like minded people gather is a great place to begin. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Smart Ways to Keep Your Content ConsistentMy Profile

  15. thanks MIchelle–all great suggestions. Just doing these consistently, all of them….will make a great difference to me and to everyone who follows them. The partner idea is fairly new for me… about a blog post on what you’ve found to be important in finding partners for ventures?

  16. Aloha Michelle,
    Thanks for all the inspiring stories and great tips. I, too, was a successful lone ranger up until about 10 years ago, when things started changing in the markets. I started changing, too.

    Once I found myself out of Silicon Valley marketing, and into playing meditative and healing harp music, I realized that I needed to learn a whole new way of being in business. It took me a few tries to find the right coach. I’m new to working with partners, but I’m very excited about the prospects. Hurrah! I have an awesome personal mastermind group. But I could use a professional one, too.

    Are there online mastermind groups?

    Thanks for the doing the blog challenges. I don’t get to post everyday (yet), but I am really getting my new WP sites tuned up and going. This really helps!

    Mahalo and aloha from Hawaii,
    Cymber Lily

  17. What really resonates with me Michelle is your emotional intelligence when it comes to leading… I believe leadership is more about addressing and understanding your emotions and responding accordingly, not ignoring them and doing what you “think” you should be doing…emotions are a good thing and leaders need to embrace and get comfortable with them…its funny, once you (the collective you) get that, you may find that you become less emotional, or what I would suggest “appropriately emotional”…thanks for sharing and for your emotionally intelligent leadership…keep on leading us to blogging supremacy!….cheers…Rob
    Robert Bazzo recently posted… Words of Wisdom WednesdaysMy Profile

  18. Hi Michelle,
    You have shared great tips to find inner fearless leader.I prefer to be a part of mastermind group. Mastermind group helpful for me in many cases especially in blogging. We could share our thoughts in like minded group and also we can get several interesting ideas. Mastermind groups are best to find our inner fearless leader.
    Syeda Mehwish recently posted… How To Cleanse Your SkinMy Profile

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