The world can be a daunting place. And, if we're being honest, it can sometimes be easier to just say we can't do something rather than deal with being told no, or running the risk of failure or embarrassment. But, more often than not, it's our own fears and worries of stepping outside 'the norm' that hold us back the most.
Thankfully, we're surrounded by a whole bunch of brave and inspirational women, breaking gender stereotypes, tackling their personal demons and knocking down those metaphoric boundaries all in the name of empowering and emboldening other women – an ethos underwear brand sloggi are championing with boundary-breaking, innovative products like the Zero Feel bra…
From overcoming fears of public speaking to shutting down stereotypes in the skate park and stepping out of comfort zones to give a voice to underrepresented groups in business, real women are putting their fears aside to break boundaries every day.
As Susan Jeffers writes in her book Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, "the only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it," and here's how you can do it, too...
1. Imagine The Worse Case Scenario - It's Never As Bad
Business and Mindset Coach Ruth Kidzi knows first hand what it's like to let fears get in the way of your goals. Having suffered from a lisp growing up and losing confidence after being repeatedly teased, she decided to take a stand, refusing to let her fears of public speaking hold her back.
"I decided enough was enough," Ruth explains. "I started to practice what I was going to say in front of the mirror every night and then I volunteered to do a talent show.
"I hated dancing and singing but figured if I could do that I would learn to speak up. After the talent show I thought I can do anything - I joined debating societies and even went to a chat show on TV."
Ruth added: "By doing the worst thing I could imagine in the worst way I could imagine nothing has seemed as bad since. Now I speak in public and online all the time as part of my business. If I hadn't faced my fear then who knows where I'd be now!"
2. Rediscover Your Inner Child And Ditch Those Inhibitions
Remember when all you cared about was having fun, be it climbing the highest trees or sporting all kinds of fancy dress just to accompany your mum to the supermarket? Naturally curious and, often, uninhibited children - we can learn a lot from children when it comes to facing our fears and challenging social norms.
For interior designer Gwendoline Alderton, it's all about letting go and exploring the fun ways women can harbour that fearlessness. That's why she decided to take on the skater kids and hit the half-pipes with a friend all in the name of 'feeling the fear and doing it anyway.' "We're both over 50 and were upstaged by 6 year old tots but it was great fun," Gwendoline explained when she took up skateboarding. "We wanted to overcome stereotyping and boundaries that woman of a certain age should be at home knitting."
3. Small Steps Can Lead To A Big Change
"Each victory, no matter how small, is a victory and can, every day, add up to the difference that changes your life," Mairead Clabby, a Police Constable from Merseyside, explains.
Mairead has channelled this mantra into her working environment, using it to overcome obstacles to become a mental health, autism, disability and gender equality champion to help others in the workplace. Pretty cool, right?
"I am motivated to overcome these boundaries and obstacles I have faced in life because I don’t ever want anyone else in the future to face the same barriers to success," she adds. "Despite my initial fears about speaking openly about my past, and whether others would judge me for it or see me differently, doing so has allowed me to be a visible role model for others to approach who need help."
4. From Hypnotherapy To Positive Affirmations, Be Open To New Techniques
"If you’re struggling with fear, focus on positive affirmations and tell yourself 'I can do this!'", self-confidence expert and relationship coach Ben Edwards explains.
"You might be feeling particularly anxious about something, but concentrate on the end goal, a well-deserved, phenomenal outcome that you can be proud of. This will create invaluable motivation, enhancing your determination to overcome this fear."
And this is exactly what entrepreneur and founder of Naturally Social, Natalie Sherman, did when she sought out an alternative method to tackle her fears in business.
"I had hypnotherapy to help me overcome my boundaries in my business," she explains, revealing how she took ownership of her worries.
Taking ownership of your fears is also something Ben encourages: "accept that you feel this fear, but channel it into something positive; anxiety can create useful drive and motivation," he explains.
"Embrace your fear, channel this energy and use it for good! More specifically, use your fear to feel empowered moving forward, achieving what you want to achieve."
Want to follow in these women's footsteps, break boundaries and feel empowered? Start by trying sloggi's Zero Feel bra for total uninhibited, boundary breaking comfort! Shop these products here, and see Grazia's edit of the must-have Zero Feel pieces, below:
Zero Feel Bralette in Angora, £30 from sloggi
It's no secret that nobody likes uncomfortable, ill-fitting underwear. We'd much prefer to wear a bra that feels just like second skin, and luckily, sloggi have made this reality with their 'Zero Feel' bralette. This innovative lightweight bra has no wires, no seams, and is laser cut, meaning it's practically invisible under clothing. Dreamy, right?