Yesterday, I had an Epiphany

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, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

I had a pretty real and significant moment yesterday. In fact, it was so profound, that I am going to try to describe it at length here of how it happened and what came out of it. For me, this moment was a major hinge point. This is about my relationship with fear. First, I will tell you how this came about.

I was sitting at my desk after having come back from the gym because my arms were incredibly sore and hurting badly, looking at my incredibly destroyed room, and not eating the best food. Needless to say, I felt like absolute crap. I hadn’t done any of the things I was supposed to do, I had a terrible time in the gym, and I was confronted with an absolute mess which shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So I threw some ice on my knees, and just sat on my bed thinking. While I sat there, thoughts were mulling through my head. ‘Why the hell does this keep happening?’ ‘Evan, what is up with you right now? ‘Oh…I know…same actions…same results…damnit…Landmarked again.’ So, while I was sitting there I kept looking at the parts of my life that were lacking motivation and just wondering what in the world I needed to do to get to the point where I wanted to. I have been having spurts of super motivated activity, but they end after a week for some reason. I couldn’t figure it out. Then, one of my favorite songs came on (Not Afraid – Eminem) and it smacked me in the face after that song ended. I am not sure how Eminem felt during that song really, but what I heard in the song was a completely different message. If it were my song, I would be singing along the lines “I am scared shitless…I am afraid, but I am going to grab onto that fear and embrace it.” Jerry Rice, one of the most famous wide receivers in the NFL said that fear got him to the Hall of Fame. No one could catch him because he “ran scared.” This is completely contrary to all sports psychologists these days, but in learning what I have over the summer, I actually think there is another way. I talk a lot about sitting with your thoughts and your emotions and recognizing them for what they are…not masking them. Well, what if you let fear just be present in your life and just recognize that it is there all the time? Why does it appear all the time? It appears because we have all been grooved by society to stick to the status quo. Believe it or not, that force to keep you in the middle is outstanding. To keep you normal and like everyone else. That force is outstanding and I was feeling it a little bit yesterday. But, do one thing a day that scares you. Well, do your life every day in a way that scares you. Be who you want to be, now, and forever. You are going to be scared to death to go there, but you will be free. Not from fear, but from someone who masks their emotions.

I spent a lot of time in the past saying “IM NOT AFRAID!” I can do anything. But I remember a couple of years ago listening to that song walking to class shaking because I had to face something I was terrified of. What if I turned that around and just said “Evan, you are scared…and thats okay. Go ahead and shake, go ahead and be nervous, go ahead and embrace it.” Knowing what I know now, I probably would have calmed down quickly. Admitting to yourself that things are going on in your head as simple thoughts and feelings is incredibly powerful. So how does this translate into my life right now. Well, I will say it straight up. A ton of the goals I have had never were accomplished because of an undercurrent I never knew about. My mind would sabotage my goals even when I knew exactly what to do to get there. I put the poem at the top because that is my answer for why this happened so many times to me. We are scared of our light within. It is easy to write about it and talk about it, but a lot of the times it is so hard to go out and live it. Living when you have been in a shell can be an incredibly scary experience for some people. But if I learned one thing from the Native American History course I took this past quarter was through a heroic story about Crazy Horse. At the beginning of each battle, Crazy Horse would charge the enemy head on with his war pony facing round after round of bullets and never get hit. That act took amazing amounts of bravery and most of all vulnerability. He did this for decades. If all of us could take charge in our lives and face the fear head on. There is no such thing as not being afraid. Everyone is fearful, so embrace that amazing feeling.

This is an unbelievable moment for me. I have learned so much in the past day about why I do the things I do. My results were the consequence of letting fear dictate the end result. However, I am seeing things for how they could and will be. I can let fear be present and admit it is in my life at whatever moment, and grab onto it and take it for the ride of its life. We will always be scared of things that are new to us, but the more you do the things you are fearful of, the less you will be scared of them in the long run. Fear will subside. Then, the goal is not to live comfortably, but to find more things you are scared to do. Keep doing that and your development will be unreal. I am feeling the effects of this mindset already. So, what am I afraid to do? Well, I am starting to write out a list of the things I am most afraid to do, and checking them off one by one when I accomplish them. However, when I check one-off, I replace it with another. That is the way to keep this process going. Life is choice guys. You have the choice to do anything with your life at any time. You always have a choice…even when you might think you don’t. Logically, our lives look like this formula A + B = C…but realistically, since our emotions get in there, it looks like A+ X^2 +(1+6%) *i = D+. Whatever exponent or number fear is in that equation, embrace it, it will take you to great place. Don’t try to be ‘not afraid’ but just love that fear. Love that fear because you know that you are doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, and you can grow from that. That is what makes fear exciting now. Fear is only the enemy of progress if you let it stop you from progressing. Fear for me now is the gatekeeper to progress. And now when I am acting on something that scares me to death, I shake fears hand at the door and dive into the world of uncharted territory.

Evan Sanders- The Better Man Projects

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  • B. in the Know
    December 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I love that list of fears – they are so true and keep you going.
    Much love,
    B

    • thebettermanprojects
      December 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you! It is completely fine to be afraid of things. Thank you for writing this comment and keep up the great work.

      Evan

  • Andrea Goeglein
    December 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Evan, I really appreciate the depth of your writing about the subject of fear. I actully use the Marianne Williamson piece for myself and with client. I have turned it into the first person, and recite it in the mirror every day for 30 days — usually I am called upon to assign that exercise or do it myself at least 2 x a year! Thank you for such a good post.

    • thebettermanprojects
      December 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      Andrea,

      Thank you for taking the time to shoot me a message. That is a incredibly powerful process to go through. I do that when I go to work but just with a different quote. IF you don’t mind me asking, what do you like so much about my writing. I would love to hear more from you and your thoughts.

      Evan

  • Alicia Rodriguez
    December 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Hello Evan, thanks for following me and I loved this post. Last year was a year devoted to facing my fears. I wrote about it on my blog in several posts especially at http://wisdompartner.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/going-to-the-places-that-scare-me/

    I really appreciate how you embrace fear as a partner and wise friend. And I know how difficult that can be at times. Thank you for posting this.
    Best wishes – Alicia (Sophia)

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you for the great comment on facing fear. I am so interested to dive into your posts about facing fear and how you got through it. I will let you know what I think!

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • Ridinwithpride
    December 7, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Don’t be afraid of fear. Embracing reality. Finding a lot of uncommon sense on your blog. Thanks

  • Manish Panwar
    December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Great work man. Really learned a new art today. Thanks for following my blog and I would certainly incorporate the above lessons in my life..!!

    Cheers!!

    Manish

    • thebettermanprojects
      December 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      If you don’t mind me asking, what art did you learn the other day. Sorry it took me a while to respond to this comment, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

      E.

      • Manish Panwar
        December 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

        The art of following/loving your fears was the one I was referring to. Even the example of making a check-list of your fears is a very unique way of moving ahead in your life.

        I hope I’m pretty clear now…hehe.

        Thanks again!!

        Manish

  • michaeldthomasphotography
    December 13, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The Marianne Williamson quote is one of my favorites!
    Also, I’ve found that a bad time is better than no time at the gym and fear can be a great teacher.
    Thank you for likeing my blog and I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blog roll.

    • thebettermanprojects
      December 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks for commenting on my writing. Fear is an unbelievable motivator. I loved finding the part about Jerry Rice too and how he ran scared and thats why he succeeded. If you have any questions or anything shoot me a message and we will chat!

      Thank you,

      E.

  • Tracy
    December 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Evan,
    Great post! Your vulnerability is refreshing. Someone once told me that if it doesn’t scare you it’s not worth doing. It completely changed the way I live my life. Now I look at fear as something positive – a reminder that I’m growing and I’m doing what’s I think is important.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      That is one of the greatest compliments you could give me….that I have refreshing vulnerability! I am working on that like crazy. And yes you are right, if it doesnt scare you its not worth doing. Keep growing! LOve to know how your journey is going

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • thewondermya
    December 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Hi ! Your post is brilliant, it definitely rings a bell, thanks for sharing your journey with us !

  • KASH
    December 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Great post!

  • flamidwyfe
    December 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Powerful message, Evan! Now I want to spend my lunch (I’m in China and it’s lunch time) reading the rest of your blog!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am working on being a better woman, so we have something in common 🙂

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      That is freaking awesome! I hope that you got something great during that lunch of reading my blog. Please feel free to send me some questions and I will answer them…much quicker this time haha… Evan

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • dswan2
    December 29, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thank you for following my Aechoes blog, Evan! I see so much of myself in your writing; the self that cowered before life when I was young. Now I am old, my hair is white and I am called wise. But wise is just living with your fears long enough to amble through them and do what you want to do in spite of them. When a seven-year writer’s block showed up in my fifties, I tossed the words and began carving carousel horses. Loved it. Conquered the band saw, the scroll saw and the power carving tools. And, knee deep in saw dust, the words came tumbling out of the dark places and I was off again into the world of make believe;. Keep at it, you’ll get there!

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      “But wise is just living with your fears long enough to amble through them and do what you want to do in spite of them.” Such an incredible sentence. Thank you. I am going to keep that with me. Wow. Thats all I have to say.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • Deb Prewitt
    December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Great post. I especially love your formula! I too have been on a journey facing my fears and pushing through them. There are times when I do want to turn and run and hide, but I have been ignoring those feelings and you know what? It’s not so scary as I thought.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      So true isn’t it! When emotions get in there it becomes really messy. But good for you that you aren’t going to let fear eat you up! Go get your dreams!

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • lexa
    January 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “Sitting with your thoughts and emotions and recognizing them for what they are..” is incredibly empowering and necessary. It is the fear that you describe that prevent so many from achieving their personal best. This post is AWESOME! I will share this post with my 22 year old daughter; she could benefit from your insight. Thanks for the follow & I look forward to future reads. Happy New Year!

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Thank you for the incredible comment. I am so glad that it resonated with you and you found something worthwhile to share with your daughter. That makes me so happy. And happy belated new year 🙂

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • lunasealife
    January 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Beautiful. This resonates with me so much; I’ve been trying to redefine my relationship with fear in this way too. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your truth!

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Thank you for commenting and I am so glad that it resonated with you! Dont be afraid to reinvent yourself when you know you should

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • Inese
    January 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

    This is very inspiring.
    I wish I had time to put down some of my thoughts in a wonderful way you do.
    Thank you for your great article!

  • movingwithgod
    January 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    That is a great post. thanks for following my blog. There is an adage in my country, Ghana which goes like this, ” The earlier you accepted a slap which is rightly meant for you the better”. How long can one run away from his fears? For all you know your ability to deal with that fear will be a blessing for many generations. When God told Moses to throw down the rod he was holding when he met him, it turned into a snake and he run away from it. God commanded him to pick the snake up which was a fearful thing to do. He had to confront that fear. When he did that rod became a symbol of God’s power in his hand to deliver the Israelites. What would have happened if Moses had not faced what he was afraid of? I am sure generations would have cursed him for not doing what he was supposed to do to deliver them from bondage. Facing your fears, especially internal ones is not easy but I always TRY to take courage from the scriptures to help me and it works. It is not easy but God is able to help. God bless you for your post.

  • thedreamerproject
    January 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    So amazing! Thanks for following me and sharing your stories! This is the first one I’ve gotten a chance to read and I can tell already that I’m going to enjoy your blog posts quite a bit! :))

  • tina
    January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    this is fantastic – needed it, love the insights!

  • readytochangenow
    January 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

    You used one of my favorite quotes of all time which I have chosen to base my life on – amazing post.

  • Imahni Dawson
    January 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I love everything about this post. For a long time, I’ve just been telling myself, “I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid.” But every time I do that, my heart just replies, “bullshit. You’re terrified.” But this post showed me that that is perfectly alright! I love the idea of shaking fear’s hand and just allowing it to be present. My thanks!!

  • actionfiguretrish
    January 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

    i you ain’t scared, it ain’t brave

    congrats to you. i’m jumping through some fears now, fun-scary ones after truly worst ones came true a couple of years ago. those voices are just voices…not you! my phrase these last 7 months of working hard on big transitions…transitions from “supposed-to’s” to “born tos.” my internal mantra has been, “just keep climbing….don’t look down!”

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      You have the perfect bio photo for that comment. If you aint scared you aint brave…and you are skydiving. That scares the shit out of me haha. But I want to do it! I love your internal mantra as well.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • Danlrene ©2011
    January 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I loved this. It is Amazing but not really..that it takes us getting a little older to look back and see what kept us back. I can’t count the number of things I did not do because of fear. Now that I am older than dirt LOL….I think..why do I fear it? Because someone will laugh? Because I might fail? Because I might show someone inside me that I keep locked away? Why….and that is what taught me to quit being so afraid of everything. Love your blog. Keep up the good work.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      You are absolutely right on with your comment. Don’t be afraid of anything except for fear itself. No one elses opinion matters in the long run. THank you so much for that.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • thedailyheartbreak
    January 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Love.

  • yes1and
    January 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Great post. You’ve got a new subscriber (and thanks for the follow, also!)

  • Barb F
    January 15, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Great post. Whatever comes along I do the best I can to see it for what it really is and respond accordingly. If I experience fear, that’s ok. It is what I choose to do, as you said, that makes the difference.

  • Dorothy Stacy
    January 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I enjoyed reading your blog. It is so true. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Exactly! Punch fear in the face! haha. One of my heroes says that he attacks fear because he knows that growth is on the other side of that.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • allenmccreless
    January 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read. There are very few people that are able to look inside themselves and see truth. We all run from our fears hoping they will go away. Being able to face our fears gives us strength. As in the beginning of your post, trusting in God to see us through our fears gives us the ultimate strength. Believe in Him and His strength and all else will fall away and only truth and peace will remain.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Wow. I am honored. That is awesome. I appreciate your kind words about being able to look inside and see the truth. Sometimes its not that easy when you see what is really there, but it is totally necessary.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • kathryningrid
    January 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Well done, my friend! We should all be attempting to confront and conquer our fears in such a positive way!
    Kathryn

  • Leila
    January 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Your post reminds me of something I heard a long time ago. Something, ironically, I just repeated to my friend’s five year old son. He was telling me that he was afraid of something, but that he did it anyway. I said, “that took a lot of courage.” He said, “what does that mean?” I said, “Courage? Well, a lot of people think having courage means not being afraid of something scary, but courage really means doing something EVEN THOUGH you’re afraid of it.” I don’t know how old you are, you talk about college, and so I wonder if you are younger than me. As I read your post, I thought, wow, good for him, figuring this out when he’s still so young! Some people go their whole lives and never figure this out. I DO know this, and yet, sometimes, I still struggle with fear and courage, but it sure helps to at least understand the nature of the struggle. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks for that great story! And yes, you have to be able to face fear. It isn’t about not being scared you are absolutely right. It is about doing what you need to do in the face of that fear.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • judithhb
    January 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks – what a great post. If we all could face our fears as you do we would all live happier lives. And thank you for subscribing to my blog. 🙂

  • Kathleen Goldson Clarke
    January 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Totally enjoyed this post. To see fear in the positive light and embrace it, because after all, it prepares us and gets our heart pumping to face the unknown. all we really need to do is take that deep breath and dive in.Seeing this positive side will make things easier. Thanks for sharing.

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Right on target. See fear for exactly what it is. Fear is also a fantastic motivator to get us going if we use it in the right way.

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

  • Afraid to Shine? « Light's Scribe
    January 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

    […] Day (101) – Yesterday, I had an Epiphany « The Better Man Project. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr(“AdOpt”, “1”); GA_googleAddAttr(“Origin”, “other”); […]

  • Bridgett
    January 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    What an interesting take on fear. I think, often, we are more afraid of fear than we are of those things we fear. Thank you for sharing the Marianne Williamson quote. I’ve published it to my blog, with a link to this post. It reminds me of the Scripture: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

    I pray God empowers you to achieve all the plans He has for your life and to continue being a blessing to others.

    PS. Thanks for following my blog, Light’s Scribe!

    • thebettermanprojects
      August 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you for the great wishes and the powerful words. I will definitely keep those close to my heart. The Marianne Williamson quote is fantastic. It keeps me in line 🙂

      I’ll motivate you like crazy! Follow me on Facebook http://on.fb.me/RC57QW and Twitter http://bit.ly/Z0zCq9 to get pumped up daily!

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