The dream challenger with the stop sign

Stop sign from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Steve Johnson, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

If you joined in last week and spent time identifying what you want more of in the coming year by starting from a place of celebration, you probably discovered that just identifying those things wasn’t enough to make them actually increase.

There is, of course, the obvious step of committing to doing what it takes to make those things you identified happen and actually planning ways to make them a reality, but I bet you know that part of the process.

For most of us, the bigger problem is that we don’t know how to counter the number one challenger we will encounter on the path to creating more of what we want in our lives. That enemy shows up in all kinds of subtle disguises to dissuade us from doing the very things we want to do.

That challenger always shows up with a whole truckload of stop signs, signs that tell us to slow down, to turn around, to give up this new craziness and go back to the same old, same old.

Its favorite mask to wear is one called “just being practical.” You know how this one goes, I’m sure.

“Yes, it would be wonderful to have more of that good things in your life, but it’s obvious that it’s not really practical right now. It takes more time (or money or talent or whatever else it is that you don’t have enough of) than you can afford to spend on that right now. You are already too busy to add more of that to your schedule (or money is too tight or whatever), but it’s just not practical to try to add that thing to your life right now.”

You’ve heard that voice, haven’t you? It sounds so reasonable, so practical, so full of common sense. And this convinces us that we should probably just go back to the way things have always been without these crazy dreams of what life could be.


Wrong. Do you know you that challenger really is under the mask? It’s fear.

Fear that aiming for our dreams will lead to disappoint or failure or embarrassment or rocking the boat or rejection or a whole host of other things that feel too horrible to even risk facing.

We’ll talk more about how to deal with this challenger next week, but before we can appropriately respond to fear’s challenges, we have to first recognize the ways that fear shows up for us.

And that’s not as easy as it seems. Fear seldom shows its true face in things like this. It is a master of disguise, so spend some time this week noticing the subtle, hidden ways fear shows up in relation to that which you decided you want more of.

What voice does fear use when it whispers in your ear? Does it sounds like a parent? A teacher? A significant other? A “practical” mentor?

What stories of disaster does it use to make you slow down? What negative outcomes does is warn you about when you think of what you want?

How does it try to convince you that it’s “just looking out for you” with its discouraging suggestions?

What stories from your past does it resurrect to remind you of things that didn’t go as you’d hoped before?

How do you feel in your body as you listen to this challenger in whatever ways it appears?

This week, just take time to notice the messages that show up to try to discourage you from wanting more good in your life. Just notice for now. Unmask it with awareness, but there’s no need to do anything more for now.

And if you’re ever unsure whether a given whisper in your ear is one of fear’s many disguises, just look at the message it’s carrying. If it’s holding a stop sign (or even a slow down or a detour sign), it’s fear.

Once we are aware of the particular disguises fear uses for us and can identify fear consistently when it appears, then we will be prepared to deal more effectively with those challenges when they arise.

Check back next week for ideas on dealing with the messages that fear may be whispering in your ear.

Kenetha J Stanton, CPCKenetha J. Stanton, CPC, is an artist, writer, soul coach, and Reiki practitioner who aspires to be a healing presence in the world around her. Subscribe to receive her weekly blog posts by email using the form in the footer of this page or read her bio to learn more about her and her work.

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