What is your deepest fear? Jumping out of a plane? Speaking in front of people? I will tell you for a lot of us it’s neither of those. A majority of us have a fear of achieving our dreams. We figure out ways to sabotage them. Why? Why would you allow yourself to shortchange your own happiness? Because we don’t want to feel better than others or seem boastful.
For a long time as an adolescent becoming a young adult I felt that way. As an athlete in high school I worked hard for three years to become the best hurdler I could. When my Senior year came I was undefeated the entire season. I felt ecstatic as I heard my name every morning after a track meet announced to the entire school. Until a classmate told me that I was no better than anyone else. That I would amount to nothing and one of my other track teammates was better. I felt crushed. I pretended that it didn’t affect me, but it did. To my core. So much that I ran horribly at the regional track meet that year.
Years later after I had been in the military for a while I read Marianne Williamson’s Return To Love and came across this passage:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
The words burned into my very core and changed me. I was always afraid before of allowing my light to shine bright. Keeping my hand in front of the flame. Just enough to stay lit and be noticed, but shielded so I wouldn’t outshine others and be talked about. No more. When I decided to be in the service of helping others I realized that I had to shine. I had to be out front to provide myself as an example to others. Showing others that they could have a successful career in the military. That they could retire and move on to conquer new dreams. That their personal brand was more than a uniform, It was who they were outside their job and career (yes, there is a difference).
It’s who you decide to be at your most vulnerable state. It is then and only then do we finally manifest all of our brilliance for the world to see. So go forth and shine. Be all that you were intended. Realize your deepest fear and turn it into your greatest strength.