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Do It Afraid

By Danielle Tarigha

Danielle Tarigha - Author of Uplift and Empower

Do It Afraid.The sentence is only three words long, but that simple mantra is what helped me through a project I never expected to undertake as an undergraduate in college: writing my first book

In selecting a topic to write about, I was encouraged to both think and dream big. I decided to write about eradicating extreme poverty because I wanted to get to the root of why living in extreme poverty—less than $1.90 per day—was still the reality for hundreds of millions of people globally. I felt bombarded by negative emotions, like impostor syndrome, from day one. And yet, I continued, because I knew that if my unique perspective could encourage even one person to take action and help to eradicate poverty, then my writing would be worth it. I knew that I needed to be bold. 

To overcome my fear and intimidation, I had to get to the root of them. With time and reflection, it became clear that my worries weren’t about what I was doing, but rather, how others would respond. I would be lying if I said that I have completely overcome that fear today. However, I have learned to combat it by:

  1. Reminding myself of my support network of mentors and advisers all working towards my academic, career, and personal success 

  2. Recalling my past successes and the joy that has come from pursuing my passions. 

When I look back at the moments in my life that I am proudest of, I know that they are the result of fearing my pursuit of a big goal, allowing myself to feel those feelings of uncertainty, and doing those things anyway. To put it simply, going beyond my comfort zone has consistently come down to believing in myself and in my support network enough to pursue my interests with gusto.

To my younger self, I would say this: start naming your goals specifically. Say them out loud. Write them down. Paste them on your walls. Make vision boards. Tell them to a select few of your closest relatives and friends. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that your ambitions, no matter how far-fetched they may seem, are possible. 

In her book, More Than Enough, Elaine Welteroth highlights the importance of naming your goals when she writes,

“I believe we all have callings. Purposes. Work that only we can do. It seems ridiculous now, but I came scarily close to never naming and claiming mine because I was so certain it sounded silly and impossible…I’m so glad I didn’t let fear win. Because it would have cut me off from what I needed most: encouragement.”

Don’t cut yourself off from encouragement from mentors, friends, and family by keeping your goals to yourself. Be bold. Seek out guidance and advice when you need it. And, most importantly, do it afraid. 


About the author: My name is Danielle Hawa Tarigha, and I am a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago studying Economics. On my campus, I’ve been involved with many clubs that focus on pre-professional development, technology, and dance. Off-campus, I have interned with companies in investment banking, public policy, information technology, and asset management. I am passionate about international development, finance, and technology. My first book, Uplift and Empower, will be published this summer. It is a guide to understanding extreme poverty for people who have never considered the topic before.

If you would like to learn more about extreme poverty and poverty alleviation strategies, you can pre-order a copy of Uplift and Empower at this link:

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