Note: This article has a slightly different format and tone than the short, actionable articles you’re used to seeing from us. It’s written in an “open letter” style, directed to people who are procrastinating or otherwise putting off opportunities to grow. We hope you’ll join us for the ride anyway -- and if you want to see more articles like this, leave us a comment or share!
You are meant to play a bigger game.
You’ve got bigger mountains to conquer, fiercer dragons to tame. More to do, share, be.
There’s so much more in you that I see. Maybe you even see it too, sometimes.
I’ve been wondering…
What’s stopping you from doing it?
You know -- it.
The career change. The vacation. The proposal. The divorce. The tough conversation. The apology. The forgiveness.
The thing you wish you could do, but think you can’t.
Have you listed all your fears around it?
All the reasons you can’t pull it off -- the risks, implications, obstacles and considerations that paralyze you into inaction. The energy-sucking enemies that threaten your sleep, your relationships and your spirit.
Have you given them life, on paper or screen, and given them names? Have you considered each fear... evaluated them, held them up to the light and looked through them one by one?
Did you notice how some of these fears are so transparent, so devoid of substance that you can see right through them? Jettison that dead weight -- those transparent fears -- as they won’t serve you on this journey.
Did you notice how you weren’t able to see through some of them? Some are thick like hockey pucks, while others are knotty and gnarled like old wood.
These opaque fears are your fuel, but this fuel isn’t in a usable form yet. Hold onto them just a little longer.
Back to it -- that thing you’ve been putting off doing.
Why do you want to do it?
What would happen if you pulled it off?
How do you feel when you visualize pulling it off and succeeding?
Do you feel hopeful, energetic, joyful? Calmer, more at peace?
Proud, courageous, more resilient?
Do you feel alive?
Have you really considered how you’ll feel when you pull this off? When it’s all over and you emerge triumphant on the other side?
Have you listed these possibilities, just as you did with the fears? Have you breathed life and energy into each of them, examined them in depth?
Sometimes the possibilities shine brightest in the dark.
That’s been my experience, anyway. So I evaluate them in the dark moments, where fear reigns and chokes the air like soot.
In this environment, possibilities glow. Some are dim and tiny, like the final spark of a blown-out candle. Others are white-hot like molten lava.
Look for the brightest, fiercest flames -- the possibilities that radiate energy and light. They’re the catalyst you need to transform your fear into creative fuel.
Now that you’ve collected your biggest fears and possibilities, the journey really begins.
When these fears and possibilities collide in your head, heart and gut, what happens?
Do they emulsify but never really blend, like oil and water in a vinaigrette? If so, nourish the possibilities with your energy and heart. Fall in love with possibility.
When you do, the fear and possibility fuse into a unified force -- like an ocean absorbing individual raindrops. And this is your fuel.
If you give possibility enough love, it takes on a life of its own. It consumes and systematically breaks down your biggest, strongest fears, eating holes in them like Swiss cheese.
As it does so, it produces a powerful byproduct: courage.
The fear will never completely go away, but if you continue to nourish possibility, you’ll begin to stockpile courage faster than you can imagine.
In the earliest part of your journey, courage grows exponentially -- 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64.
It starts out too small to notice, but eventually, the courage grows so great inside you that it wants to burst out. You feel it radiating out from your head, heart and gut, through your limbs to your fingers, toes and skin. It’s so subtle that if you’re not looking and listening for it, you won’t hear it happen at all.
So look and listen -- not outward, but inward. And when you feel ready to explode with courage, possibility and fear, take the best action step forward available to you.
Schedule the meeting. Ask for the conversation. Rehearse your message.
Then, take the next best step forward. Then the next.
And remember this: With every step, courage fuels possibility, which consumes fear, which creates more courage.
In this step-by-step growth process, failure isn’t performing poorly or missing an external timeline. It’s stopping.
When you stop, you paralyze progress. To stop is to let fear shout, rant and rave so much that it drowns out the quiet whispers of possibility and courage. Inertia is your mortal enemy.
Fear will always have a voice in your head. But it cannot overcome the power of courage and possibility unless you empower your fears more than you empower your courage.
Which one will you nourish -- courage and possibility, or fear and complacency?