For years, I had been checking all the boxes and working hard; I did everything I was supposed to do. And yet, I felt a sense of emptiness. What was the point of it all? Was it really what I wanted? I had reached a point of desperation. It was a perpetual cycle of negative thoughts, and I didn’t know how to break free.
Until one day, I received a phone call from a family friend that lifted me out of the dark. Talking things through with someone really helped. She helped me identify the problem and gave me a powerful tool that changed my life forever. It’s timeless, transferable, and I invite you to use it and change your life for the better too.
The Problem: Living In Fear
Success isn’t necessarily easy. I guess it depends on what your goals are. But let’s take career success as an example. Perhaps you’re someone who, like me, aspires for greatness? You want to be the absolute best that you can be. So, you set yourself ambitious goals, you commit, and you focus wholeheartedly until you achieve them.
This pattern isn’t inherently bad in itself, but it can have negative consequences. You could wake up one day and realize that you’ve invested so much time and effort into your career that you’ve neglected other valuable aspects of your life, whether it’s your health, your family, your social life, or your hobbies.
When the effort to attain a particular goal becomes all-encompassing, it can easily stop being enjoyable. Why? Because you’re living in fear.
When you let the drive for success in a particular area take over your life, the prospect of failure becomes all the more daunting. It becomes all you have, so there’s a lot to lose. The stakes are high. If you fail at the one thing that defines you, the only one thing you have to do, you’re a complete failure.
For me, this fear of failure manifested when I embarked on a new project. I had decided to become a freelance writer. I wanted to commit myself to learn more about the craft and working to become successful. As I often had in the past, I let this new career goal become all-encompassing. I thought that the only way I could succeed was by making it my one and only priority.
What happened? I became petrified. Every time I would sit down to write, I was filled with anxiety. I was convinced that no one would want to read what I had to say. So I didn’t write. For weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to write a single post.
This state of omission was obviously not going to get me the results that I wanted. I wasn’t ever going to achieve success as a writer if I didn’t write. I knew that I had to learn to stop living in fear. As George Adair famously said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
But how could I overcome this fear, the unshakable thought that I could fail?
The Solution: Observe The Abundance That Surrounds You
The advice that I received from my friend couldn’t have come at a better time. She was taking part in Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge, focused on creating abundance. She was convinced that it would help.
I wasn’t typically one for meditations — I never had the time. But at this point, I was desperate to try anything. And I’m glad that I did, because the tool that I learned on Day 1 changed my perspective completely—it set me free from fear.
True abundance, says Deepak Chopra, is when you experience “joy, health, happiness, sense of purpose, and vitality”.
You might not have a lot of money, but you don’t have to be poor. Having an abundant life—a wealthy life—is a choice.
The exercise on Day 1 asks that you observe the abundance that already surrounds you. It asks that you list the names of 50 people who have contributed in some way to your personal development. These could be family members, friends, teachers, acquaintances, writers, filmmakers—anyone and everyone who has inspired you through their words or their actions, guiding you to become who you are today.
This sense of abundance is freeing. You realize that your life already is abundant. You already are successful, because you already have a great life. Whatever happens, you have an abundance of loving, wise, and supportive connections that you can turn to.
The fear of failure goes away. Because even if you don’t succeed, the things that truly matter will always be there.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Overcome Your Fears: Make A List
I invite you to make a list of 50 people that have influenced who you are today. For some of you, this list might be longer; for others, it might be shorter. The important thing is to reflect on how each individual has helped you become who you are today.
Appreciate that all of these people give you a solid foundation to stand on, to launch from, and to fall back on. Whatever happens, your life is filled with abundance.
As you go about your day today, repeat these words to yourself: “Today, I behold all of the abundance that surrounds me.”
And know that this abundance will exist for as long as you choose to welcome it into your reality.