On Becoming Fearless … in Love, Work and Life

This morn­ing, Peter Guber, in The Har­vard Busi­ness Review, reminds us of the power of story telling in Using Sto­ries to Over­come Fear. Do you want to hear a beau­ti­ful story, that will inspire you to become fearless?

Lis­ten to Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton at Women@Google, inter­viewed by a very blos­som­ing Sheryl Sand­berg, then in a very advanced stage of pregnancy.

I left Greece when I was 18 to go to Cam­bridge where I stud­ied Eco­nom­ics. I saw a mag­a­zine arti­cle about Cam­bridge when I lived in Athens in a one-room appart­ment with my mom, divorced from my father, with no for­mal edu­ca­tion. I looked at that pic­ture and I said “I want to go to Cam­bridge.” Every­body said you’re insane. My mother said “Let’s see how we can do it.” And that is the mother that I had. She was this extra­or­di­nary human bee­ing who believed that you should never let your fears stop you from attempt­ing to ful­fill your dreams. If you failed, that didn’t mat­ter. If I failed along the way, she wouldn’t love me any less. And so that kind of uncon­di­tional lov­ing is the foun­da­tion of my life.”

Isn’t it a beau­ti­ful story of mother and daugh­ter, of  their uncon­di­tional love, of men­tor and empowerment?

All the ingre­di­ents of a fairy tale are there, just like in Ursula Burns’s story

The ini­tial sit­u­a­tion the lit­tle girl in a one-room appart­ment in Athens, with her divorced mother (who had tuberculosis…)

The obsta­cles: gen­der, class, cul­ture, lan­guage, finances

The val­ues of a pure heart: Hard work, per­se­ver­ance, uncon­di­tional love

The Fairy God Mother: her own mother, Elli Stassinopou­los.

The Edu­ca­tion of the Hero : Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton grad­u­ated in eco­nom­ics from Gir­ton Col­lege, Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity. She became the pres­i­dent of the Cam­bridge debate team.

The First Tri­als : she failed many times, but she remem­bers, dur­ing an inter­view by Moira Forbes, her biggest failure.It was when her sec­ond book was refused 36 times and she was run­ning out of money. “The only way to make sure you never suc­ceed is to stay in your com­fort zone and never fail. The dif­fer­ence between suc­cess and fail­ure is perseverance.”

The Mag­i­cal Potion: she is fear­less! Noth­ing can stop her, she never gives up! (another mag­i­cal potion ele­ment is sleep too…)

The Help­ful “Ani­mals”: that’s what she calls the sup­port­ive peo­ple that the “uni­verse” sent her. (like the Barclay’s bank man­ager in Lon­don who gave her an overdraft)

The Happy End­ing : Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton has become today the most pow­er­ful woman in media history.

The power of a story is that it gives each of us the per­mis­sion to dream and the keys to make that dream come true. It engages us and trans­ports us, mind, body & soul all together. Sto­ries plug directly into our uncon­scious and our emo­tions and are res­onat­ing indi­vid­u­ally for each of us, in a unique manner.

That’s why they are almost “mag­i­cal”… and cer­tainly a major skill any global leader should develop.

Today I intended to write a post about Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton, in my series about 12 Women Lead­ers, to illus­trate the Networker/Monitor dilemna.

As I researched the web for some arti­cles and videos, I quickly under­stood that Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton was mak­ing the head­lines with the merger with AOL.

I guess that makes this AOL’s — and HuffPost’s — Sput­nik Moment!”  Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton, Feb­ru­ary 7th 2011 at The Huff­in­g­ton Post

I can’t wait to write the next post devel­op­ing The Net­worker Style of Lead­er­ship, char­ac­ter­ized by social inter­ac­tions, net­work­ing and hedo­nism, in oppo­si­tion with The Mon­i­tor, focused on hard work, self-discipline and per­se­ver­ance. Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton def­i­nitely mas­ters the art of jug­gling with para­dox and dilemna!

A very timely illus­tra­tion to what Umair Haque calls The Age of Dilemna

But this is another story!

Which sto­ries are help­ing you over­come fear and become “fear­less” in Love, Work and Life?

If you want to read another inspir­ing story, here’s Ursula Burns ‘s Fairy Tale Story in The Cor­po­rate World.

Big Mama Mar­ion will come back with some other sto­ries very soon!

Related posts:

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12 Responses to On Becoming Fearless … in Love, Work and Life

  1. Catherine says:

    In Jan­u­ary I decided that 2011 was going to be my year for liv­ing fear­lessly. It’s so easy to be con­trolled by worry and doubt, but I’m happy to say I’ve been mak­ing some major steps in the right direction.

    Adri­anna Huff­in­g­ton is such a great inspi­ra­tion! I can’t believe I knew so lit­tle about her back­ground. Her mom sounds awesome.

    She’s not nearly as big a name, but the woman who got my started on my “year of liv­ing fear­lessly” kick was Emily Hen­der­son, who recently won HGTV’s design star. Her post about her own wake-up call really got to me for some rea­son: http://www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/dear-2010-you-rocked-my-world.html

    • admin says:

      Bravo Cather­ine!
      Big applause for tak­ing action after lis­ten­ing to an inspir­ing story.
      That is what really mat­ters after all!
      I really appre­ci­ate that you stopped by and shared another role model. We need more role mod­els and not always such big names, you are absolutely right. When this series of sto­ries about the 12 Women Lead­ers is com­plete (one of my chal­lenge being to com­plete things when I love the inno­va­tion phase most!), I also intend to inter­view “ordi­nary” women, just like you and me. :-)

  2. Julie Daley says:

    Big Mama Mar­ion, Thank you for shar­ing this beau­ti­ful story with us.

    • admin says:

      I saw your com­ment just before going to sleep, yes­ter­day and it made me smile. Big Mama is the sweet name my chil­dren call me, espe­cially my eldest daugh­ter Car­o­line, who lived many years in UK and US.
      I have a very deep ten­der­ness for a chil­dren book I have read thou­sands of times to my chil­dren at bed­time.
      It’s called: Big Mama makes the world…sharing a story of what if a woman god­dess had invented the world, instead of the usual old man with a beard? It used to make my chil­dren laugh loud, and me as well.
      A big belly laugh­ter!
      Bless­ings to you, Julie and thank you.

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  4. Great post Mar­ion! Thank you for writ­ing this!

  5. Marjory says:

    love your ques­tion:
    “Which sto­ries are help­ing you over­come fear and become “fear­less” in Love, Work and Life? These sto­ries remind us of our pos­si­bil­i­ties. Yes! Thank you.

    • admin says:

      As I men­tioned ear­lier today in my tweet to you, Mar­jorie, you have the gift of sto­ry­telling. You voice is sen­sual and filled with flesh. I love your sto­ries and they inspire me. Some­times, I wish I would express a lit­tle more this wild part. I want to find the mix with “busi­ness” writ­ing and incor­po­rate sen­su­al­ity, cre­ativ­ity, visu­als and sto­ries as I write about lead­er­ship for exec­u­tives . Shhhh! I write essen­tially for the lit­tle girls and the lit­tle boys inside the cor­po­rate suit…

  6. Marjory says:

    Haha, lovely. You are divine Mar­ion. I am deeply touched by your words. Tak­ing them in slowly. My gift expands with your lov­ing power of vision. I was just telling Julie Daley last night about the beau­ti­ful piece you wrote about the expres­sive wild irrev­er­ent move­ment of Coco Chanel’s whole being. It is in you and flow­ing through you already dear.

  7. Pingback: Arianna and The Labyrinth of Dilemna | Geronimo Coaching Now

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