Get Brave and Take a Fearless Inventory

I first learned the value of taking a fearless inventory three months before my college graduation. I had always been a big drinker from a big drinking family—and since college is a time when even non-alcoholics drink alcoholically, I had done more than my share by senior year.

I’d been seeing a therapist for about a year when she told me she thought my drinking was a problem, to which I defensively exclaimed, ”Well then, everyone in my life has a drinking problem,” to which she calmly replied, “Well I’m not treating everyone in your life, and if you don’t seek help with a 12-step program, I will have to terminate our relationship.”

Wait…what?? Was my therapist breaking up with me?? Holy crap, is it that bad?? I asked myself. What I actually felt surprised me. Pure relief.

So, all gussied up in my ’80s finest—stirrup pants, t-shirt with shoulder pads velcroed to my bra straps, gobs of Stagelight makeup, enormous mane of red permed hair, big plastic neon hoop earrings—I found my way to the basement of a church in Syosset, Long Island. “Lookin’ good and definitely not like an alcoholic,” I reassured my rearview reflection before going in.

I sat near the door so I could smoke my Parliament 100s considerately when I was approached by a beautiful, similarly shellacked big-haired women about ten years my senior. Noticing I was a newbie, she asked what brought me to the meeting. I replied that my therapist threatened to break up with me if I didn’t attend at least one. To be polite, I asked her the same question. She looked me straight in the eye, and with a calm that unnerved me, replied, “I killed a six-year-old boy in a drunk driving accident.”

“I’m so sorry. That’s awful,” was my shocked and not-so-sensitive reply.

“Yes, it is—and I have had to figure out how to live every day of my life knowing I killed someone’s child and broke a mother’s heart.”

Her answer inspired my first fearless inventory and changed the course of my life.

I stayed until the end of the meeting, fighting back a tsunami of tears that threatened to overwhelm me. When I finally got to my car, I was bawling so hard that I couldn’t drive. So I sat there listening to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” (which, of course, inspired more bawling) and felt so grateful it hurt. I made a pact with the universal powers that be at that moment that I would not drink again. I was so ecstatic that that woman’s tragic story was not mine and so keenly aware of how easily it could have been. Something shifted permanently. I still think of that generous angel who shared the story that led to the wakeup call that inspired my transformation.

Once I stopped drinking, things changed. I dropped 25 pounds of bloat, discovered my cheekbones, and moved to New York City after graduation. I took an honest inventory of all areas of my life, writing down what I wanted more of and what I wanted less of in each area. I stayed in therapy and got dialed into the self-empowerment movement. I realized that in order to create the life of my dreams, I had to be brutally honest about what was not working and which limiting beliefs were blocking my potential. The rest is history—and that was 30 years ago!

Taking a fearless inventory was a game changer for me, so I want to share it with you.

Start by writing a list of the main areas of your life: Career, Love, Spirituality, Health and Wellness, Finances, Family, and Other. Make two lists for each category: Want More, and Want Less. Keep the Want More list and burn the Want Less list with an empathetic witness by your side. Declare what you want, and feel the feelings of already having it. Visualize it, feel it, and believe it as you continue taking concrete actions toward your dreams daily. Open your eyes for synchronistic situations and meaningful coincidences that start to show up—then take action.

Taking your own fearless inventory and daring to declare what you truly want allows you to harness the mind-blowing power of your intention to tap into the infinite possibilities of your one-of-a kind, amazing life.

About the Author | Terri Cole

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist and global leading expert in mindfulness, meditation, relationships, and wellbeing. For two decades, Terri has worked with some of the world’s most well-known personalities, from international pop stars to Fortune 500 CEOs. She empowers over 100,000 women weekly through her platform, online community, and popular podcast, The Terri Cole Show.

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1 comment to "Get Brave and Take a Fearless Inventory"

  • Felicia

    Very powerful story. Thank you for sharing. I love the Fearless Inventory concept and look forward to declaring what it is that I want in my life and watching it unfold organically as I take conscious action toward my dreams.