How Fear Can Be an Opportunity for Amazing Life Changes
Monday November 23, 2020

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It seems too obvious to be reminded, but in order to move forward, to change, we must let go of what we were to become what will enable the change we desire to materialize.

I have shared the analogy in the past of swinging on monkey bars as a kid – in order to grab the next bar, we must let go of the bar we are holding on to with our rear hand to propel forward. Sounds simple enough, but . . .

We are hanging on to the rear bar because we need to keep ourselves stable on the bars. Letting go and swinging forward requires clarity of direction, the ability to know how to move one’s body to swing forward, and when we do have these skills, the trust in ourselves to focus forward – grateful for where we were and confident in where we are going. In other words, understandably, fear will rise up before we let go.

However, that very fear is a wonderful sign that your desire for the change you seek is exactly what you should seek. You are heading in the right direction. Many different writers and philosophers, contemporaries and from centuries ago, have shared this same sentiment – the deeply desired change we seek often requires us to do what we are afraid to do. In other words, our fears are the compass. (not our doubts as there is a difference between fears and doubts which is discussed in my second book and here.)

“Someone once told me not to be afraid of being afraid, because, she said, ‘Anxiety is a glimpse of your own daring.’ Isn’t that great? It means part of your agitation is just excitement about what you’re getting ready to accomplish. you’re getting ready to accomplish the very thing you should try to do.”

—Maria Shriver, And One more thing before you go (2008)

I shared the above quote ten years ago on the blog, and I have carried it with me over the past decade. Some years I remember its wisdom most vividly and immediately, other years, I had to take a breath, collect my thoughts and fears and remind myself of the truth I found in Shriver’s words.

When I began TSLL blog in 2009, the recession had begun and uncertainty swirled throughout the country and the world, and even shook my own life just enough to wake me up to stride out to try something new.

In 2020, each one of us finds ourselves being shook, whether just enough to remind us to be appreciative of all our lives entail or shaken so hard, parts of our lives are broken. Some historians have shared death toll comparisons to past wars, and while during each day of our lives throughout our lives, we are living through time which will one day be history, in 2020, history will reflect on a year of calamitous change, division, pain, awareness and hopefully growth in a positive direction as a result of the not only the pandemic, but social upheavals.

The growth within ourselves is what we each have absolute control to change, initiate and foster. So how do you want to grow? What have you learned, realized, decided will be the growth you wish to see in your life when we are on the other side of the pandemic?

Priorities crystalize during times of hardship but then we must have the courage to maintain and persist in our journey to understand why said priorities are important to us. Often it is not that you miss the specific dish at your favorite restaurant that is now closed, it is rather the ambiance, the service, the connection with others, the respect for quality ingredients, the freedom and financial ability to go out to dinner when you wish. In other words, the initial perceived priority will lead you down the path to understand what you truly value.

When I began writing twice a day for my blog in 2009 and continued writing in such frequencey for two years it was in an unconscious effort to figure out my direction in my life, to find the courage to live the life I only previously had dreamed about (even though I wasn’t entirely clear about that either). After the first two years, the journey continued, the writing continued and throughout my education of the world, myself, and so much more, I found the courage to change my life – most significantly to the outsider, I packed up and moved, sold my house and relocated in Bend, Oregon. The move was life-changing, but so was my shift of mind and perspective on what was possible and clarity about what was most important for my life. Rest assured, I still had and still do have much growing to do, but that is what drives and excites me.

Ten years later, the world has thrown us all into another unwanted situation, but there is value to be found for each of us as well.

Again, I find myself trying to understand and translate fears residing within. With experience, such feelings were quickly defined as fears rather than doubts, and as I shared above, fears are indeed a very good sign of opportunity’s arrival. A sign to let ourselves become excited, hopeful, to revel in and be grateful for as said fears are sign posts of where we want to go.

Perhaps you are feeling fear as well for a variety of reasons, each unique to every one of us. Today, I encourage you to explore your fears – look them in the face and dive deep. The answers for your most amazing life await on the other side of the unknown, and from there, the striving forward gains even more confidence.


A favorite post from the archives: The Difference between Fear and Doubts | The Simply Luxurious Life

14 thoughts on “How Fear Can Be an Opportunity for Amazing Life Changes

  1. Once you conquer your fears the opportunities can be limitless. Great post. I was wondering if there is any way we can get a notification when someone comments on a status. Similar to facebook notifcations. I know you are wanting the simply luxurious life to be a community. Perhaps, this already exists but I am not very tech savvy.


    1. Thank you for stopping by Stacy. Rather than conquering, it is about understanding our fears, as they are actually quite positive signposts. Understanding the language of life and specifically our lives is an ongoing journey, and the more proficient we are in the language, the more ease we bring to ease day we live. Wishing you well.

      To answer you question, simply being logged in and setting the defaults on your WP account will communicate with you when or if you want responses to your comments. Otherwise, simply enjoy stopping by TSLL. 🙂 You can also sign up for the free daily email which will alert you of new posts as well as the free monthly newsletter.

      Have a lovely Monday.

  2. Thank you so very much for your timely message of encouragement and hope:) Keep up the terrific work, and thank you for sharing your passions, dreams, experiments, and life experiences!

  3. Thank you Shannon.

    I think that this year has crystallised what really matters to us.

    Not just the closeness of friends, neighbours and family , but also the little things we take for granted……….

    the ability to go outside for unlimited amounts of time, to meet up with family, friends and neighbours , to visit the library, the theatre, the art galleries and museums, the gym, our night school classes, the cinema, coffee shops, bars and restaurants ,to do our shopping where and when we like, to visit and stay with friends who live far away from us ,
    to go on holiday , to keep appointments with our dentist, opticians, hairdressers, beauticians , financial advisors , solicitors, car maintenance mechanics and so many more people who help us to keep our lives running smoothly.

    The restrictions and lockdowns we are enduring during the pandemic has shown me how many small, every day, freedoms I had, without ever really being aware of them , or fully appreciating them before they were suddenly taken away .

    I live in the UK , but every single person in the world has been impacted by the Coronavirus .

    Finding joy and appreciation in the little things is something that The Simply Luxurious Life is all about, and it has never been more important than now.

    Thank you for continuing to post on the blog , for the podcasts, and cooking shows , and This and That , and for posting on Instagram, Shannon.
    You lift my spirits, and make me think about all the many blessings in my life .
    I really appreciate YOU ??
    Anne x

    1. Anne, Sending much gratitude your way for your lovely words and thoughtful consideration for so many things we are missing and will certainly as you share, be more grateful to have returned when they do. We are awakened in an unexpected way, but we have the choice to live more in the present now and moving forward. Life can, I am confident, be better than we might have ever imagined on the other side of the pandemic. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words. xoxo

  4. This is a great guide to help us begin the mental transition from our ‘old’ year into our ‘new’,…which is just around the corner ?( Or anytime in-between?)
    “The answers for your most amazing life await on the other side of the unknown, and from there, the striving forward gains even more confidence.” And we know, sometimes, one must let go of both hands on the monkey bars and fiercely fly forward.⭐ Thanks Shannon XOXO

  5. This message and reminder comes to me at the right time. I’ve worked in the same field for over a decade. I’ve gotten comfortable and know my craft. The opportunity to grow more knocked on my door and I said yes. This was two months ago. Every day I get nervous, scared I’m going to screw up… but I remind myself, no one is born knowing, we learn and if we put what we learnt to practice, we become masters at it (isn’t it like 10,000 times?)
    Thank you and I hope you have a WONDERFUL season. 🙂

  6. A perfectly timed post – I’m excitedly awaiting acceptance into a business school in Milan, Italy which means leaving my close friends and easy lifestyle in North Carolina. I have a simpler business school option here that would have minimal change on my life but the program isn’t “my dream”. I’m definitely afraid of the complete uprooting I’d do if I get into my dream school with a perfect program for my goals, but that’s precisely why I need to do it!!

    1. I am SO excited for you Sydney! Good for you!! Taking such risks, listening to yourself will change the quality of your life and journey in ways you may not fully be able to see until well down the line. I am sending good vibes regarding the acceptance letter. xoxo

  7. I am 48 years old. I thought I have left architecture for good when I gave it up to take care of my child with autism. Now that he is 20, I feel it’s time to go back. This pandemic made me think that if everyone’s on a reset, I should to. There is a new technology or program that most architect’s use as a tool to create plans for building a project. If I learn it now, then I gained a skill at par with the newly graduates. My fear is my age. But I do have the wisdom and next year, I’d like to think I will be one of those skilled and starting fresh. My age doesn’t matter now. It’s what I can bring to the plate. May 2021 be my year!

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