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What’s the biggest thing that has held you back from going after what your heart really wants?

Fear.

Fear shows up in many shapes and forms, but when it shows up, it shows up for one thing and one thing only. To stop you from going after the things that light up your soul.

I’ve always been afraid of what people would think of me. Somehow, I learned growing up that what others thought of me actually defined me. And I know I’m not the only one with this irrational fear. Fear of getting judged both by strangers and the people we love is right up there at the top of the list of most common fears that hold people back.

And then there’s the fear of failure. What if it doesn’t show up in my reality? What if it ends up bust? What if I risk it all, my life savings, reputation, and the future of my children included, and I get nothing to show for it? What if it was actually more reasonable, more acceptable to just stay where I am and learn to be content with how my life is going, notwithstanding the fact that my soul is slowly dying each day that I choose not to go after what I want?

And then there’s the fear of rejection. The fear of not being good enough. The fear that you’re not being loved enough. The fear that you’re not perfect enough. The fear that you’re not meeting certain expectations, yours or other people’s. Fear that people might think you’re a fraud, despite the existing physical proof otherwise. Fear of hard work—because you’ve been busting your ass for years with not much to show for it. Fear of the responsibility that comes with having the power to actually bring to life what you want.

The list is endless. And fear will always show up relentlessly in our lives, trying and, often, successfully convincing us to back down. That’s just how fear works. Don’t fly so high, it says. Don’t run so fast. Don’t dream so big, or you will hurt yourself when you fall back down to Earth, small and broken like you already are now.

How do you move forward in your life when fear literally shows up every which way you go?

You just do. You just move forward as though fear didn’t show up. You just keep doing things anyway.

That’s how.

Fear will always be there. You ain’t human if there are no fears and doubts hovering around you. Even the richest of the richest, the brightest of the brightest are hounded by their own fears. We can’t ever get rid of fear. The only thing we can do with it is to ignore it.  

And that’s a choice that’s fully available to us. Most people just don’t realize it because fear seems to be everywhere. It has penetrated their thoughts and formed their beliefs. It has also influenced their emotions and actions and reactions to the world. Every which way you turn, you see people acting from a place of fear, as though they had no choice but to do exactly just that.

But to be led by fear is a choice.

And to be led by love and faith and trust that everything will work out okay is another choice.

It’s up to you which path to follow. You can always follow what you’re used to. Going the path of fear has always been the easy path. That means no stepping out of your comfort zone, no going against established social norms and expectations, and certainly no bigger responsibilities that come when you finally release the fear and realize you’re much more powerful than you actually are.

Or you can step up and step into who you really are. It’s not the easiest thing to do, of course. In fact, it may very well be the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your entire life. That is to look fear straight in the face, feel it cold and heavy in your bones, and put it aside like you put aside the advertising flyers and pamphlets people shove into your hands every day when you walk to the office.

Because that’s what fear really is. It’s just a particularly compelling advertisement for the life you’re living now. Like the Coke ads that are there simply to remind you to keep the status quo. It’s eerily engaging. It’s almost, almost, almost convincing. And it makes you feel the most memorable feelings. But it’s not true. It’s not the status quo, even though by all appearances it seems to be. It’s simply just another ad for a life you don’t want and you can buy into it or not.

Most people think they have no other choice but to buy into it. They have been programmed from the start that they have no other choice. But you’re not most people, are you? You’ve been doing so much work on yourself that you’re starting to see glimpses of the truth that you have a choice. It’s all you really have to do—to make that choice now. Today. Here. In this very moment.

To choose to not listen to what fear whispers into your head.

To move forward when fear tells you to hold yourself back.

To accept your power when fear tries to delude you about the hardships that come with it.

There’s really nothing else to do. You don’t have to go digging into your childhood and past lives to understand where your fear comes from. That can be fun for a while, until you realize that going farther and farther back into the past won’t really make your fear go away. And you can engage in all sorts of fear-banishing rituals to make the darkness go away, which will simply disappoint you because you didn’t realize you can’t make the darkness inside go away. You simply have to allow it to be there and do your own thing anyway.

The choice is yours.

You either choose the path of fear or the path of faith. Or you can choose to stay where you are right now, which is essentially the same as choosing the path of fear. It’s a black-and-white choice. Turn left or turn right? Move up or down? Go big or go home? Choose fear or choose faith. There is no other way.  

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