Fearlessness written by Bobbie Hughes Millman

Have you ever heard someone say they’re afraid of heights or that they fear speaking in front of others? Most of us have. And there are so many who share those fears. But have you ever heard anyone say they’re afraid of success? These are words we rarely hear yet so many more of us have this problem, some without even knowing.

At times, fear of success is born out of a failed attempt at greatness and the humiliation that followed. Mostly, however, such an emotional block occurs at a deeper level, encouraged by a word or phrase that echoes from the distant past. Such dissuasion teaches one to protect themselves through fear; of trying, of wanting, of loving and of living.

How can our history cast such an important and paralyzing shadow on our future.

While developing our individual personalities in the early years, we’re also processing information received by the environment around us and interpreting it uniquely to our own circumstances. Every personal jab or thoughtless criticism becomes embedded in a special file we tend to access when decisions about our level of self-worth arise. When it’s time to take a valuable leap forward, our past tells us we’re not capable of that feat. Better to throw effort at something less difficult to achieve. When we hear the discouraging words of long ago echoing in our minds, we recoil in a protective ball of flesh, searching for a kinder alternative. This situation is all too familiar to most of us, and especially to me.

As an adolescent, I once aspired to achieve greatness. At as early as nine years old, I would allow my pen to draft stories, engraving images in the minds of those who cared to read them. My classmates, and even my teacher, believed I would one day become a writer. Merely three years later, discouraging criticism from a junior high English teacher forced me to rethink my future; reassess my goals. He didn’t mean to dash my spirit. Perhaps he’d hoped to drive me harder toward a purposeful objective. What he didn’t know was that I had already been weakened by the frailties of being a teenager.

Wounded by harsh critiques and minimal praise, I had decided that mature writing was not only difficult but impossible for me. I’d avoided taking more English than necessary in my high school years and college was out of the question. The only hope for a failure like me was to enlist in the military and shoot again for a different form of success. With that in mind, I signed up for the Marine Corp and headed off to basic training a few short months after high school graduation.

If you have any idea what boot camp in any branch of the military entails, consider that Marines pride themselves on being the most difficult of them all. The Marine Corp drill instructor is charged with fleshing out your deepest fear and using it against you until you’re fragmented to a million sobbing pieces, only to be reconstructed in the image of the ultimate Marine. That was my reality. That was what I signed up for. And two months later, when I walked off the parade field on graduation day, I was a new person, realizing that anyone who could succeed, even survive Marine Corp basic training, can accomplish anything they set their mind to. I’d left Parris Island, South Carolina, with a renewed outlook on my future.

Simply knowing I could achieve any goal I valued, however, wasn’t enough to propel me toward the greatness I desired. I’d love to say my life had changed in an instant. Unfortunately, too many years passed before I found the courage to get a college education, and even inspiring notes from professors about the quality of my writing hadn’t convinced me yet that I could succeed at a talent I had once entertained as my career. Baby steps propelled me forward. Eventually, one of my short stories was bought and published in a popular children’s magazine and I was awarded the honor of being named author of the month by editors at the same publication. Ultimately, I published two novels and have written five others.

Through the experiences of my past, I’ve learned to ignore the fading voices that once cast doubt and fear into my evolving mind. When faced with a trial meant to derail my efforts with hesitation, I now remember that nothing worth having is easily acquired. Instead of being stalled by fear, I’ve made a conscious choice to embrace challenges, no matter how great; pledging to fight, to achieve, to love and to live my life fully and fearlessly. What challenges do you face with reluctance when voices of times past haunt your present?


Bobbi is an award-winning author of children’s short stories. In her free time, she has written seven novels, has started on her eighth, and has published two of her books. She previously worked for the Screen Actors Guild as an Executive Director and is currently an English trainer for corporate professionals in Europe. She teaches English skills and writes professional correspondence on behalf of multi-national corporations to foreign dignitaries in the European region. Her favorite job is being a mother to her two boys and a wife to her husband, David.

Bobbie Hughes-Millman

Bobbie’s You Tube Book Trailer (Book One)  “Black Casket Legacy Darkest Frost”

Bobbie’s You Tube Book Trailer  (Book Two) “Crimson Tears”