According to various dictionaries the word “fearless” means lacking fear or without fear. What those definitions lack is exemplified by my friend Ha T. Tran, a woman who conquered fear to be a successful author, mother, business woman, and inspirational speaker. Her life proves that “fearless” means not lacking fear but rather being afraid, facing fear head on and conquering it.
Was she afraid when she left her father’s home at twenty years old to marry a man she’d known for 17 days? Or as a young woman, living in a land ravaged by a bitter war and a government of the victors who saw her education as a reason for death? Or perhaps when she fled her homeland, for a land where she knew not one soul, nor the customs of these strangers nor even their language? You bet she was, but that didn’t stop her from learning, and leaving and insisting that her children have an opportunity for good lives, and freedom. She faced the fear of marriage to a stranger, lived in hiding before she could leave the only life she’d known, to arrive in a strange land. She arrived in was Chicago, Illinois in 1979 with twenty dollars and one suitcase for herself, her husband and their two young sons. When she limped off the boat, she didn’t let fear stop her from achieving all she wanted for her family and herself.
And when, after a successful career in the business world, seeing her children grown and leading their own lives, when her world again changed due to circumstances beyond her control, she didn’t let fear stop her from pushing ahead again, in a new direction to achieve an old goal. Ha overcame the fear of the unknown again to become an inspirational speaker and life coach, willing to share her story of how she lived with hope to help others face the fears in their lives and overcome those fears.
My friend Ha T. Tran faced each challenge ripe with fear, but determined to succeed, and succeed she did. That’s why in my eyes, she epitomizes the true meaning of fearless: she doesn’t lack fear, she acknowledges fear, faces it head on, and comes out on top of that fear. And isn’t that the true meaning of fearless: having fear but going ahead anyway and winning?
Nancy Ignazi, Beverly Massachusetts