08/01/2013 01:44 pm ET | Updated Oct 01, 2013

Why Are You Hiding From What You Really Want?


I had one of those connect-the-dots, flash of brilliance moments. I was snuggled up in bed with Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star when it hit me.

My fear wants to drown out my intuition.

There I am, eyes closed, spinning up my wildest dreams, when my heart starts racing. My intuitive conjurings are big and wonderful and exciting. But scary. Just the thought of them leaves me a little short of breath. Butterflies start flapping in my stomach and I get a bit weak in the knees. You see, these dreams involve making myself totally and completely vulnerable.

My internal musings have me waltzing through all sorts of soul-satisfying scenarios that my subconscious would never even dare to dream at night.

Why does my intuition always tell me to do such scary stuff? I lie there wondering.

I used to think that my fear was some magical evolutionary gift, a guidance system to protect me from danger. So, why would this get triggered when that other inner GPS -- my intuition -- is at work? Isn't that counter-productive, not to mention counterintuitive?

This ever-present fear that pops up when my inner voice gets center stage is so realistic and practical. And it attempts to outsmart my gut feeling on a regular basis. It is dressed in pure logic, counseling me to avoid the humiliation, judgment, failure and letdowns that could come from listening to my intuition. And what's more, it appears so well-intentioned, as it seeks to protect me from that risky business my inner voice has in mind.

It turns out, of course, that this fear is nothing like that time-tested fight or flight mechanism evolution had in mind for my survival. In fact, it's nothing more than anxiety born of socialization. It's the socially manufactured fear that stifles me, encouraging me to meet simply expectations and dodge judgment. It's the generalized worry that I'll try and fail, or that I'll make a big fool of myself. It's the uneasiness that lingers without any clear call to action, holding me back from the dreams of my wild, wonderful imagination -- the ones my deep intuition whispers in my ear.

This fear isn't in survival mode, it's in self-sabotage mode.

Learning to identify this limiting fear as artificial angst has led me straight to the volume controls on my inner wisdom. Because it is this inner voice that has to be heard. This is the voice that really knows what I want from life -- what matters to me, what makes me tick.

So, how do I honor this deep knowing that doesn't care what people think, the one that is worry-free and certain and brave? How do I begin to embrace risk over reason?

A series of constructive daily habits help me transform my fear into courage, and my intuitive dreams into reality. It's my commitment to some small, everyday practices that makes all the difference. It's facing my fear with baby steps -- one shaky foot at a time.

It begins with my daybreak meditation, full of expansion and possibility. It's my morning run, burning up the anxious energy that forms knots in my stomach. It's the life-affirming daily reminders -- Post-Its and phone alerts -- telling me that my conviction may not be convenient or easy, but it's worth it. It's the phone calls to my family, who support me on my journey. It's an ongoing practice of living each day with authenticity, the kind that gives me the permission to be me and keeps me focused on my inspired choices.

You see, you have to face your fear to unearth your intuition.

Listening to your gut takes guts.

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