I have a question for you. What is it that you are really afraid of? Is it that you won't be good enough or fast enough? Is that you are limited in what you know or what you can do? Is it that your ideas are mediocre or even ludicrous? Is it that you believe it's not in your blood because mama didn't do it; daddy didn't do it, not your uncles or aunts, not your grandma or grandpa and not even your ancestors? Is that it?
Is it that you have a complexion that is a rainbow of the races-not light enough? Or, one that is as dark as the minds that discriminate against you-too dark? Is it that you are Susan and share your life with Karen or Mike and share your life with David? Is it that you won't be considered because you have children or taken seriously because you are a woman? Is it that you are too young or too old?
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
Although widely and wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela because he used it in a speech he gave once, it was Marianne Williamson who authored these words.
They help illustrate my point that what holds us back is not those things that seemingly create parameters for us, but that we would have the audacity to transcend them.
Many times, I think that we end our path to accomplishing our goals before we really ever start to get on it. Have you ever talked yourself right out of something you wanted to do before you even started doing it? We become overwhelmed by the possibility of our failure. What we believe we are, what we look like, or what we know or don't know cripples us. Our focus on those who have already done it before us and those who are doing it now blur our own vision. The color of our skin, the way we love, and our ages quiet our voices.
Ironically, these are also reasons we are mobilized, inspired, and vocal. And, so, the possibility of our success, too, overwhelms us.
We have to make a conscious decision to move toward our goals in the face of fear-period. I am learning from the great minds of systems theorists that we cannot get rid of fear within ourselves because fear is not a thing. We can only change our relationship to it.
Fear can stunt our growth because it prevents us from experimenting. Experimenting involves trial and error from which we learn and learning cultivates growth.
What is it that you are really afraid of? You don't have to tell me, but ask yourself the question and explore the answer. Explore your truth.
Later, down the road, you do not want to have the conversation with yourself about why you didn't become what you had the potential to become or do the thing(s) you had the potential to do. If your only answer is fear, then that's not the conversation you want to be having with yourself another year or five years from now.
It is ok to be afraid; just do it anyway.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.