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Atlanta traffic, fear of failure, and finally being good enough

[ 0 ] November 9, 2016 |

What are you afraid of? I’m not talking about things like spiders or snakes. I’m talking about your real fears. If people saw the things you’re trying to hide about yourself, what would they see? And what are you afraid would happen if they did?

This is on my mind because I’ve spent the past three days with 31 other life coaches. There’s nothing quite like a room full of life coaches to get you thinking about your goals and what’s standing in your way.

I’ve spent the past few months coming out of hiding, and that has been an amazing transformation for me. But what I realized this weekend is why I had been hiding.

All my life, I’ve tried to be the best person I could be: a good daughter, a good student, a good worker, a good wife, a good friend. But a lot of times, it felt like even when I did my best, it wasn’t good enough.

I got hurt, things didn’t work out, people left me.

Sometimes people just ignored me, and sometimes that’s what hurt the most.

In the face of those things happening again and again, it’s easy to decide not to try so hard. Why put everything you have into something, when it may not work? And there’s always someone ready to tell me that what I’m doing won’t work, and to say “I told you so” if it doesn’t.

This all came to a head when I was driving in Atlanta, trying to find my hotel for this weekend. It was hot, and I was tired and crabby, and I was intimidated by all the traffic. Plus, last time I drove to Atlanta, I spent no less than 45 minutes driving around in the blazing sun, lost and confused and circling one-way streets, trying to find where I was going. I had to pull over twice to cry and regroup before I finally found the place.

So I still had that in my mind as I set off on this trip, but this time, the hotel was right off the interstate, and it looked like it would be pretty easy to find. I followed the directions, got off at the right exit, and found the right road. I was even going in the right direction! But then suddenly there was this weird intersection where you had to turn right to stay on the same road, and I didn’t know that until I was already going straight, onto the wrong road.

That’s when I lost it. I felt like Atlanta as a whole was a huge trick, and even if I did everything right, there would be some unforeseeable weird-ass road to throw me off and make me miserable, and that was just a tiny example of how all of life was a trick. It was all a game that was rigged so that I would never win. And not only that, but the universe was watching me with all my fruitless efforts and laughing at me for being enough of a sucker to keep trying.

I hadn’t realized I believed that, but it kind of makes sense that I would, given some of the things that have happened in the past few years.

  • You manage to create a successful business? Well, here’s burnout and crippling depression to crush you and make sure you can’t work.
  • You finally have the kind of deep, crazy, fun love you’ve always wanted? Here’s some cancer to ruin everything!
  • You think you’re going the right way? Ha! We’ll just change the roads around so that nothing makes sense at all!

And as much as I hate when things don’t work, what I hate even more is for people to see it and know how much it hurts. You know how in junior high, the only defense you really had against people making fun of you was to seem like you didn’t care? I guess I never dropped that.

ready to come out of hiding

Photo credit: phakimata on Yay Images.

But here’s the thing. What I am most is someone who cares. I have big ideas, and they’re weird, and I really really want them, and I love them. And when they don’t work out, it hurts so bad, I never want to try anything again.

I’ve been letting the pain win. Even in the past few months, playing bigger than I had in years or maybe ever, I was still holding back. I was trying to give it my all, but there was still so much fighting within myself, it was like wading through tar.

Here’s what I’m taking away from this weekend.

The very thing I’m most afraid people will see is exactly what’s best about me.

I’m weird. I’m quirky. I have huge dreams that may turn out to be foolish, and I care more than I can say.

I’ve been trying to protect myself. But the problem is, you can’t protect yourself from pain without also blocking out all the good stuff. If I had been protecting myself when I met Rick, I wouldn’t have had to lose him, but I also wouldn’t have enjoyed him for the best six months of my life so far. All of the best experiences in my life have been possible because I was open. I put myself out there and took the risk. And as much as the endings have hurt, I wouldn’t trade them for missing the good parts.

So, as much as this scares me, I hereby declare: I’m open. I’m releasing the brakes, taking off the swim floaties, unwrapping my bubble wrap. I’m going to be me–no hiding, no censoring, and no trying to pass for “normal.”

My big vision is helping people create lives of meaning, freedom, and happiness. That’s what I’m doing, and I’m going to do it with everything I have.

What about you–what’s your big vision for yourself and your life? How clear are you on what you want to do most? How well are you doing at making it a reality?

I’m hosting a webinar this Friday on how to get clear on your dreams and actually make them happen. Most people never do this, and that’s one of the saddest things I can think of. More than ever, this world needs people who are awake and alive and doing what matters to them. That’s the only way anything will get better.

I hope you’ll join me. Here’s the info:

Give Your Heart Wings

How to stop delaying your dreams and make them happen for real
NOVEMBER 11TH, 2016 9 AM PST / 12:00 NOON EST

You’ve got a passion project that you know would be meaningful and satisfying for you and help others as well. You’re super excited about it… but when it come to actually doing it, well, you don’t. We’ve all been there, whether it’s starting a blog, developing yourself as a speaker, starting a business, or writing a book, we often delay the exact things that mean the most to us. In this training, you’ll learn:

  • Why we put off the very things that are most important or meaningful to us
  • How to get your mojo back if you’ve lost it
  • The four factors that make a huge difference to help you succeed

Click here to sign up. I hope to see you there!

About Cara Stein: I'm a writer and dreamer with a PhD in self-reinvention. (Or was that computer science?) Whether you're stuck, lost, or just looking to enjoy your life more, I want to help because I've been there!

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