Iowa Fearless Girl
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
By Rebekah Tilley

There’s a temptation to think that if we check all the boxes, do the workouts, set the right amount of money aside, make the right decisions, we’ll always be happy and successful in life and business. Hardship won’t touch us. Yet the wisdom of years teaches otherwise. With experience and maturity, we learn challenges are inevitable and, even more, can be an instructive and formative part of life. It’s how we approach and weather the challenges that makes or breaks us.

For many of us living through this present moment, this is an incredible time of self-discovery. What gives us energy? What feeds our optimism? When circumstances are overwhelming, how do we train ourselves to be fearless? For inspiration, we looked to four alumni who approached professional and community disruptions with resilience, courage, vulnerability, and compassion.

Disruptions tend to start with loss—loss of time, employment, opportunity, or even limbs. Often what goes unsaid when we tell our stories of overcoming are the low moments. The global pandemic is a rare time when we all are experiencing a measure of challenge and disruption; not all to the same degree or in the same way, but the source of the upending is the common denominator. Major and micro griefs are mourned, and then met with common values: compassion, resourcefulness, resilience, Midwestern-style neighborliness. All attributes of the Hawkeye spirit.  

Sukriti Nayar: Fearlessness in the face of job loss
Sandy Davis: Fearless negotiations
Erica Cole: Fearless entrepreneur 
Scott Bush: Fearless Midwestern neighborliness

This article first appeared in the winter 2021 issue of Tippie Magazine as part of the feature story titled "Fearless: Tackling professional and personal challenges with the Hawkeye spirit."