9 Fears I Faced In 2016

Michelle Poler
Jan 3, 2017 · 10 min read

Last year I faced 100 fears in 100 days which allowed me to go viral and change my life for good 🙌🏼✨.

In 2016, I decided to capitalize on what I built in 2015 and turn a school project into a profitable business and lifestyle.

Like I say, facing fears only brings bigger challenges. So yes, I didn’t face 100 fears this time, I faced 9 big ones:

FEAR #1: Becoming a Speaker

It all happened after I spoke at TEDxHouston in 2015 which led the way to this new career path. So I went from Art Director / Brand Strategist to full-time Speaker 🎤!

I’m not going to lie, I started by faking it. I faked it, I failed, I learned, I felt like an impostor, I kept trying and without even noticing, I became it. The more I did it the more confident I felt. I thought I was inspiring audiences but actually, they were inspiring me to keep going.

In one year I went from zero experience to speaking at places I could only dream of. My first talk this year was at Google NY 😳, which took me to Google Mountain View and Google Ann Arbor. I also spoke at Netflix, Facebook, P&G, World Domination Summit, among many other companies.

I spoke at SCAD, my Alma-mater’s commencement ceremony 🎓. I traveled the world and spoke several times in Israel, in Poland, Panama and Colombia.

In August, I had the pleasure to speak at Castilleja School, 🙇🏼‍♀️ an all-girls school in Palo Alto. This experience showed me the impact I could have on the younger generation.

FEAR #2: Working with my husband

After one year of having quit my job and working by myself, my husband faced his biggest fear. He decided to leave his job in finance to join forces with me in developing a platform to help other people conquer their fears 👊🏻.

I know this looks like his fear but for several reasons it was my fear as well:

We both said goodbye 👋🏼 to our only reliable source of income. We literally jumped into the unknown. But like Brené Brown once said in a podcast interview, we like to think of it as:

I don’t jump or leap for the landing I jump for the experience through the air because no one can predict the landing.

We did it because it was our growth option, because it was scary, because we focused on the reward instead of on the risk. We did it because we were more terrified of not even trying at all than we were of failing. But mainly, we jumped for the experience through the air 🌪.

Also, I went from working by myself and having my own schedule, to now working with my husband and spend 24/7 together.

I’m not going to say it has been easy, we work hard everyday to find our balance between business partners and husband and wife. We realized this is not our job, this is our life so we better get used to it.

It took us a couple of months but finally we’re getting the gist of it and we couldn’t be happier. I’m his boss, and he is mine 🙋🏼!

FEAR #3: Starting a vlog series on Youtube

When I finished facing my 100 fears, everybody was asking me about my next steps 👣. Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my Youtube channel. I had more than 20k subscribers who were waiting for me to come up with the next big thing.

So I decided to start a new series called “WTF Are We So Afraid Of?!” Which was terrifying because I’m not comfortable speaking in front of the camera 🎥 . I barely spoke during my 100 videos so how could I start a series about just me speaking?

On April 6th, my fear anniversary, I launched this new series which not only allowed me to face my fear of speaking to the camera but it helped me generate content that I would later incorporate into my talks.

By doing this I lost subscribers 👎🏼 who were in it for the action, not necessarily to learn about fear, and I gained 👍🏼 others who liked listening to my points of view.

It was a learning experience that taught me about consistency, value, presence, branding, production and scripting among many other things.

Being a Youtuber is way harder than you would think of, so kudos to all the daily vloggers and content creators out there! #respect

FEAR #4: Launching HelloFears.com

My words had impact on others so I had to be responsible for what I was saying on my videos and my talks.

Some people quit their jobs after hearing my message (including my husband 🙋🏻‍♂️), some started their own biz, some came out 🌈 , others traveled by themselves, and some gave back the ring 💍!

These are real stories that I just couldn’t keep to myself. While doing my project, 100 Days Without Fear, I learned that facing fears is contagious.

When you overcome a challenge and you keep that to yourself, you’re being kinda selfish with the world, but when you share it, without any extra effort you are inspiring many to face their own fears 👻!

The challenge was not to collect the stories, we had more stories than we could handle. The challenge was to edit them in a way that they become good pieces of content.

One day I reached out and asked people on Facebook/Youtube to volunteer and help us edit these stories. I thought no one would answer, who would do this for no compensation?

I was wrong. Many people came back asking to please allow them to help us, they wanted to be part of this movement and I’m so grateful for our volunteers who are making this publication possible 🙌🏼🙏🏻 . If you are reading this: THANK YOU!

FEAR #5: Narrowing down my audience

Fear is a universal topic. Doesn’t matter where you’re from or how old you are, everyone can relate to it.

At first, I was taking advantage of this fact, but a couple of months ago the brand strategist in me said enough is enough 🙅🏼!

When you’re building a brand the first thing you have to figure out is your target audience, to then tailor everything you do around that decision.

For the longest time I didn’t have the courage to make this decision, so all of my content was trying to cover all of the different audiences 🤦🏼‍♀️.

After speaking at Castilleja School and seeing the impact I could have speaking to younger girls I knew it was time for me to face this fear and narrow down my audience.

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on my upcoming series “Dear Younger Self” where I’ll be vlogging, facing fears and interviewing others who have a powerful message to their younger self. Every piece of content will be tailored to this audience that I’m so passionate about.

In my speaking business we decided to focus our efforts on this market as well, so in 2017 you will see me go from school to school and from camp to camp. I will still be speaking at companies, don’t get me wrong, but the main focus will be schools for now.

FEAR #6: Saying YES more often

Pillow Fight

This was the year of YES. After having so many incredible experiences in 2015 facing fears, we became sort of addicted to saying YES to things, to people, to plans, to life.

Thanks to this new motto we did so much this year, met so many people, created so many memorable experiences that we will keep this premise for 2017 as well.

These are just a couple of the things we said YES to and we would say YES a million times again:

  • No Pants Subway Ride: We took our pants off in the middle of the subway along with 10,000 other people in NYC. A must do!
  • Pillow Fight in the middle of Washington Square, to make it even more challenging I covered my eyes with a sleeping mask. We had a blast.
  • Attended Daybreaker on Halloween. We embarked on a party boat at 6am to watch the sunrise with the Manhattan skyline 🌇 in the background. I dressed like Miranda Sings, one of my favorite Youtubers. If you can, go to a Daybreaker event, you will start your day with so much energy you won’t believe it!
  • We learned to do standing paddleboard in the cold water of Stinson Beach in California, not too far from Great White Sharks.
  • We slept in a Bedouin camp in Israel and then climbed Masada at 4am to watch the sunrise on the next day. Yeah, sunrises are kinda my thing.

FEAR #7: Joining the March Of The Living

Telemundo invited me to their show “Que Noche” to highlight my journey in front of their audience. As a surprise gift, they gave me two plane tickets to travel to Poland along with Adam and join the March Of The Living. This is an event that occurs once a year, where people from all over the world march from Birkenau (labor camp) to Auschwitz (death camp) as a silent tribute to all victims of the Holocaust.


My grandparents are Holocaust survivors and this trip is something I never thought I would be able to do. I thought I was not emotionally strong to visit this place.

I was wrong.

Instead of feeling anger and resentment I felt empowered to be standing there, triumphant and winning at life, knowing they couldn’t accomplish their mission: to eliminate us all. This was an amazing experience that I would do again in a heartbeat.

FEAR #8: Spent my 28th birthday by myself

Every year I put a lot of pressure on my husband days, ok, months before my birthday. He is not a “special dates” kind of guy and this pressure makes everything worse 😒

Every year I end up disappointed and heartbroken on my birthday. I can’t complain, he is the best husband in the world for many other reasons (I mean, he quit his job to support me to say the least). So this year I decided to fix this issue by spending my birthday by myself and not expecting anything from anyone 💁🏼.

I planned the perfect day for me and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun on my birthday.

This showed me we don’t need anyone else to be happy and have a special day 🎉☺. If you like flowers, don’t wait for someone else to get you flowers, buy yourself your favorite kind of flowers. If you like to go to the theatre, get a front row ticket and enjoy the show. And if you like traveling, do like my friend Anya, who traveled by herself to Savannah, GA to celebrate her 25th birthday. Because, why not?

Not only that, but taking the pressure off my husband worked! 😱✨ He even planned a special dinner together and got me my favorite cake :)

FEAR #9: Facing failure

I faced failure when I spoke at Netflix in August 2016. During Q&A one employee asked me if I could share a story about a time I failed and what I learned from that.

My mind went blank.

I had no answer to his question.

That moment I realized I hadn’t made enough bold moves that led me to fail at at least one of them. I had failed by not failing.

They say if you’re not failing you’re not aiming high enough. So starting 2017 my goal is to fail and learn from those experiences so I have more stories and lessons to share.

Michelle Poler is the creator of Hello Fears and 100 Days Without Fear. She is now speaking around the world and spreading weekly inspiration on her Youtube channel. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat as “dayswofear”

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To submit your story of courage email us to knocknock@hellofears.com

Michelle Poler

Written by

Speaker ~ Youtuber ~ Fear Facer Creator of Hello Fears and 100 Days Without Fear Go to michellepoler.com for more 💛

Hello Fears

From the creator of 100 Days Without Fear. Hello Fears’ mission is to inspire the world through stories of courage from everyday people. Submit your story here: https://hellofears.typeform.com/to/Ow6LJN

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