How to overcome your fears in six steps with YouTuber Michelle Poler

Art by Ina Jacobe

We’re already into the second week of the year, a.k.a. that weird sliver of time between having the confidence to stick to our New Year’s resolutions and ultimately deciding to abandon them when you realize that they aren’t as easy as you thought they’d be. Usually we promise to work out more, meet new people, or try out new hobbies — all things that we (obviously) kind of dread to do. But isn’t the point of making them to prove that we can move past the fear on our way to be New™ and Improved™ citizens of the world?

Then again, what if all you need is a little nudge to get those resolutions going? Maybe a nudge in the form of six (non- intimidating) steps? This is something that YouTuber and speaker Michelle Poler learned with her 100 Days Without Fear project. Back when she was completing her grad studies in New York, Michelle decided that she was sick of staying in her comfort zone and began to face one fear a day for 100 days.

Speaking at Miriam College for their Girls Be Brave! campaign last Jan. 5, Michelle told us that after doing everything from dancing in the middle of Times Square to posing nude for a drawing class, she realized that conquering her fears involved a process of discovery, denial, determination, questioning, action and celebration. Making it through 100 days is no joke but it helps to take everything one step at a time.

Girl talk: Michelle spoke to the students of Miriam College last Jan. 5 as part of the school’s Girls Be Brave! campaign.

Stage 1: Discovery

The first stage involves finding out what you’re scared of. Sometimes we’re already aware of our fears (think: heights, public speaking, flying ipis), but other times we have to dig to find out what’s bothering us (think: commitment, global warming, job insecurity).

Stage 2: Denial

This is where you ignore the fact that you’re scared of something. Michelle says that the enemy of success is comfort, so you can either stay in your comfort zone forever, or you can decide to accept your fear and move on to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Determination

Here’s where you power through and think “What’s the best that could hap- pen?” instead of dwelling on worst-case scenarios. See the possibilities that could come from overcoming your fears and finally decide to face them.

Stage 4: What am I doing?

There will be a moment where you begin to regret even starting the process. Michelle says that there were times where she’d overthink her decision to face a certain fear, exaggerating all the bad things that could happen. Her advice? Power through and plunge headfirst into Stage 5.

Stage 5: Action

A very self-explanatory stage that is best summarized with Nike’s slogan: Just do it. It can even be as simple as trying out a kind of food you swore you’d never touch. If you’re scared of dancing in public, go ahead and show off your moves in the middle of a crowded mall. Go on, and don’t think about what others might think of you.

Stage 6: Celebration

Pat yourself on the back and tell the world about your fear-conquering (tweeting works, too). You deserve to be proud of yourself. See? It wasn’t as bad as you thought.


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