“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

The first time I ran across this quote, I’ll admit I felt a twinge of skepticism. However, after a quick mental scan it was confirmed – everything that I’ve ever wanted has come with a heaping dose of fear.

Going back to school. Getting married. Having children. Finding a job. Leaving a job. Buying a house. Selling a house. Starting a business. Starting a blog. Going to my first hot yoga class.

Way to go, Jack, you got me – fear seemed to be something I had to clamber over on my way to all the good stuff.

For a long time after, I thought of fear as an obstacle in my way. Sometimes it seemed like a small impediment on the path, something to kick aside and keep on truckin’.  Other times it seemed like a gigantic boulder that could crush me with its weight.

Just a glimpse of it would be enough to give me pause, and shivering in its shadow I’d be forced to reconsider the entire enterprise. Sometimes I committed, cheering myself on as I scrambled my way around it. Often, I’d retreat home to safety, my lizard brain thankful to live another day.    

Lately, as I’ve been working to build my coaching practice, I’ve been running up against fear A LOT. I won’t bore you with the laundry list of fears that my lizard has cooked up, except to say that it’s extensive. And quite frankly, when I see each of these fears as an obstacle, one requiring significant effort on my part, it can feel pretty exhausting.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I hear people say they need to “kick fear to the curb” or “get over my fear”, and yet they stay stuck. The words sound so simple, but the execution is anything but.

Recently this same quote crossed my radar again. This time, reading it gave me pause.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

What if, instead of fear being an obstacle to shove aside or get over, what if instead, it’s a doorway?

See, for me, thinking about fear as a doorway to move through, not an obstacle to remove or circumvent, makes the whole thing feel more like an adventure, less like a chore.

In either case, it’s a choice.

I can choose to view fear as an obstacle, and then spend inordinate amounts of time trying to “beat fear”, by attempting to avoid it or destroy it (neither of which will work, I may add.)

Or, I can choose to view fear as a doorway. In doing so, I acknowledge and accept it as the hallmark to something new and exciting, knowing all I need to do is simply step through it.

I do so knowing that, as I cross the threshold, I am heading towards something I really want. This feels a lot less like effort, a lot more like play.

And frankly, effortless play is what I’m all about these days.  

Invitation: Is there something you’ve been putting off until you “get over” your fear?  Try looking at fear as a doorway to pass through. What’s one step forward you could take today, moving you closer to what you really want?