This blog is about courage. It takes courage to step outside of your comfort zone, to go after your dreams, to follow your heart even when it leads you to unfamiliar or scary places, to let your light shine, to put yourself out there, to take a chance on what you believe in, to act on behalf of your innermost desire and most of all, to FACE your fears.
Some people think that being courageous means never having to feel fear. The truth is that courage is the ability to feel fear and take action anyways. Courage allows us to overcome our fears by taking actions rooted in the faith that we will learn, grow, thrive and succeed because of them even when it doesn’t seem that way on the surface. Courage and faith go hand in hand and when practiced together, transformation happens, mountains move and anything is possible.
I’ve been on the path of pursuing my dream for several years now and it’s become clear to me in the past eight months that I have certain fundamental tendencies that have been holding me back. The biggest of these is that I am a creature of habit and comfort. I like what I know and I know what I like. I am very close with my family and I have lived in the same city as them my whole life. I have a cozy apartment and I am used to having tons of personal space and time to myself. I also have an amazing community of friends and artists that I feel accepted by and with whom I know I belong. All of these things are great in and of themselves but as I strive for greater success in my career, my attachment to them has been keeping me stuck. In order for me to realize my vision and truly make a difference in the world, I have to be on the road a lot, I have to embrace uncertainty on so many levels and be something of a chameleon.
So you can imagine how my orientation to familiarity and comfort is something I keep bumping up against as I walk the path that I have chosen. What I am learning is that that’s just fear doing its thing. Creating resistance to change, growth and expansion. Casting a shadow of doubt on what’s possible in a way that’s paralyzing and that causes me to choose “no” instead of “yes” to what’s in my heart, to my deep-seated desire to reach my potential and to see my dreams come to life.
Fear is inevitable, especially when you are up to big things in life and when you are choosing to walk the path less traveled. Whether we’re talking about the kind of person you’re aspiring to be in your relationships and community or what you are doing with your life in terms of your career, fear will come up and there will be obstacles along the way. When we are feeling our fear, we can always look around to find the excuses we’re looking for to stay safe and play small. Money is a big one. Being logical and over-analyzing are popular too. There’s also people-pleasing, not wanting to stir the pot too much and of course, not wanting to fail or fall flat on our faces, especially while others are watching. The list of reasons “not to” are endless if that’s what we’re looking for but there’s also that inner knowing, that fire that burns within, that yearning that won’t go away. Which perspective are we focusing on?
The bottom line is that when we step out of our comfort zone, when we step through our fear and focus on what’s possible, the Uni-verse conspires on our behalf and things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise unfold. I have been experiencing this firsthand and though it’s counter-intuitive, it has held true over and over again. The further outside of your comfort zone you are willing to go, the more expansion and growth you get to experience. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.
So the question is not how can we avoid feeling fear but rather how do we respond to fear when it comes up. How can we remain empowered in the face of the obstacles along the path to personal growth and our dreams? Simply by CHOOSING courage, time and time again and not letting the fear keep us stuck or holding us back from what we really desire to create and achieve.
Where in your life can you choose courage? What actions can you take DESPITE the fear? What ways are there for you to step into your power and dig deeper into your faith?
Written for The Daily Love (Feb. 25th, 2012)