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Being fearless won’t make you a great leader, but being brave can

Society has a checklist of things we’re expected to do — graduate high school, go to college, find a job, get married, etc. And many of us feel the need to check off the boxes on that list before we can say we’re successful.

But Michelle Poler believes that these expectations limit our ability to create a successful future. They can also make us comfortable and stop us from growing. Poler says, “I started to ask myself ‘Who am I checking these boxes for? Who am I truly living for?’ I had to make a choice. I could continue checking society’s boxes or I could have the courage to create my own and pursue those instead.”

Poler, who founded Hello Fears, a social movement that empowers people to move beyond their comfort zone, recently spoke to a group of students at a Siegfried Youth Leadership Program (SYLP) event. During her presentation, she discussed leadership characteristics and explained the important difference between fearless and brave. “Being brave means that despite the fear, we have the courage to take action. And that is way more powerful and inspiring than being fearless,” she says.

Leadership, like bravery, isn’t a concept learned in one sitting. It’s a lifelong journey that demands courage and commitment.  This is why SYLP is so important. It provides an opportunity to expose young people to the idea of leadership early and rhythmically.

Dedicating time to leadership

The Siegfried Group, LLP, a leadership advisory and CPA firm, has spent the last 30 years committed to helping people become better leaders — both in their professional and their personal lives. In the last few years, The Siegfried Group expanded this reach to help young people develop the leadership qualities they need to have a successful future. Rob Siegfried, the CEO and Founder of The Siegfried Group, calls this innovative initiative Siegfried Youth Leadership Program.

“This program comes from my heart,” says Siegfried. “I’m trying to help others become better leaders so they can experience more freedom in their lives. But leadership isn’t easy. It’s a decision and it takes a lot of energy and patience to learn leadership skills. But ultimately, this program can make a really big difference in a student’s life.”

Nearly 400 students attended the most recent event. In addition to sessions led by Siegfried and Poler, there was a student panel. Participants discussed an aspect of their life that challenged them to grow.

The next SYLP event is on October 9, 2018, at the University of Delaware. More information about SYLP is available at


“This program has transformed many students in my classroom and I witness them reflecting and pursuing goals with more intention as a result!”

SYLP Teacher

Ready to experience SYLP?

If you’re curious about SYLP and want to learn more how you, your school, or your child can get involved, explore our different SYLP offerings.