I remember this one day when I first started my business—I was literally days into being a solo entrepreneur. And a friend told me that my website was so terrible that no one would ever take me seriously. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. Hell, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with this business. And I was the CEO.
So I went to the grocery store, but I was shaking so hard that I couldn’t even buy anything. There I was—shaking uncontrollably in the grocery store.
I was in so much fear. Fear that I’d completely fail this. That I’d have to beg my way back to PR for less money than I used to make. That I’d never be able to build something on my own.
I used to wake up every morning already in anxiety. I’d have to drink anxiety herbs first thing in the morning just to calm myself down to work. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Even when I was actually doing it.
I felt like I was letting everyone down. Letting Garrett down by not making enough money. Letting clients down by not providing the right programs or services. Letting readers down by offering too many programs or too few. Letting my team down if I ever couldn’t afford to pay them. Just letting the world down by not building up big enough or fast enough.
At the time, I had rented out an office. I think I paid $600 per month for three days a week—which, when you’re not making much, isn’t so cheap. It was a room in a holistic wellness building.
I worked Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the office. Not that I wanted to work on Saturdays, but I had a belief that no one could see me during the weekday. So, for six months, I gave up my Saturdays to work. Or else I just gave up the money and didn’t show up.
And I was in constant fear that I made the wrong decisions. That I wasted money and didn’t know how to run a business. That this would never work. And I’d never know what to do with my life.
The plus side to having a quiet office was that it gave me time to write. So I wrote a lot. I surely didn’t want to see strangers at my home. This was long before I figured out that people could do their work virtually these days.
So, there I was, waking up everyday with anxiety, bleeding out tons of money, having almost no handle on my income or expenses (and no bookkeeping software), doing work that I didn’t love with my very few clients, and telling myself that I was a total failure.
I think about just how much of my life was ruled by fear. How many of my decisions to run specials or even market at all were not ruled by genuine excitement but more by fear. About how terrified I was at all times.
And about how much fear ruled my life for years even before starting my own business. Fear was a constant for me. Always nervously triple checking everything at work. Managing big national media campaigns and needing everything to be perfect. It wasn’t a great job for a perfectionist. It highlighted every one of my patterns.
I don’t know when it all shifted. I guess it started to happen when I even knew who I was. Not that I necessarily had to do anything. But just knowing who I was. And then working through layers and layers of shame about being that person.
I had shame about my home. It was too beautiful, too elegant, too luxurious. It wasn’t practical. And people would have thoughts about me. Maybe they’d think I was pretentious or showy or something.
And I had shame about my relationship. And shame about the fact that Garrett made good money and I had savings, so I didn’t have the financial stress others had. And shame about not having kids. I told myself repeatedly that my business success—even as I grew—didn’t count. Because I didn’t have the barriers others people did.
I had shame about my spirituality. Oh gosh—that was probably the biggest shame. To talk about channeling energies and activations and intuition.
I had shame about declaring what I wanted in the world. Shame about asking people for money. Shame about receiving that money. Shame about my “money blocks.”
There was no shortage of shame to be had. As I started to know who I was—through a process we now call Sacred Branding™–I had to face all of my shame. I had to de-condition myself from all of the stories about why I was broken and fucked up and wrong. About all of the beliefs that always made me feel bad about myself and guilty.
And, somewhere in the last four and a half years, things started to change for me. Rapidly. The fear began to dissipate. The shame was transmuted. And I was left just feeling like I’m doing the very best thing I know how to do with my life. Because I’m always being me.
It’s not that I don’t still have fear—believe me, that monster still rears its ugly head. But I’m not ashamed of that fear. I don’t try to fight it. I lean into it. I listen to it. I let myself thrash and freak the fuck out.
Because I know it’s helping me see where I’m resisting being my whole self. And how I can step deeper into who I am.
Without fear, there is no courage. And courage is the main ingredient to a happy, successful life.
What are you afraid of? And how can you use it to know yourself deeper?