Living Strong Abroad: Pushing Past Fear

Living Strong Abroad: Pushing Past Fear

Jo Self

As Jo ascends on her flight to a life-changing experience, she leaves with us a moment of reflection. What are our fears? What would we do if we weren’t afraid?

The column Living Strong Abroad is a mix of things: a bit of my life abroad and the joys and challenges of being an ex-pat; my life as a strengths coach and my belief of the importance on raising a strengths-based generation; and finally, the occasional random thoughts, sharing my point of view from Peru on life in general.

Today, I combine a bit of all three.

By the time this is published I will be on a plane heading to Alptitude in the French Alps. It’s an un-summit put on by the Happy Start-Up School. I was selected among 25 global entrepreneurs to participate in this life-expanding event where I will rub elbows with others who are interested in having a significant impact in the world. If I merely said I was excited, I’d be underselling it.

It came about by accident. See, I have a ritual of choosing a word each year. Last year was ‘œIntentional’ and this year was ‘œLean In.’ This year, I am guided by the question, ‘œWhat would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ And the month of June are full of such things.

When I found the webpage for Alptitude, I wasn’t looking for myself exactly. I was curious as to what’s new in the world of think-tanks, summits, etc.

As I read through the page, it was as if exactly what I wanted to create already existed. As I scrolled to the bottom of the page, the temptation was there, the application to attend. It actually took me two days to finally bite the bullet. I was full of self-limiting talk. I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t good enough, I wouldn’t have anything valuable to offer to the others.

The French Alps (Photo: Pixabay)

And then the ‘œLean-In’ voice whispered, ‘œWhat are you waiting for? This is what this year is all about.’

So, I applied and off I go in a couple of days.

I’m viewing this trip as a way for me to hit the reset button on life. My Connectedness is ready to re-connect to my lost desires, new experiences, new opportunities, the me I used to be and the me I am becoming. My Positivity knows I will come out on the other side of this experience better for it all. My Strategic can’t help but have a Plan A’¦ and B and C and D, though, at the end of the day, Connectedness wins and says to just let it be. My WOO is over the moon with all the new contacts and friendships that I will make and increasing my sphere of influence. However, of all of my strengths, my Maximizer is what needed to be talked off a ledge.

Maximizer sees and looks for excellence, but a few small triggers sent mine on a bit of a downward spiral. It let in the devil of comparison and I began to doubt myself again. I also had an amazing A-Ha moment. I had always thought it was interesting that I never had a fear of failure, but apparently more a fear of success. I get so far on a project or a path and then I stop just short of going to the top. What I learned was this: I am not afraid of success, but when I see someone already doing an amazing job in a area where I was focusing, I see no reason for me to continue on that path – someone else has it covered and they’re doing it wonderfully. So I shift; I don’t give up, I shift.

I’ve also learned it’s not my place to always do, but to be the messenger for others who are. I want to promote others and share my message of the benefit of strengths. That’s what I really love to do.

This is for everyone out there thinking that they are not quite good enough or strong enough or talented enough. Push past the fear. It can be a beautiful place outside of your comfort zone, but you’ll never know unless you try.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and raise a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren’t wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she’s not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. or

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