Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Deepest Fear

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” 
~ Nelson Mandela, Marianne Williamson
Years ago, someone shared with me this now timeless prose, “Our Deepest Fear.” To this day, I’m still not sure if it was originally penned by Nelson Mandela or Marianne Williamson, so I’ll credit them both here. This particular excerpt (above) struck me as absolutely profound. Why? Because playing small had become the name of the game for me. I figured that if I stayed in the background, supported other people, did my best and learned all I could, people would like me, someone would eventually notice my work and I would be thanked, praised and cherished by all who knew me. You can imagine how far that got me!
The lightbulb came on for me after years of struggling in my business, The Write Image, to attract well-paying clients who recognized my value. After devoting valuable time journaling through my disappointments, dreams and desires I realized that if I didn’t stand up and speak up about my expertise and my worth, no one would ever know my value. Getting to that point took a lot of self examination and self reflection. Unfortunately, many women don’t allow themselves the time to do so. Instead, they lean on their fears as excuses.

There is no such thing as a “healthy fear.” Fears can be debilitating, whether it is the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of outshining someone else, or one of my old crutches, the fear of how I would top my best. But those fears can also be the fuel that pushes you towards success. 
“Getting over a painful experience 
is much like crossing monkey bars. 
You have to let go at some point 
in order to move forward.” 
~ Unknown

Learn to use your fears to build yourself up. We all have them, but fear need not be the road block to stop you from achieving success. Journal your fears to help realize what they are. Past negative experiences can impact your present and your future. You have brought into your present things that have happened to you or things that have never happened, but you’ve feared could happen. As life goes on, memories of these fears can reemerge into your consciousness. Not only are you dealing with your past fears, but you have developed new fears. Do you want to bring those fears into your future? 
Try this journaling exercise. Describe one of your fears -- either from your past or your present. How does it make you feel to think about it? How did you feel to experience it (if you actually did)? What first step can you take to leave that fear in the past (confront someone, forgive someone, ask forgiveness or apologize, increase your knowledge, learn how, seek help from a professional, tell someone, determine why you believe what you believe)?

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