Overcoming Fear

You Get What You Ask For

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“Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your pegs.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.  And your descendants will possess nations, and they will resettle the desolate cities.”  Isaiah 54:2-3

I was told that 2014 is the year of expansion so I prayed, “Lord, enlarge my territory”.

The vision for my life was more than what I was experiencing.  I was depressed and disheartened. Each time I tried to make progress something or someone came along to distract or discourage me. Eventually, with back-to-back delays, I realized that if I did not do something soon discouragement would derail everything that I had worked so hard to accomplish.

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My dreams, goals, and plans were still there.  I was more than willing to step into new territory.

My expectations were high.  My heart wide open.  Yet, here I was at a dead-end.  Not sure what to do, where to turn, or how to move.

How had I come to this point?  When did I step off the road that was moving me towards success?  The peace I had once experienced was now replaced with chaos and turmoil.  I searched my memory and racked my brains to see what had caused me to make this detour. Even more importantly, how was I going to get though it?

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What or who had caused me to take one detour after another?  I wanted to move forward, but was not sure which direction to go or even how to start.  Each time I attempted to move the question arose, “What price are you willing to pay in order to move forward?”

One thing about expansion is that it requires you to move from a place of comfort and familiarity.  You have to leave behind what you know in order to step into what will at first be new and strange. Questions will fill your mind.  Doubt will rise up. Uncertainty will show itself.

Growth and expansion is often messy and chaotic.  Things do not always go according to your plan.  Deadlines are rarely met and delays often set us back.  But despite how it looks you must still continue with your plan.

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When you ask for something that involves change, you will get what you ask for.  What you have to remember is that despite great plans and good intentions obstacles will come your way. All you have to do is learn to pick yourself up after each setback.  Don’t give up because it hurts. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize.  Stay focused on your ultimate goal and take whatever steps you need to in order to get there.

I asked  for my territory to be enlarged.  The price that I was willing to pay — Proceed with Caution.  I got what I asked for.  How about you?

What have you asked for in this year of expansion? What cost are you willing to pay to achieve success?  If you have already begun the journey, what has been some of the challenges or setbacks you have faced?  How have you overcome those obstacles?  Please let us know.  It might help us to get moving towards our dreams a little bit quicker.

Stressed to the Max — No Way

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Well it’s that time of year again.  The end of the old year and the start of a new one.  Resolutions, goals, changes, risks, moves, plans, and the list goes on.  In other words, this is the time of the year that we look back at what we have done, how far we have come, and use what we see to look ahead and move forward. Yes, this is a good time.  There is a lot of excitement, much celebration and a great deal of chatter. 2013 has gone and 2014 is here.

How are your bucket lists going?  Thanks to Dana Sitar you should all be on your way to creating some great ones, especially those of you who are busy blogging, writing a book, or tweeting your hearts out.  Many of you have come real far in your journey of kicking unrealistic fear from your lives and I am really excited about that.  By writing down your goals, dreams, aspirations, or bucket lists, you have something to focus on when unrealistic fear tries to stop you from doing all those things you know that you can do.

I extremely excited for my friend the Fly Away American.  If you haven’t stopped by her blog please do.  Now that’s a lady who has kicked fear, moved to more than one new country, and is having fun sharing her journey with us.  Go Jessica!  I can’t wait to hear about your journeys in 2014.

Mustard Seed Budget continues to keep me grounded as does my friend over at the Better Man Projects.  Courage begins from within and whether it is starting a new ministry, business, or project, doing it with little or nothing is not always easy.  The key is to continue on and believe in yourself.  With patience, determination, and some staying power you will succeed.

As for those stumbling blocks that come to distract us from our journey, they have to be dealt with.  The past few months have been rough for me.  I was stressed to the max, overloaded, and bursting at the seams.  I am the first to admit I was tempted to throw in the towel, but that thought did not stick around for long.  I stopped, rested, and reassessed.  The stumbling block is now a small hurdle that I will get over.

So, I am in for the penny and in for the pound.  A new year is ahead and I am ready to take whatever 2014 brings.  What about you?  Are you ready for 2014?  I hope you will stick around as together, we KICK FEAR TO THE CURB, NOW!

Kick Fear Book

Fear in Sheep’s Clothing

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When you are on a mission to eliminate fear from controlling your life, you will soon realize that unrealistic fear has no problem putting on sheep’s clothing if doing so will help it accomplish its goal.

Many times it will use the person closest to you to paralyze you. It could be your spouse, knocking down your idea about going back to college to earn a degree. It could be a sibling, reminding you of all the things you tried and failed at when you were young. It could even be your so-called best friend, who tells you how much they love you until you decide to do something different and extraordinary. Unfortunately, it’s often those people who think they know you, and what’s best for you, that push the fear button the hardest.

Jonathan Johnson, author of A Fighting Chance, is our guest blogger today and he has some words of encouragement for us on this issue. 

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God doesn’t make trash…..He hears your cry!!!!

This blog post is for those people who lost hope…..

This blog post is for those people that were told they wouldn’t amount to anything….

This blog post is for the CHAMPION in all of us….

Living life isn’t always the easiest task. Sometimes life can beat us down to the point that we don’t want to get back up. A lot of times we pray, and we feel that God doesn’t answer our prayers in a timely manner. The one thing that we have to understand is that our time isn’t God’s time, He moves when he’s good and ready. In this life, we ALL have some type of dream or goal that we want to achieve. Through the process of reaching our dreams, we encounter people who will do anything to stop us from getting to that point. And a lot of times, the people that we embark on are those closest to us…crazy huh? But it happens. A lot of times it’s those that are closest to us that don’t have a clue of what God is trying to do in our lives.

The good news is the storms that we endure are simply a test. Sure a lot of times we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is indeed there, we just have to keep pushing towards it. You must understand that God is GREATER than any PREDICAMENT that we are faced with. There are times when people tell us that our dreams are stupid, childish, or even phony. That’s fine, let those other people talk…after all, God has the final say so, and the beauty of it is that God gives us control of our own destinies…it’s just on us to walk into what’s ours. So, instead of complaining…start claiming.

At the end of the day, we are all champions; we just have different roads to our titles. Never forget that God is a bridge builder, so when you’re walking in your darkest hour, trust that God won’t leave you hanging. Granted we might sin daily, which is why Jesus went to the cross for us. So, when others come against you and your dreams don’t fret…just keep pushing. Those people are just misguided…

“When the world brings you down to your knees…you’re in the PREFECT position to pray”

What is this thing called courage?

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Courage is being stupid enough not to realize the danger
Involved to yourself
Smart enough to know you don’t have a choice,
But to take immediate action,
It’s a reflex action in the face of danger.
It’s something you have to do
And there is not enough time to wait
For another to make that decision

Jackie Logan, Pen-sanity

What does it take to be courageous? 

How do we move from wanting to run and hide to standing our ground and taking action?

Many times it all boils down to making a choice.

Let me share what I mean.

A few years ago I worked for a wonderful lady, Jean Taylor Jackson.  She was a trust and estates lawyer who, at that time, was one of the few female practitioners in this field.

One morning I arrived at work only to find her in a pool of blood.  Sometime during the previous evening or night, she had suffered an aneurysm.  She was lying in the kitchen, next to the stove.  A small pot had boiled dry on top of the stove, and the tiles of the floor gleamed brightly against her blood.  The raw smell of blood, mixed with the heat, was strong and repulsive.  What made things worse, I cannot stand the sight of blood, any blood.

I knew that within seconds I was going to get into a cold sweat, start heaving, and possibly vomit.  Although this wasn’t something I wanted to be confronted with first thing in the morning, I also knew that I had to deal with the situation.  I had to get medical help.  I also had to somehow reassure her that I was not going to leave her alone.

I closed my eyes and started to take long, deep breaths.  I also told myself to stay calm, to just deal with the immediate situation.  It was very difficult trying to ignore the sight and smell of the blood.  It quickly rose up to my nostrils.  The warm room only compounded the situation.

Things got worse when the paramedics had trouble lifting her onto the gurney.  To move her, the three of us had to lift the dead weight of the body.  It was hard.  She was heavy and the blood was now getting on my clothing and my hands.  Despite how I felt at that moment, I had to remain composed and focus on the problem at hand.

It took courage to get the situation under control so that it no longer provoked an emotional reaction within me.  It took even more courage when, a few days later, I was faced with the decision of whether to take this once beautiful, vibrant woman off life support.

You can choose to fear or choose not to fear.  You can exercise restraint or react without thought.  You can choose to focus on your limitations or choose to look at your strong points and work on improving them.  You can dwell on the bad or excel with the good.  It’s really up to you. 

Now it’s your turn to share.

What is the most courageous think you have ever done? How did you feel when you first started out? Was their anxiousness, fearfulness, trepidation or were you filled with anticipation and eager to do this thing you had never done before?

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This post is dedicated to Jackie Logan and Jean Taylor Jackson, two beautiful woman who departed this earth way too soon.

When Setbacks Come, What Will You Do?

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“Our circumstances can either take us under, or we can fight and rise above everything and everybody that attempts to hold us down.”
                                                      Jonathan C. Johnson, A Fighting Chance

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some wonderful authors at the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas.  As a first time author I knew I was stepping into a new environment and was a little bit apprehensive.  Needless to say that fear was soon kicked out the way so that excitement and enjoyment could take its place.

I was amazed at the different stories that each person told as to why they decided to write and get their story published.  I was truly inspired by the courage they used to put it all down in order that others who are facing, or have faced similar experiences, can find strength and determination to go through the challenge and live their life to the fullest.

One such author was Jonathan C. Johnson, a humble, quiet, young man who has overcome so many obstacles from birth all the way through his teen years.

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Born to a 15 year old mother, he was conceived through rape. Due to a head injury, he was quickly taken from her at six months old by Children’s Protective Services.  Placed in a foster home, he was not the perfect adoption candidate.  He was considered to be “slow” with a head and feet that were larger than normal for a baby of his age.  Thankfully, he had a foster mother and foster siblings that loved him.

It was this love that made his foster mother tell her friend, who was looking to adopt a child, about the little boy.  It was love that made the friend want to take him as her own.  Despite the adoption agency telling her the child was not a “good fit”, she did not stop until she adopted her little boy.

Time would fly as the little boy grew in his new home, but soon illness would come and disrupt everything.  First, a heart murmur, then breathing problems and finally chronic kidney failure.  All before he had reached the age of fifteen.  Here’s what he said.

“While my classmates were out having fun, I was at home thinking of ways to improve my situation.  When you’re faced with a life-changing situation, it’s on you to sink or swim.  I decided to swim as hard and as fast as I could.”  Jonathan C. Johnson.

I’m going to stop here because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the rest of the story.

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Jonathan’s story is told in his book, “A Fighting Chance.”  It is a story of strength and courage that everyone should read. He also continues to encourage and inspire through his tweets at Kidney Kronicles.

I was so inspired by his book that I invited him to do a guest blog.  He graciously said that he would.  I know you will enjoy his post next week.

In the coming days I will tell you of other writers I met who chose to use their life story to inspire others. Instead of letting their setbacks and struggles leave them fearful, they chose to share and give hope to others. I believe that each one of them faced their fears and kicked it in their own way.  I hope their stories will help you too.

Sleepless Nights – There is always a solution

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“I have spent my whole life scared. Frightened of things that could happen, might happen, might not happen. Fifty years I spent like that. Finding myself awake at 3 in the morning. But you know what? Ever since my diagnosis, I sleep just fine. And I came to realize it’s that fear that’s the worst of it. That’s the real enemy. So get up. Get out in the real world. And you kick that bastard as hard as you can right in the teeth.” – Walter White, Breaking Bad

Photograph: Wikimedia.org

Houston – Get Ready to Kick Fear Now

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In a couple of days I am headed to Houston, Texas for the book lunch of Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You.  The PWN Publishers team did an exceptional job.  They made my typewritten pages look like a real book.  Jessica Lin, photographer, stood with me in the sweltering summer heat and took shot after shot to come up with the wonderful cover image.  She is also responsible for the two awesome pictures of me on the back cover and inside page.  My hats off to this wonderful professional.

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I just got word that the books are hot of the press and already out the door.  All I can say is Houston, prepare to launch. October 24 through 26 I will be at the National Black Book Festival, host venue, the Fallbrook Church located at 12512 Walters Road, Houston, Texas. Over 100 hundred authors will be showcasing their work with many, like myself, launching their first book. What an exciting time.  Only 3 days to go.

Houston, begin countdown.  Get ready to Kick Fear Now.

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