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 Project