Don’t be a Donkey and Other Tips on Avoiding Fear

donkey standing near flowers


The day my mom joined us in Italy happened to be the same day as Festa Di Asini—The Donkey Festival (yes, you read that right). A Donkey Derby seemed like the perfect way to help her fight jet lag, so we joined in on the fun.

Here’s the thing, the concept of racing donkeys around a small grassy track is hilarious because donkeys are notoriously stubborn. After all, we call them asses.

Some donkeys tore out of the gate to the extreme pleasure of their 2-3 handlers who were running for their lives with the lead in their hand trying to keep up. Others would barely budge from the start line.

The donkeys who looked like they would come in first often came in last because they would suddenly stop and freeze, leaving their handlers to do a persuasive dance of pushing, pulling, and pleading to get them to move again.

I saw 2-3 adults trying to push a donkey along, and it didn’t budge. They go when they want to, or when they believe you’re leading them in just the right way.

Here’s the part where I relate this to your life…

Don’t be a donkey. And no, I’m not calling you an ass.

What I mean is this…

Donkeys freeze when they’re scared.

Often, we act like scared donkeys (which can turn us into asses). We take two steps forward only to stop where we are and freeze.

We overanalyze, let imposter syndrome take over, try to plan every necessary step ahead, and become obsessed with perfection.

When we’re scared, we operate out of fear, and we question the Universe at every turn. But just like the donkey, operating out of fear gets us nowhere.

Here’s the thing though, the Universe (who’s like your handler), has your back and wants to see you succeed. And yet so often we make it play games—asking it to show us signs or evidence before we’ll move again.

We plop down right where we are and don’t budge until we have some proof that we’re on the right track.

When we stop acting like asses and operate out of faith, believing in what we can’t yet see, trusting that one small step leads to another and that the answers will appear as a result of our actions, we open ourselves up to the freedom that is being guided by the Universe.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been acting like a donkey, letting fear be my handler instead of opportunity.

I’ve had big dreams and big ideas but every few feet I freeze.

And it’s gotten me about 13% closer to my goal of being a badass who inspires women to live intentional, authentic lives and helping them share their stories so they can make a living doing so.

Not anymore.

Just last week, days after seeing the Donkey Festival, I read You are a Badass. Holy eye-opener and a perfect companion to this donkey metaphor. 😉✨If you want to feel like a badass, not just an ass read this book.

I’d seen it in every airport bookstore for months and avoided it. I really wish I hadn’t waited so long. It’s soo good.

And, it’s convinced my stubborn self to trust the Universe in guiding me forward which honestly has been a huge relief because it means I’m not doing it on my own.

I want this freedom for you too, so check it out.

To summarize:

  • Donkeys are hilariously stubborn creatures. So are we.
  • Stop fighting the Universe if you want to be a badass instead of an ass (metaphorically speaking, none of you are actually true asses).
  • Read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero ASAP if you want to start moving and stop stalling.
  • Then, when you have a burning message you want to share with the world, call me (or email, I’m flexible that way). Helping badasses like you share their story and make money doing so is one of my favorite ways to serve.

Don’t be a donkey.

Instead, try to be like my dog who refuses to heel anytime we step foot in the direction of the park. He powers ahead because he knows he’s going to get to chase a ball even if he doesn’t see it yet (because it’s hidden in my back pocket as a last-ditch attempt to get him to pay attention).

With so much love,



P.S. The book links are affiliate links because making money is good for impact. If you don’t believe me, read this.

P.P.S. Check out my Italy instagram highlight to see a snippet of the donkey race.

P.P.S. Know someone who needs to hear this? Pass it along.

Photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash


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Alyssa Kulesa

Alyssa Kulesa

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1 thought on “Don’t be a Donkey and Other Tips on Avoiding Fear”

  1. It makes me feel less alone to read that you’ve been holding back on your dreams partly because you thought you needed a partner. I’ve spent years fumbling through partnerships because I feared going it alone. I think I’m going to write the words “Don’t be an Ass” somewhere above my desk as a motivating reminder! 🙂

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