Next Level Fearless: If Not Now, When?
In the fourth of our series on next level fearlessness from Marketo’s Fearless 50, Karen Fowler shares her perspective on why now is the right time to take a leap.
by Karen Fowler
posted on 08-22-2019
Fear challenged me. I decided to face it head-on.
I wouldn’t be where I am right now if not for the Fearless 50 program. It gave me the push I needed to change the things in my life that weren’t aligned with my priorities.
Last year I courageously decided to leave my full-time marketing job and take some time to answer the big questions: What’s my purpose? What do I really want from life? How do I make it happen? I may not have all the answers yet, but I’ve set these guiding principles for my fearless life:
- Endless curiosity leads to endless possibilities.
- In order to find your purpose, you have to get back to your heart.
- Once you’ve found your purpose, you need to take 100% responsibility and consciously commit to pursuing the life you want.
Curiosity on fire
I have always been a curious person. I am grateful that I grew up in a cool, artsy town like Austin. It has made me appreciate how much one’s environment influences your ability to be creative and express yourself.
In college, my curiosity was on fire. I immersed myself in so many different communities, clubs, and ideas. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone helped me to see all of the possibilities for my future and discover my passion for building community and helping others flourish. This same passion is why I later decided to take on the Austin Marketo User Group’s leadership role and dedicate my time to volunteering in my community.
The biggest idea that impacted me and is my driving force of fearlessness was reading Aristotle’s virtue theory on Eudaimonia. A Greek word meaning the good life or human flourishing, Aristotle claimed was the pinnacle of humanity. A life of Eudaimonia is a life of striving. It’s a life of pushing your limits and finding success. To be the best person you can be by honing your strengths while working on weaknesses. This idea has always driven me to take action and to be around people that continually want to improve. Never underestimate the creativity and inventiveness of human beings.
Path toward marketing career
After I graduated college and finished an economic think tank internship in Washington DC, I decided I wanted to work for the private sector, in the creative environment of my hometown of Austin.
In my internship class of roughly 80 interns, my classmates voted me most likely to create my own non-profit 501(c3). At the time, I loved the advocacy component of being part of a non-profit organization but the timing was not right. Instead, I chose a career path where I’d have the money to give back and later create a future advocacy organization.
I knew I could have a greater impact going the creative marketing route influencing hearts and minds strategically. I started to grow my career learning everything I could about digital marketing. I wore multiple hats, then became a Marketo Engage expert, and then a Marketo user group leader to share my knowledge with others.
Getting back to human and heart
Beneath our roles as fearless marketers, we all are humans. As human beings, we are more important than what we do for a living or what possessions we have. That is clear to me. It’s more about the kind of human beings we are becoming and want to become. Being fearless also means honing your empathetic and deep listening skills. It also applies to how you treat yourself by cutting out the negative self-talk and criticism.
Take 100% responsibility for what you create in this world
Being fearless is consciously leading with love and purpose, embracing change, and being present. In order to be fearless, you have to take 100% responsibility for what you create. That means the good outcomes and the less desirable ones too. A true leader is someone who can be honest. Only then can true change happen.
You are in charge. Instead of just reacting to the world, take time to create proactively. Use the power of love and kindness to transform your fear of change and the unknown through an open heart.
I recently created my own consultancy and I’m fearless about the future. New clients keep ringing my phone even though I haven’t announced this yet.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t experience fear anymore, but now I am prepared to face it. It also doesn’t mean that I have to figure everything out on my own. I sought out an executive coach to help with personal growth as well as growing my consultancy. The feedback and advice give me critical real-time understanding to help me accomplish my goals faster, smarter, easier.
I’ve consciously decided to create an environment with people and ideas where I feel alive and vibrant. You can too. Surround yourself with like-minded people with high goals and high motivation. Consciously create the life you want fearlessly.
The Fearless 50 program propelled me to face fear and, subsequently, I realized I had a choice about how I moved forward. That’s been a big shift for me, understanding I had a choice by cultivating endless curiosity, taking risks, opening my heart, being creative instead of reactive, and taking 100% responsibility. Fear doesn’t evaporate, but it does lessen its grip.
The road map is yours. Time is finite and the law of nature waits for no one, so go get after it!
If not now, when?
To apply for the next Fearless 50 class, apply here.