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Posts from the ‘Fear’ Category

Defying Small: A Manifesto

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I have spent the past two months writing, editing and designing my Defying Small manifesto, a free, easy-to-read, 22-page, downloadable e-book. In it, I share ideas about how to defy small, embrace small, and begin living your biggest, most passionate life.

I hope you will:

– read it (click here)

– share your thoughts below

– share it with anyone you think might enjoy it

– share it on Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtags #defyingsmall    #defyingsmallmanifesto)

– consider exploring the principles of Defying Small in your daily life.

I hope Defying Small encourages you to take that first (or next) step. I enjoyed writing it and am excited about sharing it with you.

After you read it, please let me know what you think. I’d also appreciate hearing your stories of how you are Defying Small. To those have already done so, thank you! If you haven’t and you want to get in touch, my email is defyingsmall@gmail.com.

I am now getting back to work on my book Defying Small, Embracing Small: How to Live Your Biggest, Most Passionate Life. If you’d like updates about my book, as well as inspiring articles, blog posts, and quotes, please join me at Defying Small (Facebook) and Twitter (@defyingsmall).

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Share the Love and be the first to get my Defying Small Manifesto!

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Want to live a more passionate life but don’t know where to start? In just a few weeks, I will release my Defying Small Manifesto, a free, downloadable PDF that will show you how to DEFY SMALL by helping you:

– choose yourself
– overcome your fears
– make an action plan
– take that first step (or keep going) towards your biggest, most passionate life!

Take a moment and share this Valentine with your friends on Facebook. Tweet it to your followers on Twitter with the hashtag #sharethelove. Then email me at defyingsmall@gmail.com to let me know you’ve done that. In mid-March, you’ll receive an email with a link to a free, downloadable PDF of my Defying Small Manifesto (before it’s available to the general public). It’s that simple!

Thank you for your support of Defying Small. And thanks for Sharing the Love!

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Surprised by Joy

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Joy is in the business of surprise.

I went through a very difficult parting of ways yesterday with the person, next to my children, I love most on earth. I’d seen it coming. And not coming. But it came nonetheless.

I went to bed feeling sad, angry, hurt. I woke up knowing it was for the best. An opportunity for discovery and growth, and perhaps, one day, a deeper, more lasting connection.

As I stepped outside this morning, I saw a robin. Spring, I thought. I looked up at the sky, pastel and full of promise. I heard birds chirping. Not the usual Muzak twittering, but a lilting prayer.

And then I felt it. Joy.

5705397960_65628d1826_zWhy is it that joy so often surprises us? I believe it’s because we walk around expecting bad things to happen. Things like break-ups, a cancer diagnosis, a hit-and-run. We expect to be blindsided at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. And, often, we are.

But we don’t expect joy. It frightens us. We’re afraid it will sneak in the back door, give us a momentary glimpse into Glory, and then leave just as quickly as it came.

Boom.

And we just can’t afford to let that happen. Are you kidding? More pain? So we keep up our defenses. We guard against vulnerability. Vulnerability will chink our armor, and, if we’re not careful, leave an opening for joy to enter in.

Yep, you’d better watch out for joy. It’s sneaky. And terrifying.

In this interview with Oprah for Super Soul Sunday, Brené Brown talks about “foreboding joy” and why, she believes, it is the most frightening of all emotions:

So now I understand my “joy moment”. It broke in because:

I loved with my whole heart.

I am grateful, so grateful, for this person and all we have shared.

I confess it’s not easy to write about this very personal thing that happened yesterday. It’s not easy to write, period. It means being vulnerable and keeping a lookout. For joy.

Have you ever been surprised by joy? I hope you’ll share your story, below.

Living in the Tension (or what to do when you’re terrified)

fearI hit a wall this past weekend. I was plugging along, working on my goals for the new year, and, suddenly, I became frozen with fear.

What if I don’t accomplish everything on my list? Or even half my list? Or, worse, what if I actually do all of these things and fail?

Have you ever felt that way? It happens to all of us from time to time. We’re taking a risk, pursuing our passion, when we find ourselves gripped with fear. Fear of ridicule. Rejection. Or failure. We set the bar so high (overachieving), or so low (underachieving), that it’s impossible for us to climb over or under. We get stuck and we do what is possible. Nothing.

Fear is a given. It’s inherent in anything that pushes our limits. Yet each of us is surprised when it appears out of nowhere and draws us into its icy grip.

So how do you become unfrozen? By living in the tension. That’s right. Sit in it. Feel it. Embrace it. Have a little faith. And then push through it.

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I know how difficult this is to do. I have a huge fight and flight response. When I’m threatened by fear or discomfort, my first impulse is to run and hide. But with increased self-awareness and lots of practice, I’ve learned to recognize and name what I’m afraid of. Often what I think I’m afraid of is only the symptom of a deeper fear. For example, I may be afraid to write a blog post. But my greater fear, if I stop and ponder it, is that I won’t write well and that people will respond negatively or not read it at all.

A trusted mentor taught me a great technique for facing my fears. First, think of what it is you’re afraid of. Then imagine the worst thing that could happen if your fears are realized. Then ask yourself if you could survive. The answer is, of course, almost always yes. This little exercise has helped me over the years to push through my fears and move past them.

When we face our fears this way, they diminish, and we see them for what they are. They may be real, but we only give them power by holding on to them.

So the next time you’re caught in the grip of fear:

  • name it
  • imagine the worst possible outcome
  • realize you will survive it, and perhaps even learn something from it
  • push through it by doing the next thing.

If you’re on the path to pursuing your passion, you will meet up with fear along the way. When that happens, remember to live in the tension. As writer and blogger Jeff Goins reminds us, “The cost of not pursuing a dream is greater than the cost of failure.” So release that grip and get going!

How do you overcome fear? Feel free to share your thoughts, below.

Becoming grace

God's grace is becoming

Year of All Years

A process for your best year yet.

6 Months to Live: The Experiment Continues

Life is waiting. Will you join me?