“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.”
—Robert Bresson, 20th Century French Film Director
Today’s quote reminds me of “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson in her work A Return to Love. It is often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela.
I thought sharing these words in their entirety might stir something in you, even if you are familiar with this wisdom.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Where and how will you generously, courageously, and visibly contribute your unique and special qualities and talents to the world?
“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
Image from Unsplash by Brooke Lark
Did you know that when you look up at the night sky and view a full moon you are seeing exactly what every other human – and for that matter, every other creature on Earth – has viewed for millennium?
Based on the rotational speed of the moon and the position of the Earth and Sun, we only get to see one-half of the moon’s surface.
People are like the moon, in that they often only present the sunny side of themselves. We sometimes tend to keep our dark side – including our weaknesses, fears, and perceived imperfections – hidden from view.
How might an exploration of your dark side, and perhaps revealing it to those you trust, create new opportunities and possibilities for you over (at least) the next lunar cycle?
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
-Stephen King, American Contemporary Horror Author
Image from themostimportantnews.com
Take a minute to consider the scariest moments in your life. Things that might come to mind are:
- Public Speaking
- A really fast roller coaster ride
- Getting a new job that requires skills you do not have
- Writing your first book or starting your first business
- Resigning from a stable job to transition into a new career
Experience all the sensations we associate with fear: cold sweats, shakes, rubbery legs, and your heart pounding in your chest. How often do you stop and retreat? How often do find the courage to move forward?
I’d like you to try being courageous for just 20 seconds when you experience scary moments. When you feel fear welling up, tell yourself “I can be brave for 20 seconds,” or “I can handle that for 20 seconds.” Before long, you will discover the exhilaration and excitement of getting past the barrier of fear we all experience.
Start today, and commit to developing a 20-second courage habit every day this week, and beyond.
“If it scares you, it may be a good thing to try.”
-Seth Godin, American Author
As I examine my own life and identify its highlights, I realize that many of them involved overcoming a fear in order to achieve some form of breakthrough. Among them are:
- Starting my first business at age eleven!
- Risking rejecting in applying to a highly competitive high school.
- The “What Ifs” of resigning from a secure yet unsatisfying Fortune 500 career to enter the coaching profession when it was in its infancy.
- The fear of judgement as I began speaking to increasingly large groups of people.
- Risking potential criticism and judgement in writing and publishing my own blog and book.
Examine the things that have scared you over the years, and look at what scares you today. Where would giving some of these things a try help you overcome the fears and bring you even greater rewards and life satisfaction?
“Fear doesn’t prevent death, but it certainly prevents life.”
—Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine
Many years ago, I attended a personal development seminar with about 150 people where the presenter asked the participants why most people get up in the morning. Following a variety of expected responses such as “to go to work and make a living,” he gave his own answer.
He said that most people get up in the morning because they did not die in their sleep.
The entire audience was shocked.
His perspective was that a majority of people navigate through their days a bit robotically without any level of excitement, vitality, or enthusiasm.
Fear, he suggested, was a primary reason many of us lower our sights and play it safe. Rather than not being dead, he asked us to look at the question: What does it mean to be fully alive?
In what way will you overcome a fear you may have by summoning the courage to be fully alive today?
“Do one thing each day that scares you.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, longest-serving First Lady of the United States
I’m not a big fan of being scared. I don’t care for heights, roller coasters are not on my list of fun activities, and I’m unlikely to go to scary movies. Why are such activities so popular with many people?
Facing my fears gives me a booster shot of “Aliveness.” When I examine the fears I held as I entered and pursued my career in coaching, these things happened:
- I resigned from the stability of a Fortune 500 Company, without a salary to support myself, my wife, and my two young children.
- I spent three months networking and reaching out to people I did not know, with no tangible results.
- I gave many talks and speeches (public speaking is one of most people’s fears) to numerous groups to create awareness of my services.
- I tapped into savings to secure an office instead of working from home to save money.
What one thing will you do today that scares you and will help you achieve an authentic goal and fulfill more of your highest potential?
“Action conquers fear.”
– Peter Nivio Zarlenga, author
Over the next day or two, take particular notice of people who are experiencing worry or outright fear – especially if one of those people is you. One thing I bet you notice is the degree of paralysis, procrastination, and inactivity associated with this emotion.
Terms like crippled, frozen, riddled and stuck all point to this debilitating condition.
Simply the act of moving one step at a time helps to break these bonds and frees us once again to move our worlds forward.
Whenever you are experiencing fear, share how you’re feeling with someone immediately, and seek their support to act quickly before the cement of this crippling emotion has a chance to dry.
“Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.”
–Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the USA
Image from Pinterest
My journey into the coaching profession is definitely an example of getting so wrapped up in something I almost forgot to be afraid.
At the ripe old age of 35, I threw caution to the wind and left a 12-year career with a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company to sign up for the job of “coach” with:
1. No salary (You ate what you killed!)
2. No benefits
3. No coaching clients
4. No general agreement about or awareness of the profession – it was truly in its infancy
5. A wife and two young children, plus a considerable mortgage
6. Modest savings, with about 6 months of living expenses
In spite of these factors, I found myself enthusiastic and excited to partner with people and help them achieve breakthroughs in their personal and professional life – just as Olympic athletes work with coaches to achieve their full potential.
What can you be so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid?
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
—William Shakespeare, playwright
image from www.huffingtonpost.ca
I had a hard time reading Shakespeare in high school – I just didn’t fully get it. Maybe it was my impatience or perhaps I can blame my English teacher!
For me, this quote is about how fear stops just about all of us in our tracks. Perhaps if we really, really focus on the good we wish to do, then we will find that secret life lever that will have us try, leap, and attempt, in spite of this fear.
Where is fear keeping you from the good you might do?
Where can you find the courage to overcome this fear and make the attempt?