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February 6, 2013 | Lara Galinsky

To Change the World, Fear Means Go


It's exactly the advice your mother didn't give you, unless your mom was a rule-breaker like my mine. Fear means go. This was one of my mom's favorite principles. She said it when I was petrified to go to school for the first time; she said it when I was going to be on live television and was nervous I had nothing valuable to say. She believed fear was a compass — an indicator of the direction you should go in if you want to become the person you have the potential to be.

I always liked the sound of the phrase — I considered myself a bold adolescent after all — but it wasn't until I was an adult that I fully understood it.

Long before I came to work at Echoing Green, I was invited to be a judge for the fellowship committee, which selects individuals from among the world's most promising social entrepreneurs. When I arrived, I found myself among some intimidatingly accomplished people — a PhD chemist/engineer/professor, a laureate-quality poet, and activists behind some of the most successful social movements of our time. I made my way uncomfortably to my seat, aware that I was one of the youngest and least experienced judges in the room.

Over the next two days, we spoke with dozens of potential fellows — young social entrepreneurs putting their lives at risk to protect the human rights of the most vulnerable people, jumpstarting new philanthropy movements, and developing innovative solutions to chip away at the gap between the haves and have nots. The story of one finalist particularly moved me. His name was Terrence Stevens. He was a paraplegic man with spinal muscular atrophy who grew up in a housing project in Harlem...

Continue reading Fear Means Go on Harvard Business Review, and then take Step 1 with your closest confidants and collaborators by acknowledging the fear that you've been hiding.