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Fearless, Take Three: When Fearless Girls (and boys) Need Bravery

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli


"Fearless Girl" Sculpture: Kristen Visbal - Photo: Federica Valabrega



Well. Fearless has struck a chord.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Fearless Girl statue in New York City. Last week, my kids chimed in on the matter. In between, my talented colleague Daniela Ortiz posted an amazing poem on the subject. 

This week, my esteemed friend and colleague, and Wings & Whimsy partner, Ali Mercier, lends her voice to the subject. It is my honor to have Ali back on the blog, with some powerful words on fear and fearlessness.


I’m a fearless girl that has a hard time being brave.

What I mean by that is, I am very much unafraid (and always have been) of many things that other people find terrifying. Public speaking? Jumping off a cliff? Two things I gleefully run to.

If I disagree with you about something in the world, you’ll hear about it, most likely right then. If I disagree with you about something with… something with feelings and ideas and thoughts and opinions?

That slight change is enough to bowl me over and keep my mouth shut. Every once in a while, for a few years. More likely for a few months or weeks. Sometimes for a few days. Rarely less. And the more I think about every time I picked not speaking up, the more I realized it was probably mostly forever. 

Can I have the cliff back?

Erika and I met in Chicago a couple weeks ago to attend a Wonder Workshop with Brad Montague of Montague Workshop-- most well known for his work in creating Kid President (I’m sure she has a post in the works for you about it). In the workshop, we talked about how quickly as we move from “wow” to “how” as adults. And how quickly we find reasons to avoid the most wonder-full things we come upon because of a scary skip in how.

And I started to realize the stuff I’m fearless about, I don’t really think about the how. Where with the stuff I’m terrified of, all I think about is the how until I can’t think about it anymore and stop thinking.

And now I’m thinking about the feeling I have after the jump off, on the way down. The smile that lights everything in me up, to the tips of my toes and fingers. The surge of the water around me, its enveloping of me. The push off the bottom to fresh air, bursting above the surface.

The pure thoughtlessness.

The pure wow, untainted by how.

I’ve been wondering a lot for the past week and a half about finding that bliss in those hard places full of hows.

So for now, I’m happy to know I get to wow myself to bravery, and allowing myself time to not quite say how yet.

How can you wow yourself today?

By: Ali Mercier

Wings & Whimsy Challenge: Howl

Challenge: What's your take on what it means to be fearless?
PLEASE join this conversation! Tell me about it in the
comments below, or tweet it to me @ErikaPetrelli1


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"Fearless, Take Three", The Leadership Program, 2017


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.