On "Being Fearless" – The Actual, Final Post of 2010

SkydiverHey, lookee, a bonus post before I take off for the holidays!  Whodathunkit?

Ordinarily I eat quite healthily.  Lean meats, lots of fruit & vegetables, Omega-3 capsules, etc.  But today I ordered a gooey mass of cholesterol for lunch – lotsa red meat, lotsa cheese, lotsa mayo.  Yum.

You know why I indulged?  Because I recently had a thorough physical exam, and my doctor told me I was in great shape.  Everything looks good — or better than good.  (What guy wouldn’t be excited to learn that his testosterone levels are 3X normal? — Wait’ll I tell the wife!)

Because I felt HEALTHY I gave myself permission to act UNHEALTHY.

Halfway through the sandwich it dawned on me: I was healthy because I had healthy habits; I had healthy habits because I was anxious about my health.  As soon as I felt GOOD about my health, I eagerly threw caution to the winds.

Not so smart.

The same lesson applies to most aspects of the PR professional’s life.

If you feel like you have a GREAT relationship with your clients, it’s time to be trepidatious.  I just walked out of a pitch where the prospect spoke of the agency getting a little too comfortable with the relationship; they weren’t fired up to provide fresh ideas anymore.

If you feel like you have a GREAT relationship with your boss, it’s time to take a good look at your career growth.  Have you stalled out a little, lately?  Maybe it’s because your boss has grown too comfortable with having you right where you are, and suspects your “great relationship” will keep you in the seat?

A former employee recently flattered me by tweeting that I’d taught her to be fearless.  That’s high praise, and I’m always so astounded to learn that I’ve made a positive impact on someone.  But I also need to teach the opposite lesson: a little bit of fear keeps you on your toes.  You can’t be fearless if you already feel you have nothing to fear; there’s no struggle, no honor in that.

As you head into 2011 — a year that promises no less tumult than 2010 — examine your life, career, relationships.  Whatever you care about holding on to, or advancing? — Be fearful of losing it, and be fearless in tackling whatever changes are required to move the needle.

And with that, gang, I’m outta here.  Happy Holidays.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm By Todd Defren
8 Responses to “On "Being Fearless" – The Actual, Final Post of 2010”


  • Good advice, and not just applicable to business. Don’t ever rest on your laurels, folks. It’s okay for a day or two, but as an old friend used to say: “If you think you’re finished, you’re FINISHED!”

  • Louise Thompson says:

    Paranoia shapes my everyday existence ;) So glad someone put it into words more eloquent than mine!

  • It’s proven that people work more efficiently when they have a deadline or someone breathing on their neck. Being too relaxed might be good for your brain but it’s definitely not good for your business.
    The important thing is to find a good balance between the two. Being too stressed will eventually lead to bad things, being too relaxed will eventually lead to your professional life suffering.

  • Todd- Great point. As Andy Grove’s book title aptly puts it: Only the Paranoid Survive. Have a great holiday!

  • Really sound advice. I think it’s important to have a balance of being fearless and fearful…exactly like what you explained.

    Wishing you and your family a great holiday season!

    ~ Nikki

  • Kneale Mann says:

    I just did the rounds and reviewed what value I bring to each client relationship and as I step it up to bigger projects, that will become even more crucial. The reason you got the thumbs up from doc dude AND the reason Shift is so healthy is for the exact same reason.

    Have a wonderful break, Todd and I look forward to the possibility of finally meeting in person in 2011. Now go eat some cookies, you’re makin’ us all look bad!

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