When you have a life-changing moment, it becomes ingrained in your mind forever. Just ask Scott Simon ’87. His moment happened on an airplane at age 21, as he made his way abroad for the first time.
“I grew up very shy,” says Simon, who was bullied in his youth. “I always wanted to be invisible. But I remember being on the flight, thinking, ‘Nobody over there knows me. They don’t know my background.’ I had an epiphany that I could say ‘yes’ for an entire year and see where it took me.”
That’s exactly what Simon did. He’s been pushing the limits of his comfort zone ever since. His latest initiative, Scare Your Soul, helps us all say “yes” in our lives.
“We all have fears. It’s literally in our DNA to be afraid,” Simon says. “But some of our fears are self-generated. They hold us back. Let’s grant each other the permission to act courageously. That’s what Scare Your Soul is all about.”
Scare Your Soul is a daily email that presents an actionable challenge for recipients to partake in (such as taking an ice-cold shower or writing out your bucket list). Through social media, the group provides an online community for its members so they feel supported and engaged. The group also has 70 volunteer ambassadors nationwide who lead challenges in U.S. neighborhoods.
“That sense of community is a direct result of my Gilmour experience,” Simon says. “I came to Gilmour and experienced a great sense of belonging and love. I really felt like I was part of something that lies at the core of Scare Your Soul. And that is, we’re all in this together.”
Once you confront your fears, Simon says, “you feel like nothing can stop you.”