Tag: fear

Influencer: Taking That Leap

I’ve never imagined one day becoming a leader of a huge organization. I’ve never had the desire to be the chief. I don’t need to be the one calling the shots. I’m okay taking orders from someone else (as long as they’re respectful and fair). I’ve always been content with just doing the best job that I knew I could do. I had no problem heading up small groups, but there was no need for me to be the HNIC. 

One of the best scenes from the movie, Lean on Me. 


But lately, like in the last couple of years, I’ve been feeling a shift in my feelings, a slow change of heart. Now don’t get me wrong. I am still not interested in becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, not even the principal of my school. However, I have been feeling a strong urge or push or calling to get out there and do more.  

How I Settled Upon Becoming an Influencer

The word that keeps popping up over and over again is the word Influencer. No, not a social media influencer, someone who is paid to influence (convince) you to purchase a product from some corporate sponsor. I’m talking about being a person whose life sets an example for other people, who lives a life of integrity, and is focused on positively touching the lives of everyone whom she meets. 

This word influencer has been following me. I read three different devotionals each morning. At some point over the past couple of weeks, each one of those devotionals has talked about being an influencer for Jesus whether it was in the way I was to lead in my home or how I am supposed to treat my coworkers, students, or strangers on the street, or even about what I decide to post on social media.  

To make it even crazier, a new journey that I am about to embark on in the next few weeks deals with choosing to be someone who inspires versus being someone who inspires and influences (and believe me there is a difference). Is all of this just a coincidence? I think not.  

As one of my dear friends always says, “You can’t make this stuff up.” 

My Heart is Open 

The main point that has been drilled in me is that, “People are watching”.  This realization has finally gotten to me, and I am embracing the understanding that I have to step it up when it comes to letting my light shine for the world to see.  There is no “on the fence” or hoping someone else will do it. It’s my light to shine, my gift to share with the world. I don’t have a choice. There is no other option.

I’ve been playing it safe. Flying under the radar. Doing my part but keeping it small, feeling as if the message I have to share isn’t that important, that special, that different. 

But it is. It definitely is.  

I mean, it has changed my life. So who am I to say that others don’t deserve the same? I know there are so many others already doing what I’m setting out to do, but why do I think that I don’t have a place? No one can do it just like me! Actually, the Bible commands that I extend this opportunity to others, tell others the Good News, and inspire, no, influence people, especially women, to live their best lives.  

The Business Boutique Effect 

Part of this journey began when I went to the Business Boutique women’s conference in Tennessee a few weeks ago. It was life changing. I was surrounded by women (including my bestie who invited me) who were chasing their dreams.

All around me were business owners at various stages whether they were just starting out or had been in business a few years. The energy in the air was more than inspiring; it was influencing. I knew I could not go back home the same way that I had left.  

Christy Wright who was over the entire program said something that really stood out to me (actually she said a lot that stood out to me), but one of the quotes that knocked the wind out of me was when she said, “Fear wants to box you into a small life”. While others may not think that was a big deal, but at that point, on the last day of the event, it was what I needed to hear.

I was already extremely motivated to go home and live out my purpose, but I knew that fear had been holding me back from doing that to the degree that I needed to do. (Yes, I’ve written about overcoming fears before, but this time it truly was different.) 

Sarah Jakes Roberts had also spoken about the concept of us dying empty. She said that God put things in us to pour out into the world and to leave there. We were to pour out all of that goodness stored within us in order to bless others. When I looked at my life, I couldn’t say that I was truly doing that.

No More Playing It Small

Playing it small has kept me back from so many big opportunities, so many chances to make a difference in someone else’s life, so many chances to collaborate with other people on great projects. I have let ideas shrivel up and die, blow away in the wind to be forgotten all because I didn’t think I really had what it took.  

But not any more. How dare I not share with the world all that God has put inside of me? I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am here to help others have a better life. I’ve always had a heart for people. I hurt when other people hurt. I cry when other people cry.

It might sound corny but my dream, the thing I would like to see happen most is for everyone to just be happy. I want everyone to enjoy their lives, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. I’ve always felt that it was unfair and selfish for me to have such a great life (Lord knows that I am truly blessed) while others are hurting.  

And to think that it may just take a word from me, a kind gesture, a sharing of the Good News, a shoulder to lean on, a special life-affirming gift, or even a blog post like this.  

Next Steps 

I’ve said all of that to say this. I can and I will use my gifts and talents to bless others.  I will no longer play it safe. In just the few weeks since the conference I have taken some pretty big steps out of my comfort zone and I plan to do even more of that in the near future. Why should I try to fit in when I was born to stand out? (Thank you, Dr. Seuss). 

God, I hear you! It’s time for me to stop playing small and take a leap of faith. Thank you, God, for the great examples in my life of other women who are willing to stand up for what is right and go all the way out there for you! I’m ready to see where You will take me! 

What about you? How will you spend your life? Are you playing it small? Is it time for you to take that leap of faith? Comment below! 

Your Dream Life is on the Other Side of Fear

(This post is from  guest blogger, Ashley Nihart, a health and life coach. Check out her bio at the end of this post and then stop by her website www.happyhealthyandwell.com for more great tips on living your best life!)

It’s amazing how much fear can hold us back.  Fear of the unknown. Fear of what others may think.  Fear of failure. Fear of success even. No matter what type of fear is holding you back from achieving your goals, and living your best life, there is a way to move beyond it.

For so long I did what was safe.  I went to school, graduated, and got a good job.  The whole time I knew, I was not on the path I was meant to live.  But fear got in the way. For me, fear was heavily associated with low self esteem and worrying about what others would think.  Going out of my comfort zone meant behaving in ways I wasn’t known for. I was the nice, quiet girl. Never outspoken or daring.  But going for my dreams meant I had to break this mold so many people knew of me. And it was scary.

What if people didn’t like me?  What if I looked foolish? What if everyone would make fun of me?  What if I tried and didn’t succeed?

For the longest time, I allowed these fears to hold me back.  To keep me from living my best life. I followed the path everyone expected me to follow but never felt fulfilled.  Deep down, I knew I was meant for more. I just wasn’t brave enough to go for it.

In an attempt to find meaning and purpose in my life, I read tons of self improvement books.  Listened to dozens of podcasts about going for your dreams and loving your life. I found mentorship and guidance through the authors and speakers on these platforms. It was a slow process but eventually, I started to believe in myself. And with this belief I developed bravery. (more…)

Breaking Free

Anyone who really knows me knows how much I LOVE butterflies. I fell in love with butterflies a few years ago when I had a major change in my life (a much needed change), and, as a result of that change, something within me begin to awaken. I begin to see myself in a new light. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I could feel myself growing, and I came to the happy realization that I would never be the same. It was then that the concept of my becoming a butterfly begin to take shape as well. You see, for the longest I had played it safe, first just going through the motions of life never taking any real risks, never getting out of my comfort zone, and then, once I found the safety of it, staying inside of my cocoon even as the outside world and all of its opportunities constantly beckoned to me. All around me, friends were setting out and doing great things with their lives as I stood on the sidelines watching, applauding, even encouraging them to fulfill their dreams. I knew I wanted more for myself, that my purpose here on earth was so much more than what I was doing, but that stupid thing, that silly, dirty four-letter word, held me back: FEAR.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear…”

In the back of my mind, this verse, it has always been there, but I always pushed it back, convincing myself that my fear was bigger than me or any help I could get, that my fear would always win, and I would fail. And a failure is something that I was terrified of being. Eventually, I decided that I didn’t want to live like that any more. Did it happen overnight? No, of course not. But slowly I begin to emerge from my cocoon, changing the way I thought, the way I spoke, even changing up my style, and people started to notice and comment on the changes. They liked this new me, and, as I’m sure you have guessed, so did I. I really, really liked her. Little by little, year after year, I emerged from my cocoon transforming into the woman that I am today. Am I where I want to be? Not even close. But I am so proud of the woman that I am now: a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, photographer, teacher, consultant, entrepreneur, writer, and now blogger. And this is just the beginning! Now that I have my wings, I am going to use them to soar to new heights, to go above and beyond anything that I ever imagined for myself.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…”

I used to limit myself to what I could imagine for my life or thought I was even capable of doing, but once I realized what God could do and would do for me, things changed. I burst free from my cocoon, renewed in strength and confidence, no longer a slave to fear. Why play it safe when life has so much more to offer? Why fear the unknown when I could miss out on so many beautiful things? I can and will achieve even more; of this, I am certain.  Do I still get fearful at times? Of course, but I know that it’s all a trick of the mind, that there’s nothing to fear. This thought has me giddy with excitement about what the future will bring! That’s why I choose to surround myself with positive, motivating people and read encouraging, thought-provoking books (more about these people and books in future blogs) that challenge me to be my best self, to grow, to try new things, to believe in myself.  Thank you, God, for allowing me to break free. I know the best is yet to come!