How to Live Fearlessly: Insights from Giulietta “Julie” Nardone

Julie Nardone PaintingTell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver

If you’re wondering what it’s like to be an “inspirational rebel,” “life awakener” and “finder of greatness,” it’s time you meet Giulietta “Julie” Nardone, a.k.a. Giulietta the Muse. She lives boldly, refusing to be encased by labels, so she writes, sings, paints, motivates, encourages, speaks her mind…that is, she lives out whatever her heart desires. In working with both individuals and organizations to help them “find their voice, take back their power and stand up for themselves,” she sets an example by living fearlessly herself.

Check out this Expert Village video clip with advice from licensed counselor Deborah McMahon on managing fear to get the life you want:

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Julie answers four questions that give us insight into how she lives fearlessly and how we can too:

One fear that matters to you is whether you’ll reach the end of your life and feel like you lived it like an adventure. How do you make sure that you live your life adventurously?

I see life as more of an out-of-control rollercoaster ride. We don’t know why we’re even on the planet. To try and control your daily life seems ridiculous in that context. We’re basically living in an ongoing LOST episode, living a sci-fi life without realizing it. I say “yes” to everything that interests me and continue to venture into unchartered life waters. (Note: Get comfortable with uncertainty)

What’s the difference between having a passion and knowing your “Fearless Why”?

A lot of folks have been conditioned to equate passion with pursuing a “what” type of job, like accountant or jewelry maker. I discovered that what mattered to me, what made me want to get up in the morning was my Fearless Why. It’s the thing that makes me feel alive and it can weave its way through any number of what’s. For example, my why is to challenge the status quo. I do that throughout the day, always looking for new opportunities in graphic design, writing, life shops, and community activism. It makes every day an adventure. It expands the possibilities for work too.

When the economy did a nosedive and my design business fell off a bit before it recovered, I ventured out into other areas where I could use my Fearless Why — writing newspaper columns and essays, offering writing and other fun classes. Our educational system tends to be “what” oriented because it’s easier to teach large groups of folks when you plug them into the system instead of plugging the system into them. (Note: You’ll end up a drained middle-aged person if you force yourself to do things that don’t fit with your personality and natural inclinations.)

Julie Nardone

You encourage people to follow their enthusiasm instead of setting goals, but planning still plays a role in getting things done in life. How can we find the balance between them?

I’m not too big on planning, although I had a loose, pseudo plan when I left my research job — pseudo, though was key. The problem with planning is that it becomes something to hide behind because you keep saying you aren’t ready yet, your plan isn’t ready yet. Better to just jump in and plan on the way down, up and around. If you ask a lot of famous people what their plan was, they usually say they started doing something they thought would make the world a better place…Planning can make folks feel deficient and unready. “I still need to do x before I can do y.” Says who? (Note: If you insist on planning, give it a short time frame or it will become an unplan.)

What are some key messages you feel recent grads, job hunters and people on a career path need to hear?

Don’t follow the person in front of you. They don’t know where the hell they’re going and even if they do, it’s probably not where you want to go.

Try everything that interests you. Don’t get bogged down with the idea of a linear career or life. A life you will be proud to live will look more like a meandering river that takes many twists and turns. Always choose the path less travelled. Always choose the adventure. Always choose the path your heart wants to follow.

If you’re older and want to get off the linear path, you can still do it. Start questioning where you’re going and begin to change course. Take baby steps to get started. You can do it. Even if you are 75, you can change course. I’ve met folks in their early 30’s who thought it was too late. We teach folks to think this way, so they’ll stay on the beaten consumer path, so they’ll continue to believe they have no say about the direction of their own lives. (Note: There are no straight lines in the natural world.)

What is your Fearless Why and what’s stopping you from living it?

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  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad that you connected with Giulietta/Julie. I’ve known her for about 7 years since we both belonged to the same online writing group and then again when we published pieces in Also, Julie was also the guiding light behind my website. I’m a friend and a fan because I subscribe to her “fearless” attitude towards life and how to live it your way and not as everyone else teaches/advocates/expects/demands/rules/tells you to. She is an inspiring motivational guide, a fun person, and has the most insightful, informative and well-written blog posts.
    Discover your own fearless spirit and follow it.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      I’m sure that I connected with Julie through our small community of powerful female writers that I imagine also includes you and Sherry. =) I had no idea that you two had such a history! =) I love her message and the way you describe it. “Discover your own fearless spirit and follow it.” <– this should be my mantra. =)

  2. Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    This has been such an inspiring piece. I am still a scared person, there are so many things I wish I was doing, indulging more in writing than work. Wish I could take that on more independently.

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Hajra, I hardly consider you “a scared person.” We all have things that hold us back! Besides, you’re already taking such long strides forward, especially with your new blogging position! =) Can’t wait for all this success to snowball. =) I’m with you all the way, friend!

  3. Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Samantha,

    This post came just in time. I am working on my fear to just take the plunge, do it and let what comes just flow.

    When I think of how far I have come to overlook my fear, then WHAM! It happens again and then I take a step backwards. We all fear rejection and judgement as was explained in the video.

    Thank so much for this post and for sharing the video.

    Have a wonderful rest of your day,


    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:25 am | Permalink

      Cindy, I’m so glad that this interview and post could be motivating for you! =) I’m all about “taking the plunge” when it comes to roadblocks in life. In fact, I often find that I create my own roadblocks. =P

      I’m so excited to see the fruits of your fearlessness!! =)

  4. Abe
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Don’t be afraid to fail. It is only through our failiars that we trully learn how to succeed.

  5. Posted August 10, 2011 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I’ve lived so long in fear that I’ve never even THOUGHT of living my life as an adventure. I’m so glad to hear that it’s not too late to change!
    And I love this: “We’re basically living in an ongoing LOST episode.” Here’s to saying “yes” to something for a change!

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:31 am | Permalink

      Wow, Jenny! You bring up a really good point. Sometimes, fear can be so all-encompassing that we can’t even envision a different kind of life. I’m so glad that this post could give you energy! =)

  6. Posted August 10, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic video (that was Julie doing all the talking wasnt it???) and interview.
    I love that the fear of what we think on the surface isnt the real fear, underneath hers it was fear of judgement and rejection. But she did it anyway.
    This has come at a perfect time for me, each day I am facing my fears as I build my business. Recently Ive been interviewed by reporters and next week giving my first talk at a seminar – go fear!!!!

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:39 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much for your comment, Maureen! =) The ladies in the video were from ExpertVillage, but Julie was the voice behind the entire written post. =)

      What a beautiful observation! We often have to dig deeper to discover the true fears and then we need to just “do it anyway.” =) WOW! I am amazed by all that *you* DO! =) The warmest congratulations on the growth of your business. =) It makes me so ecstatic to hear about your successes, Maureen. =)

  7. Posted August 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for this because a lot of times I feel I am scattered and not focus because there are so many things I like to do. I am often told to focus on one thing at a time but that just makes me bored.

    So this interview has given me some ease as it’s ok to try different things. The important thing is having fun doing them :)

    Great post!!

    • Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:46 am | Permalink

      Omigoodness, Diana, I SO relate! People close to me once told me that I was a quitter, but I later realized what was really happening — I love to throw myself into every new thing that interests me! =) And I love how you say that what’s truly important is having fun. =) Hugs! Thanks for your comment!

  8. Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Love the fearless why. Thanks for sharing. Will see if I can find Julie online. I want to share

  9. Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Wonderful message here Samantha. Fear can be griping and take control. When you can face it head on, it seems to be something you can overcome. I had a fear of success. When I finally came to grip with this fear and could see that I was in my own way, it opened my mind and my heart that led me and still leads me down a much different path. I am so glad that I had met the right coach that helped me to learn and get through this fear.

    Thank you for sharing this, the video was awesome! This will be extremely helpful for many people.

    • Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      What a cool idea, Lynn! I had always wondered how business coaches really helped! Though I can hardly imagine you with a fear of success!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and for your comment. =)

  10. Posted August 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    This is truly inspirational, Sam! Thank you for introducing us to Julie and her ‘fearless why’! Passions should never be mistaken with ‘jobs’ or even ‘careers’. I’m a firm believer in that because not everyone is blessed in that way. So her fearless why is a very useful tool in guiding us in our pursuit of fulfillment and ‘success’ (however we define that). Thank you for these thoughts and insights. We really do need to be braver in order to challenge the status quo!

    • Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s such a strong point, Joy! Passions definitely don’t have to be related to our jobs or careers. In fact, humans often have many passions and it’s often impossible to combine all of them into one!

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Joy!

  11. Posted August 20, 2011 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Hi Sam,

    I love all the fab responses! Was away on a vacation adventure or I’d have commented on all of them.

    Wonderful to hear that my words speak to your readers. If we can make fear our friend instead of our foe, it opens a lot of doors.

    Thanks again! G.

    • Posted August 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Aww, thank *you* again for sharing your wisdom with us, Julie! =) I’m also ecstatic about the response and can’t wait to get your biography out. =)

      Hope you had a beautiful “vacation adventure”! =)

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