I’m very happy to announce that I’ve just finished an entire book. Yes, I actually read it from beginning to end even though it took me several months to do so! It’s so hard to buckle down and read in our world of “go, go, go.” It’s so much easier to waste my spare time checking my news feed on Facebook.
On Becoming Fearless…In Love, Work, & Life is written by Arianna Huffington, founder of the wildly popular Huffington Post. After the online blog was acquired by AOL, she became the President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. She’s also known as a prominent political figure and ran for Governor of California in 2003. Huffington reflects on fearlessness in relation to her professional experiences as well as from the lens of being a mother of two girls.
Shout out to Shahidah from Properly Improper for sending me her copy of On Becoming Fearless. It was on my “Boss Books” Pinterest board after I read an article about it so I jumped at the chance of winning it via a book giveaway that Shahidah had on her blog. I feel that it’s only right that I pay it forward to my positively optimistic & powerful readers! If you would like the Shahidah-Carla special edition of this book after reading my thoughts on it, peep the giveaway instructions at the end of this post.
So…Shahidah wasn’t in love with this book when she read it and I have to admit that it was a struggle for me to get through the first half of it. I think the primary reason why it was a struggle to keep reading it is because there were so many other things competing for my limited entertainment time–reading blogs and blogging, watching Being Mary Jane, Scandal, and Empire, and the greatest distraction of them all, Facebook.
Once I actually pushed myself to sit and read after Little L was put to bed for the night, I felt like I couldn’t really connect with the book because there were so many stories being told at once. Huffington includes A LOT of quotes and short essays from other prominent women on being fearless in relation to specific topics. This annoyed me at first. It read more like a research paper than a self-help book. However, after I got used to the writing style and forced myself to stick with it, I gathered quite a few inspirational nuggets from Huffington and the accomplished women that she quotes.
I’m just going to share with you all some of my favorite quotes and thoughts from the book by section.
From the “Introduction…”
“Trapped by our own fears, we then pretend that we’re incapable of having what we want, forever waiting for others to give us permission to start living” (Huffington 7).
This made me want to holler and throw up my hands because sometimes I feel stuck or limited because of my situation in life, thinking that being a wife and mother restricts me from pursuing certain passions. Inwardly, I feel like I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me it’s ok to try new things that are just for my own well-being that aren’t necessarily related to fulfilling my role in the family. But, the only restrictions are the ones I set in my mind. I have to stop waiting for someone else to give me permission to pursue my goals.
From “Fearless About Money…”
“The point is that my mother’s real wealth was the fact that she never made decisions from a place of lack..she always radiated abundance” (125).
This is another point that I’ve been trying to stay mindful of. If I approach life from a state of lack or not having enough, I will never have the fearlessness it takes to make big things happen. Instead of approaching a situation from a negative place, from a “I can’t afford/do that,” I want to ask, “What do I need to do to obtain/do X,Y, or Z?”
From “Fearless About Aging and Illness…”
“But when we stop holding on to things we’ll never use and stop struggling to be who we are not, we discover newfound energy and strength” (143).
For way too long, I’ve let myself feel bad for not being more like this person or that person when all I needed to do was accept and embrace who I was in order to have real power to create a life that I love.
From “Fearless About Leadership and Speaking Out…”
After describing how her mother took a job as a “house manager” for a family in Santa Barbara, Huffington writes, “She had taken the job with no sense of inferiority, and so it never occurred to the family to treat her as inferior” (191).
This passage really made me reflect on how my attitude towards my position in life matters more than how I feel others perceive me. In fact, my opinion about myself affects other people’s opinion of me. This idea makes me think about several jobs I’ve had in the past where I felt really small and insignificant. Looking back, I know that my negative attitude was just as much to blame if not more to blame for my unhappiness than actually having what I considered crappy jobs.
Overall, I’m grateful to Shahidah for sending me this book. It was definitely worth all the energy it took to read it from cover to cover. This edition also includes a reading group guide at the end.
In order to receive your copy of On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington:
1. “Like” the Popped Black Woman Blog Facebook page and follow yours truly on Twitter.
2. Write a comment on this post about your thoughts on what it means to be fearless, how you act fearless in your daily life, or simply write, “Gimme that book” below.
3. If there’s more than one person interested, I will draw names randomly out of a hat (or wine glass) and announce the winner Friday in my weekly “Fearless Friday” post. Therefore, the deadline to enter the giveaway is Thursday morning, May 21st. Unfortunately, I’ll only be able to ship the book to a shipping address in the U.S. Good luck!