What are you afraid of? Aging? Success? Intimacy? Whatever your fear, author and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington believes you should face it head on. Arianna talks to Gayle about her new book, On Becoming Fearless…in Love, Work, and Life.
Arianna tells Gayle she wrote the book to share her advice to women on facing their fears and pursuing their dreams. "Please, whoever is listening, if you are self-conscious about something, and you are afraid that you are going to be criticized—don't let that stop you," Arianna says. "I feel like a missionary, where I want to convey that to other women. … We're stopped by the fear of being criticized, especially we women, because we so desperately want to be approved of and liked and patted on the back."
In the book, Arianna gives many examples of fear in her own life. Arianna says she wasn't always brave—in fact, Arianna says, as a child, she constantly feared being teased about her height. In college, Arianna says she was self-conscious about her thick Greek accent—"I stood up to speak and was ridiculed," she says. "I still tear up when I think about how hard and humiliating it was for me." In regards to her love life, Arianna says after seven years, at the age of 30, she left the "first big love of my life" because he did not want to get married or have children. "The most terrifying thing I ever had to do in my life was leave him," she says.
Today, Arianna is a successful author and nationally syndicated columnist, and her political blog is one of the most popular online. Arianna says "fearlessness" isn't the absence of fear, but rather mastering fear. "That is really the key message of this book: Do what you want to do, say what you want to say, even while you're afraid. Don't wait for you not to be afraid because that day may never come. I see fearlessness as a muscle…the more we exercise that muscle, the stronger it gets, the easier it becomes the next time."
And what happens if you face your fears and it turns out to be a disaster? "Then we do it again," Arianna says, adding that no successful person hasn't experienced failure. "We can't expect it to work right away. But the key thing is if that's our passion, if that's what we want to do, let's keep doing it and doing it and doing it until we get better."