Our Deepest Fear Is Our Greatest Asset

July 1st, 2010 4 Comments

Recently a friend commented regarding a young man that had something wonderful happen in his life, “There’s no place for him to go from here but downhill”.  He was referring to the fact that this kid had, from the get-go, achieved something that most people will never achieve.

My response was that he had set his baseline and there was no where to go but up from there!

I’ve thought about this comment for the last few days and I think it’s really relevant to the barrier many entrepreneurs face.  It’s that overwhelming fear that when things go right that it’s all going to crumble and there’s no place to go but down.

What a horrible limitation we put on ourselves, keeping us from ever reaching our full potential!

Is it a trained response that over the years has become ingrained as a self-defense mechanism to keep us from the agony of defeat?

One of the beautiful things of having more years under your belt (being 50 counts for something!) is knowing that bad things are going to happen, you’re going to fail, but in spite of this, or maybe because of this, life just keeps getting better!

In a way we become desensitized to the horrible trauma of experiencing what we thought was the worst thing that could ever happen in our life. After my husband died and later closing my business due to fire, I had to ask what worse could happen?

But there was more.

You know the really great thing? At one point later on, after a devastating, financial blow, I sat on my front step still kind of in shock from what had happened, and I realized–I really wasn’t that upset.  I knew right then and there, without a doubt, it really didn’t matter in the whole scheme of things.  It was just one small blip in my life.

Since then I have been able (although not always right away!) to separate myself from my circumstances and know that there are good times and there are bad times.  I will succeed and I will fail, but the important thing is that as long as I keep going on, my life just keeps getting better and better!

My successes have become greater. My dreams have become bigger. And my horizons have become broader.

It is a natural progression of living an authentic life where we are not weighted with the fear of our own power. Our power to push through the boundaries of what we thought was “as good as it gets” and move into the realm of “better than we could ever have imagined”!

I think Marianne Williamson said it best:

“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?”

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  • Hope Johnson

    Totally agree on your thoughts – however, I am wondering if this is a “trained response” or if the “fear of the other shoe dropping” is generated by some deep/dark fear in ourselves that “we are not good enough”?

    If we are to take your thought on “better than we could have ever imagined” then we must learn to embrace all our abilities, the power that lies within our core, to achieve whatever we set out to achieve and move forward without the fear of failure holding us back. Many times we say we don’t accomplish something because of our “fear of failure” but if we are truly honest to ourselves, isn’t it because of our “fear of success”?

    I personally believe we are all powerful people, it just depends on how we choose to ‘use’ or ‘not use’ our power — I think most people go through their lives letting the power they have inside stay dormant and therefore never really contribute. One of my personal mantra’s is – “remember, use your power for good.”

  • Lorna Landis

    Thanks Mary for the very inspiring message! Yes, “having more years under our belt” does give us a perspective that is difficult for young people to have, unless of course, they are willing to learn from “their elders”. I know that is not really “in fashion” any more, but I love reading about and listening to those who have gone before me, no matter what area I am exploring.

    I am sorry to hear of your loses, you have moved on very nicely. Thanks also for Marianne’s quote. I own her much as I listened over and over to her tapes on relationships when I was single and knew I did not want to make the same mistakes again. I am now SO very happily married to who I believe is the most wonderful man in the world! We will celebrate our 6th anniversary the last day of this month.

    Thanks again for sharing,
    Lorna Landis

  • The Napkin Dad

    I think it is often a disservice to judge success according to ‘the top’. Yes, we want to be at the top, but our worth and value to others isn’t dependent on being up there all the time. We contribute when we are small, when we struggle, when we are in limbo, when we fail, when we are just cruising as well as when we are at the top.

    My assumption is that life is long and my work is even longer. What I do now may not put me at ‘the top’ but it might put my grandchildren at the top in 60 years after I am gone. What I do when I reach 200 people might end up being more important and more critical to someone’s future than when I eventually reach 200,000 people.

    I don’t know these things in advance and the emphasis on being ‘on top’ often obscures the power inherent in an entire life, whether in the valley or on the peak.

  • Marnee Masales

    Hi Mary
    Thank you for sharing. Fear is very powerful and sometimes a big challenge. You are right though we must overcome this and it can be a advantage to us.

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