How to Dream Bigger in Spite of Fear
In July of 2012, I decided I wasn’t dreaming big enough.
I attended a conference full of people doing amazing things for themselves, for charity, for their families…
And I felt an incredible sense of inadequacy.
Inadequate because what I felt inside wasn’t matching the actions of my outsides, and all these amazing people I was meeting were showing me that it could be done. My heart was overflowing with emotion, compassion and eagerness; I was just so scared to harness it for fear of rejection or failure.
In July, I decided to stop letting fear dictate my inaction, and instead, I began to let it fuel me to take more action.
My big dream that I’ve been working to make a reality ever since is detailed at the bottom of this post. Please read on to check out how my refusal to listen to fear is going to fuel me as I gather charity donations across North America, and how you can help inspire hope into thousands of people who want to give up.
But first, I want to help you overcome your own fears that are holding you back from achieving an epic reality.
I think that we all get caught up in the fear of big dreams because when they fail, they hurt so much more than the smaller dreams.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been crushed and paralyzed by fear way more times than I have by rejection or unachieved dreams.
I like to think of fear as an emotional recreation of Carrie’s mother. Remember that movie? Yeah, the one with all the corn syrup and pyrotechnics…
Carrie’s mother is the embodiment of fear. She is so afraid for her daughter to experience any kind of life outside the one she knows, that she goes to such lengths as to lock her in the closet and try to beat her into submission.
She says that she just wants the best for her.
Well, that’s a lot like the fear we experience that holds us back from our prolific dreams. Fear tells us she wants the best for us, then locks us in the closet and tells us what horrible people we are…
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re not a big fan of being kept back from all the amazing things in life that you deserve.
In order to achieve those amazing things, you have to fight fearback. You have to force your way out of that house to see the world that fear wants to keep you safe from.
If you’re choosing to step up to fear and teach her who’s boss, try out the tips below. They may help you when the going gets tough…
Responding to your inner “They’re all gonna laugh at you!”
Your fear will beg, scream and cry to be heard. That voice of fear can get pretty scary sometimes.
When you start hearing that voice telling you that “they’re all gonna laugh at you” when you fail (like Carrie’s mom screamed at her), take a deep breath and ask yourself: “So what?”
Is that the worst that can happen? They laugh at you? They see you fail?
Some people thrive on laughing at those that fail because it makes them feel better for never trying.
Don’t worry about what they choose to do with their energy. Creating your own life will require some hiccups. But you know what? They’ll inform you to be more successful the next time around.
Let yourself feel the fear
Don’t try to push it away (it won’t work). Fear is a natural emotion, and there’s not much we can do about experiencing it. The key is to feel the fear, then take action anyway.
When I feel the threat of debilitating fear, I ground myself with a deep breath or two.
I close my eyes and breathe down into my belly. Breathing in the emotion, and breathing out love, acceptance and strength. I know it’s scary, but when you get through this, you’ll be even stronger the next time fear comes around.
Don’t compare what others around you are doing
The people around you may be slaves to fear as well. Don’t use them as your model of “normal.” Just because they’re not living their dreams doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either.
Be the one that breaks the mold, and show them that it can be done.
Similarly, if you’re around other people who are already living their dreams, be wary of the comparison trap. Your path is your own, and it may take longer (or shorter) than theirs did. If they’re positive, helpful people, maybe they’ll be able to give you some tips for success!
Make fearless friends
You know how you feel when you hang out with the constant complainers or the negative nancies in your life? Like crap, right? Well, hanging out with fearless friends can have the opposite effect.
When you surround yourself with people who are working to create the lives they want and refusing to listen to fear, you’ll feel more motivated to do the same. Rather than talking you out of action, these friends will talk you into it!
Expect rejection at some point
The hardest setback for me to accept personally is rejection. I don’t take it well. I used to be an actress and quit because I felt broken every time I heard “no.”
Now that I am a little older and wiser, I have the ability to look at it from the outside and know that–most times–it’s not personal.
Think of it this way: someone will say “yes.” This “no” is leading you to that “yes.”
The pain may be intense right after and maybe even for a couple of lingering days, but this, too, shall pass. This is making way for that triumph to come into your life.
If you’re hearing tons of “no”s all day long, you may need to assess your tactics for getting yeses.
Is there another way to accomplish what you’re setting out to do? Is there another route to take that you haven’t seen before?
Brainstorm, do your research, and don’t get beat down by it.
Know that you can
The belief that you can make this dream a reality is going to be the foundation that you build this life upon.
I’m not going to say it’s impossible to accomplish your dreams without the knowledge that you can do it, but I will say that it’s going to feel like it is.
When you don’t believe that you can, you’ll find that you stop yourself from following through, negate many of your small victories along the way with justifications, and maybe even subconsciously convince those people that you want yeses from, to say “no.”
Don’t shut yourself down before you try. Devote some time to creating the belief in yourself.
My Big Dream
If you have read my very first post here on The Change Blog, From Depression to Happiness: The 4 Steps That Helped to Change My Life, you know that I suffered from clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I got so low that I even tried to take my own life.
After years of self-work and finding fitness, I have overcome the paralyzing effects of depression and OCD, and am now a strong, happy and grateful person.
I created the life I wanted with the help of fitness and positive thinking. Now I want to create a movement that will help others do the same.
To celebrate the 30th birthday I almost didn’t have, I’ll be touring across the US and Canada doing 30 donation-based bootcamps in 30 different cities to benefit the non-profit movement called To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). They help people who struggle with depression, self-injury, substance abuse and suicide.
In order to do this tour, I’m running a campaign on IndieGoGo to raise money so that I can get my message out to the people who need to hear it.
Every person deserves a happy, fulfilling life. I would be so grateful if you would help me inspire hope into those who need it most. Help me show them that it can be done.
If you can’t donate, I completely understand. If you believe in the message, you can still help ignite this movement by sharing it with your friends and loved ones. There are easy instructions and even clickable sharing links on the IndieGoGo page.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my big dream. I can’t wait to read about yours.