Most of my years have been spent living in fear. That may be surprising to hear from someone who has built a brand around strength. But perhaps my own 180° is what makes me so passionate about it.
For most of my years, I was haunted by the sting of failure and hyper-focused on all that could go wrong, rather than excited by the possibility and the potential of what could go right. Critical self-talk was my only voice. Instead of serving me (and I really thought it was), that voice sabotaged me of my goals and a full, vibrant life. Now that I have grown and left behind that mindset, I witness it in so many other people. It’s like I have a radar for it.
For many people the idea of possibility isn't exciting, it is terrifying.
For many people, boundaries, rules, and rigid routines are comforting. Regardless of if they truly serve us or not.
For many people, predictability is reassuring and fear keeps them in a place that isn’t working in their favor.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
The reality is fear is essential to progress. To avoid fear is to avoid progress. And in order for you to become fearless, you need to do the things that you fear until you no longer fear them, but own them.
In order to let our fears go and step into our greatness, we have to redefine how we see struggle and define success. We grow and learn in overcoming struggle. Struggle is inherent in achieving anything great and to me, I see it as a test. Struggle is there to test me if a goal is really worth achieving. It’s the universe asking, “Do you really want this? Show me.”
So how did I go from living in fear to living in possibility? I approached it the same way you would approach making any significant change in your life. By starting small. The devil is in the details.
Take a good look at how fear can compromise your goals. By breaking your fears down into bites, you can be your own agent of change. The moment you recognize that you are entirely up to you is the moment your life begins. Keep the following things in mind on your journey.
While you cannot change the past, you can start where you are and change the ending. That starts with asking yourself what you're afraid of and looking at it with a magnifying glass. Understanding the cause of your fear can help eradicate it. Name it. Own it. Then, I want you to think of that fear and label that feeling as excitement. Literally, say it out loud, “I’m excited to…”, “I’m excited about…” For example, “I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone.” This allows you to embrace both fear and failure.
Second, if you want to live a life of purpose, you have to do things on purpose. Give failure purpose. Give trepidation purpose. Give setbacks purpose. And on the days you face fear and feel yourself retracting back to your comfort zone, I want you to remind yourself of the times you looked fear straight on and handled it. Use that experience to serve a purpose in your acceleration forward. Use that earned knowledge as your superpower.
Write your own personal mission statement or manifesto. Think of it as a love letter to yourself to propel you towards your fullest potential. I call this my “strength declaration.” Give this a title that speaks to you and ignites the possibility inside of you. Let the following message inspire you.
I am in pursuit of everything that makes me feel more alive.
I am in pursuit of growing past my fears and into my purpose.
I have the strength within myself to move from struggle to grace in whatever challenges I face.
Keep being brave.
Keep showing up.
Keep trying new things.
Keep dreaming big.
Your dreams are your responsibility and they are worth the fight.
Be fearless in your choice to do it.
Live with intention.
And play with abandon.
Appreciate your friends and tell them you love them.
Listen hard and love hard.
Choose with no regret and do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.
When you are faced with adversity you are presented with an opportunity. Break through or retreat back. Nothing in life is stagnant. When I say seek that struggle, I want you to see those obstacles not as blocking your path, but that they are the path.
I want you to continue to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and remind yourself that we do not grow in our comfort zones.
I want you to eat self-doubt for breakfast. Self-doubt does not serve you. It only hinders you.
I want you to give your critical self-talk a name and show them the new you. Rise above whatever expectations you have placed on yourself and ride shotgun with fear with a smile on your face and a purpose in your heart.
I want your horizons wider. Give your dreams room to breathe.
Achievement addiction is accumulating achievements simply for the sake of achieving and also quite often preserving an identity around it. If you have it, you’ve been called an overachiever or a perfectionist more times than you can count.
If you are/have been there like I have, it is a lot easier to see your faults, than your feats. You can point out failures with an uncanny ability to overlook the accomplishments. It is only when I broke up with what success was supposed to look like that I had the ability to see that it’s essential to have both the wins and the losses in order to make the gains. I want you to be open to redefining this script.
It's okay to be stubborn about your goals, just make sure you are flexible about your methods. A lot of us attach our self-worth to our accomplishments. Which is all the more reason why we need to conquer our fears around failure.
When we discover what it is like to love ourselves apart from our accomplishments, we free ourselves from the handcuffs of success. I’ll be honest, I am in the thick of this. I am trying to discover what it is like to love myself apart from my accomplishments. Or lack thereof.
Here are some mantras that help me:
Do it, whatever "it" is, to impress yourself. No one else. What drives you? Allow this to be your compass.
Embrace failure. Give it purpose. Write down the things that drive you for a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing. This will serve as your inspiration because we will not always be motivated but we can always stay determined.
Make your goals not be attached to an award-worthy outcome, but an internal win.
Recall your why. When we lose our why we lose our way.
If you are anything like me, you believe in forgiveness, but have rarely extended it to yourself. Give yourself grace. You can always begin again and turn the page. Visualize yourself as the person you always dreamed of being and show up as that person every single day. Second chances don't happen by chance when we give them to ourselves. They happen by choice. You are never too old to reinvent yourself and your goals do not come with an expiration date.
A courageous bold life isn't born. It is made. It is something we are all capable of when we decide that our life is worth fighting for. It’s achieved inside and does not require an audience. It is not in one special place or for only certain kinds of people. Our strength lies wherever we are trying to find it. It is up to us to hold onto our visions, let go of our fears no matter how debilitating they can feel. Only we can decide to stay relentless in our pursuits, no matter how scary they can feel, and trust the process. And it is only when we are willing to let go of the picture of what we thought our lives would be that we can truly find ourselves.
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. That was the case for me. The steps I have taken that aren't rooted in fear, but rather fueled in confidence, have been the most fulfilling steps of my life. I hope you take some time and space to try this. Because, after all, you deserve to live the life of your dreams.