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Running at My Fear (pt. 2)

Alana —  May 1, 2012 — 6 Comments

Well, I’m quickly realizing it was no coincidence that I chose 2012 to be The Year of Facing my Fears. This has been a very real struggle for me and I am finally realizing many of the things I have missed out on because of my refusal to face these fears.

In Chapter 6 of the book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat the author John Ortberg shares the six things we lose out on if we do not face our fears. Among these are: Loss of Self-Esteem, Loss of Destiny, Loss of Joy, Loss of Authentic Intimacy, and Loss of Availability to God.

In the past four years I have watched my Self-Esteem TANK. Despite the encouragement I receive from others on how wonderful I am (and I truly am wonderful ;)) it does not seem to penetrate. Ortberg addresses this exact issue. Below are excerpts from chapter 6:

“Why are there so many people lacking self-esteem who have many reasons to have high self-esteem? They accomplish many things – they are gifted, attractive and well-liked – yet struggle with self-esteem. Even people who have accomplished a great deal and are apparently successful are often prone to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. Not only that, the many people who receive much affirmation and admiration from significant others tend to disbelieve it and wrestle with self-esteem all the same.

All research suggests that self-esteem largely boils down to one issue. When you face a difficult situation, do you approach it, take action, and face it head on, or do you avoid it, wimp out, and run and hide?

If you take action, you get a surge of delight, even if things do not turn out perfectly. I did a hard thing, I took on a challenge. You grow. When you avoid facing up to a threatening situation, even if things end up turning out all right, inside you say, But the truth is, I wimped out. I didn’t do the hard thing. I took the easy way out.

Avoidance kills an inner sense of confidence and esteem…
But there is something about embracing a challenge that is very important for inner well-being… When you are in a situation that creates fear, but you face it head-on, you will feel a rush of satisfaction in knowing you displayed courage.

Why don’t you conduct your own experiment of trust this week?
Sometime when you are tempted to avoid, hold your ground and press forward instead: Stand up to a bully who is mistreating others (or you) at work. Wade feet first into a task that you have been putting off because you have feared it would be difficult or unpleasant. Express your true opinion when you are talking to a person you would normally try to placate or impress.

When you do this, you will get a little stronger inside. But when you wimp out by refusing to take the difficult step or saying the hard word – you die a little inside. And if that becomes a pattern, over time you come to see yourself as someone who cannot cope with life’s greatest challenges. Where there ought to be an inner core of strength and resolve, you will experience fear and anxiety instead. You will learn to live in fear and avoidance.”

Ouch! This is absolutely what was happened to me over the past four years. Because I have chosen to run, hide and avoid certain fears, it has slowly eaten away at my confidence. I mentioned last week in Running at My Fear that I have a relationship that I have been avoiding because I’ve been too scared to face it. Well, this week I will be facing this fear. What you can’t see, is that I’m about to crap my pants right now. Ha! BUT, I’m SO TIRED of what I’ve missed out on because of it. I am no longer willing to give my confidence and energy away to this.

I know I keep harping on this “fear” topic, but I know I’m not the only one missing out by… avoiding. You already know what you have been running from. If you don’t, ask yourself right now, “What one thing am I avoiding because of fear?” The answer will come to you; if not today, it will soon. When it does, what will you do?

Frumpy Turtleneck

Whether we like it or not, the way we dress affects our moods and self-confidence. Okay, maybe I should re-phrase that, “Whether I like it or not, the way I dress affects my mood and self-confidence.

I’m taking a class on “Creativity” and recently I’ve been intrigued by a couple of the assignments.

1). Open your closet. Throw out – or hand on, or donate- one low-self-worth outfit. (You know the outfit.) Make space for the new.

When I saw this task, I thought “I know the outfit? Not really… I don’t dislike any of my clothes that bad.

The other day I threw on this turtleneck and vest to wear to work. Throughout the morning I kept looking at myself in the mirror and felt like something was off. I didn’t like the way it looked. I ended up switching it out for a different top before leaving the house. Later that day I realized this is just one of those outfits that makes me feel crummy. One reason is because it makes me sweat. Ew gross. I KNOW!! And for some reason I keep it. Why?

2). Wear your favorite item of clothing for no special occasion.

Yesterday I determined I would wear my little black dress to work. Mostly because a few of my classmates coaxed me into it during class – although they didn’t really dare me, I took it as a dare to make it more adventurous.

I was nervous about what my coworkers would say to me, “What are you wearing??” then followed by, “Why?”

But I did it anyway. Turns out the day was pretty uneventful – no one said a word. However, I realized two things from this: 1). Taking risks aren’t always as scary as they seem. If I can do this, then what other fear can I conquer? 2). I look pretty darn good in a little black dress.

Little Black Dress

Do Something!

Alana —  November 15, 2011 — 14 Comments

Ivan and I first met through the online community, and then we both attended Kent Julian’s Speak It Forward Boot Camp in October. I was immediately drawn to Ivan’s energy and excitement for life. Although we have known each other for just a couple months, I would consider him in my close circle of friends.

So there you have it. If you want to live the best life you need to do two things. 1) Recognize where in your life you want change. 2) Break your personal inertia and DO SOMETHING!


Ivan Bickett created A Better Way of Business in order to come along side struggling small business owners to help them get from where they are to where they want to be. Connect with him on Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook.

Reasons for My Existence

Alana —  November 14, 2011 — 20 Comments

What is most important to me? What threads are beginning to reveal themselves through my musings?

I’m taking this cue from Ivan Bickett, who will be my first guest tomorrow on Musings of a Shiny Penny. The other day we discussed themes that he finds to be his own passions. After contemplating my own passions, I discovered the below 4 Threads:

Community. Family. Friends. I’ve always been one to appreciate relationships, (I’m a high “I” for those who are familiar with the DiSC personality test) but only recently have I realized their vitality. Despite how we feel or what we think, we need other people in our lives to support us and challenge us.

Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, recently said, “You speak because you have a message you can’t contain.” SHAZAM! I totally resonated with this! I can’t stop thinking, believing and hoping that we were all called to live amazingly fulfilled lives. Some of us are fortunate enough to have found our passions and begin living them in our daily lives. Others of us know there has got to be something more, something bigger to this life, but we don’t know how to get from point A to point B. We are miserable and cannot bear to get up in the morning, but do not know how to utilize the tools we have to escape Groundhog’s Day. The last group of us are poor, miserable souls but have zero desire to do anything to change. It’s our lot in life. Our cross to bear. (<– those are lies by the way).

My goal and desire is to help others realize their passions, talents and what makes them tick so they can lead successful and fulfilled lives!

It ain’t over ’til its over. This is a phrase that Ed Dobson shares in his story at It Ain’t Over, the first film in the Ed’s Story series, reminds us that life isn’t over yet and that we don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the struggles we’re facing today. [1] It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by life. I can admit I get overwhelmed on a daily basis, but know this – there is hope for you. Your life is not over. I don’t care if you are 13, 53 or 93. You are still living and you do not have to live this way anymore.

This theme has been strongly embedded in my brain by Ivan Bickett. He shares his story of sitting around, wanting a different life but doing nothing to change it. You can view more of Ivan’s story here. He is finally doing something to change.

I am learning that we can dream and dream and dream … and things overtime may change. We may get a different job, meet that special someone, start a family. Whatever. Imagine the life you could live if you were intentional. I am working on a program to help others live intentional lives. It takes work, but OHMYGOODNESS the rewards are ::melodic sing-song voice:: AMAAAZING!

K. These 4 themes are shaping my message. I can’t wait for you to hear what some of my guests have to say!

Come back tomorrow for my first guest post from Ivan Bickett @


Who Are Your Monkeys?

Alana —  October 25, 2011 — 5 Comments

Part 3 of series: How to Get What You Want

#3: Surround yourself with people that you find successful.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Monkey See, Monkey Do”? This is framed around the concept that if we spend enough time around a person, we will eventually begin to speak, think and act the same way.

I used to spend quite a bit of time around a friend who always had big plans for the things he wanted to do, but rarely could he make the jump from idea to action. He lost himself in project details and froze with his perceived enormity of the task. Overtime I found myself beginning to behave the same way! “I want to get organized and take care of this stack of paperwork; but to do that I’ll have to go down to the basement to find file folders. Once I am down there I might as well get that room organized first…” I had developed the habit of thinking instead of doing.

Eventually I realized how similar my behavior was to that of my friend’s. I had become him, just in Alana’s body! I began to distance myself and connect with others who were doing the things I wanted to do. Almost immediately my behavior changed, and again I was “owning life” instead of life owning me.

To be successful, it is important to be acutely aware of the people we surround ourselves with. Remember the ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ adage. Who are your monkeys?