I’m Roanne, a writer, a researcher (Ph.D) and a mentor for people around the world who want to overcome their fears, or be more productive -without experiencing stress. I’m also a world-traveller with a preference to stay home, a wannabe dog whisperer, a serial plant-killer, an introvert public speaker and a rock climber with severe vertigo.
I’m very often afraid to do the stuff I like best in life. In fact, there was a time in my life when I was scared for pretty much everything – heights, driving cars, taking risks in my personal- or worklife, flying in planes, disappointing people, big dogs (especially if they had owners that would insist their puppies were “well-behaved”) getting my ears pierced…(I’m not kidding. This is for real.) I was also a control freak, as it stressed me out not to be on top of *everything* in my life – although I preferred to call this ‘organised’, of course.
For most part of my life, I perceived myself as a natural coward. And – between you and me – I behaved like one, most of the time. My life changed when, in 2008, I started to do anthropological research on risk behaviour.
Since then, I’ve conducted interviews with hundreds of fear-experts, from all over the world. Over the course of years, I have lived in tiny Inuit hunter’s villages (where I learned how to survive in harsh conditions); in one of the poorest and most flood-prone slums in Indonesia (where I learned how to feel safe amidst severe floods and other risks) and I have spent years among extreme athletes such as base jumpers and climbers (from whom I learned the most effective methods to perform at your best despite of fear in extremely stressful situations).
Eventually, I obtained my PhD with honours on the subject, and I started to implement the lessons that I’d learned from fear-experts, into my own life. I was often sceptical, initially (I am a social scientist, remember?), sometimes my experiments brought me to tears and frustration, but more and more often, I had big ‘AHA-moments’.
I started to understand what actually works – and what does not.
The result was that I started to live a life that was much more free.I started to do things that I wanted to do, rather than the things that I dared to do. I learned how to prepare myself mentally for scary situations, so that I became able to perform successfully despite of nervousness; I trained myself to calm myself down instantly as soon as I felt fear creeping in; I started to understand why popular fear-management techniques such us ‘positive affirmations’ and ‘shock therapy’ did not have any positive impact on me (and this actually counts for most other people as well, by the way), and what did help me to become more courageous.
Those insights were not just helping me to radically lower the amount of stress and disappointment I’d feel in relation to myself, but they also provided me with a massive portion of happiness. Because the flipside of being afraid, is being free.
Since my fear no longer decides which challenges in life I take up, I make decisions based on what I truly want and love in life. Don’t get me wrong: there is not such a thing as complete fearlessness. If you are looking for that on this website (or on any other place on this planet), I’m gonna have to disappoint you. To be human, is to experience fear. To be scared is a bit like to be curious, or hungry. You cannot simply stop being it. However, you can learn to be how to be (much) less bothered by your fears, and how to become (much) more courageous.
I guess I’m a living example of how this can work for you. You remember, me, that gal formerly known as The Coward? I climb mountains nowadays, I enjoy speaking for large audiences, I became my own boss, start up projects I have never managed before, take financial risks, I delegate (!), I got myself a dog, I fly all over the world – in fact, I no longer own a home, instead, I live where my lover and/or work are. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, this new, free life of mine freaks me out – but only just a little bit, and mostly… I just enjoy it to the max.
I never decide to not do something out of fear. I don’t have to, because I no longer fear fear itself. I’ve learned how to deal with it, if it pops up, and I have become confident that I am able to perform successfully – even in very stressful circumstances.
If I can do that, you can, too. True that. You only need to know how.
I’m delighted to share the lessons I’ve learned over the course of years with you in my books, public speeches, the free letters I write twice a month two my followers, and the online training programs that I have developed.
Please join me, and (B)rave on!