Category: Courage

How to Get Comfortable Taking Risks

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about taking risks. She said she wasn’t a big risk taker. She also said it seemed to her like I don’t have a lot of fear. I was a little stunned by her observation. I remember saying, “Well, I feel fear. I feel fear all the time. I guess I just don’t attach to it.”

I thought about our conversation for weeks. I wondered how I learned to feel fear, but not attach to it. I thought back to my childhood and what it was like growing up with four brothers and a neighborhood full of boys. The boys were always on the go doing something “scary”. They would roam the neighborhood at night, play rough games or meet up with other kids I didn’t know. As a little girl, those things were quite scary.

Oftentimes they would offer me to come and I wouldn’t respond right away. I’d have to think about it. But during my thinking time, they’d leave, and I’d spend the next couple hours wishing I was with them. Each time the boys returned from their adventures, I would feel regret for allowing my fear to rule me. I would always wish I wasn’t so afraid and had said yes!

Growing up with boys taught me that I didn’t have the luxury to feel fear for long. My young mind learned that even if I feel fear, I must act, or I will miss an opportunity.

I learned to feel the fear and do it anyway.

So, when they asked me to partake in a “scary” activity, I started answering without hesitation. I would say yes! And the super cool part was, the event was never near as scary as my mind had conjured up. I learned my mind had built things up to be so engulfing and overpowering, I was sure I would get hurt or worse die!

I learned to get what we want out of life, to move forward, to experience big stuff, we are going to feel afraid. And our only two choices are to freeze and stop or to grab the opportunity and go.

I will disclaim if there was something I didn’t want to do (like ride my bicycle into the pool!) I didn’t do it. I’m not saying to take physical or emotional risks that can harm you. Risks that you are not equipped to handle, or your intuition is telling you is not a good idea.

What I am telling you is fear is an illusion. It’s a thought we make up in our heads designed to keep us comfortable and to keep us small.

So, when my girlfriend said I don’t look afraid, I am afraid.

I feel fear all the time, but I have learned to push through it because it’s exciting and inspiring!

It feels like I am living to full capacity!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the market to play small anymore.

Some of you might know that public speaking was my worst fear. So much so that I’d rather take an “F” for a project in school than to speak in front of people. I would even turn beet red when speaking in front of as little as three friends.

In June 2010, I was in my first month of coaching school. I got invited to be a guest speaker on a local morning television show. Without thinking I said yes, then I completely freaked out. No joke. The gig was weeks away and my heart was already pounding in my chest.

The day arrived, and I sat in the “green room” waiting for my segment. I watched as guest after guest shared their knowledge without skipping a beat.

The fearful thoughts rose up again.

Who I am to be here? Why is this happening? Why did I say yes?! I’m going to get this over with and hightail it out of here. No one will even know I was on the show, so they won’t have to feel embarrassed for me.

Then something magical happened. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself.

I loved being on that stage!

I loved it so much I skipped out of studio and raced home to watch the recording. My desire to reach and teach large audiences hit me full force! This is what I want to do! Not only did I do okay, they invited me back three more times and referred me to another local show as well!

And even though I felt the same horrific fear each time, I did it anyway!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about measures I need to take to expand my business. I was thinking about how the change required is going to take some risk. This change felt extra risky to me because I had made this same change years ago and it backfired in a big way.

But somewhere deep inside I knew this was the next best step. I also knew the thought, “this is risky” is a thought, nothing more. It is no sign of how my future will play out. It has no power over me. I also know, when I align myself with my intuition, my center and my truth everything always works out.

I also reminded myself my situation is not the same as it was the first time. The circumstances are completely different.

For example, let’s say you were cheated on in a past relationship. You were devastated and heartbroken. Then a new relationship opportunity comes along and you think, “Oh, heck no! I will never do that again because I don’t want to get cheated on again.”

My questions to you would be:

Do you know that thought is true?

Can you absolutely know it is true?

Because it happened in your history does that mean it’s going to happen in your future?

Are you closing off your life?

Are you shutting down because of a thought?

Would you be willing to take a chance if you didn’t believe that thought?

Friends, I’ve been scared. I’ve been petrified. I’ve been anxious, depressed and frozen. I believed things would never get better – that this is what life dealt me and I am basically screwed. My fearful thoughts begot more fearful thoughts creating a dreadful cycle of doom.

But I found a way out. I transcended the doom by realizing those fearful thoughts were not true. Yes, I was dealt a dreadful situation, but it did not dictate my future. I realized that I have the power (as do you) to respond to any situation from a place of fear or a place of inspiration. The choice is mine and the choice yours.

To achieve the life of our dreams, to reach those places we’re craving to reach, we must be willing to transcend our fear. We must be willing to question our fearful thoughts, reveal the truth and be willing to move through them.

Here are four powerful questions to ask yourself:

Am I allowing fear to guide me?

Am I missing out of a great opportunity because I’m afraid?

Do I want to stay imprisoned by my fearful thoughts?

The reason we are not getting what we want out of life is we believe the fearful thoughts standing in our way. We are sabotaging our own greatness, our own fun, our own passions. It’s up to us to ask ourselves: Do I want this or am I going to let another opportunity pass me by?

No person is any greater or more deserving than anyone else. We all have the same capacity for greatness. We are all divinely wired and inspired to live a full life! The difference between us is some people are willing to transcend fear and act while others are not.

Can you guys feel how much I want you to get this message?!

I know you can achieve anything you want!

I invite you today to think about a place in your life where you are holding back out of fear. Whatever the fear may be. The fear of failure? The fear of disapproval? The fear of being disliked?

Whatever fear you come up with, question it.

Question it!

Is it worth giving up the things you crave because of a thought?

Let’s live a no regrets life, friends. Let’s live knowing we ran a good race. We gave it our all. And we did not let fear stand in our way.

Here’s to feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

Check out my podcast episode On Taking Risks (iTunes Link) Don’t forget to leave an iTunes Review!

Courage is Fear Walking

Courage is fear walking.

Courage… is fear walking.

Courage IS fear walking.

I was raised in a house and neighborhood full of boys. If I hesitated for a moment to do that “scary” thing they were planning I was left behind. They didn’t wait for me or try to talk me into it, they just left.

I learned very early in life my choice was to jump in or regret that I didn’t.  (When I say “scary” I don’t mean anything dangerous)

One of the blessings of my upbringing was learning to feel the fear and doing it anyway.

And the most magical part is I was always so glad I did! Ironically, the “scary” part always turned out to be fractional to what my mind imagined it would be. Secondly, instead of walking away feeling like I shouldn’t have done it, I always felt exhilarated to do more! Acting fro a courageous place boosted my confidence and inspired to get out there and experience more!

This practice showed back up in my life about 7 years ago when I was asked to be a guest on a live morning show here in Phoenix. Even though I had a massive fear of public speaking, I did not want to feel regret for saying no. I said yes, then completely freaked out! But even though I was petrified, I didn’t back out. That morning I went before a studio audience and five cameras the size of Wooley Mammoths aimed directly on me.

And the magic of my childhood happened again. When my 5-minute segment was over I felt like jumping off the stage with my arms and legs stretched out like a jack while screaming: YES!!  That was awesome!! I want to do that again!!! (I was invited back 3 more times)

My drive to teach empowerment on a larger scale began in that very moment. Now I write for huge online magazines, have an awesome coaching practice and was invited to appear on the TD Jakes show on the Oprah Winfrey Network all because I said yes to something that scared the begeezus out of me 7 years ago.

Siblings, It is time to stop procrastinating and do that thing you deeply desire to do. Life is not going to wait for you or try to talk you into it. It is your job to cultivate your courage and get walking! A life of no regrets is the best life ever!

Much Love,


Apology Letter to Myself


Dear Sweet Self:

I owe you my deepest apology. I allowed people to treat you as if you didn’t matter. I did not stop people from emotionally and physically abusing you. I ignored your pleas to be heard. Instead I kept seeking love outside of you and kept you in situations where you should have held your head high and walked out.

I didn’t believe there was better love out there. I believed that whatever situation you were in was as good as it would get. I know better now.

I am deeply sorry for putting you through the hell of trying to make you into someone you are not. I could feel you urging me to stop, but I just could not. I didn’t want people to disapprove of your silliness, intelligence, inner beauty and shyness, so I kept you small and hidden. I wanted you to blend in with the crowd so you wouldn’t be made fun of. I’m sorry I dishonored your heart and true essence.

I’m sorry I disrespected your emotions. I only allowed you to feel anger instead of the rainbow of emotions we humans are intended to feel. Emotions that would allow others to see who you really are and connect with you at a soul level.

I’m sorry I compromised your spirit by making you feel powerless to the world. I could feel there was so much more to you, but I was afraid to let the world see who you really are.

I’m sorry I’ve disrespected your body. You very clearly expressed your dislike of alcohol and I didn’t listen because I didn’t want you to stand out. I also allowed men to use your body who did not deserve the sacredness of it. For this I am eternally sorry. I did not understand how precious you really are.

I’m truly sorry I compromised your value by failing to uphold healthy boundaries. I let others walk all over you. I let them hurt you and treat you as if you were nothing other than dirt. You never ever deserved it. It was only a reflection of how little I regarded your worth.

Sweet self, I promise you, I will always, always do my best to protect and love you. You are my priority now. Thank you for unconditionally loving me and forgiving me before I even asked.

I want you to know that I’m in charge now and everything is going to be okay! I have been reborn. I get it now! From this point forward you are my priority.

I love you.


Taking Radical Responsibility for Our Lives


If we don’t own our stuff, we will never see our disempowered pattern nor will we grow and experience a better future.  As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” In order for us to grow, we must first become aware.

I remember clearly the day I took radical personal responsibility for my life. It was about 7 years ago. I stopped dead in my tracks at the foot of my bed and looked back over my entire life. I steeled myself for what I was sure was going to be an onslaught of shame and regret. I remember cringing inside afraid of what I might see, but I went for it anyway.

I faced every disempowered behavior I could remember: bending and stretching to fit others’ ideas of who I should be, doing things I hated to please another, failing to hold much needed boundaries and playing small to be liked.

I kept going: one night stands, drinking alcohol or smoking weed to fit in, staying with partners who hit me, drove intoxicated or emotionally abused me and allowing disrespect from friends, family and partners. The list went on and on.

When I was finished, I just stood there unsure what was next. What I did know was the world did not end, I did not lose a limb, my children were still alive and…

I felt… free?

Holy Mother Earth, I felt FREE! I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Everything that I had kept hidden, all the secrets, all the shame, was out in the open. I was free!

Yes, I did that. All of it. It was me. I am the one who is responsible for my choices and my life.

I understood for the first time how the unworthiness hidden inside of me manifested dangerous, reckless and unkind behaviors to myself.

I gave myself a big hug and said, “I am so sorry I did this to you. You deserve so much better! I will do better by you in the future. I promise.”

And I forgave myself.

Something radically shifted that day for me. I was reborn. My path to worthiness and empowerment had begun. I now always seek to recognize when I am acting out of shame or unworthiness instead of love. I catch myself sooner and I make choices that will lift my heart and life rather than perpetuate a defeating cycle.

And you can do the same.

Ownership Practice:

Pick a date and time to be alone with yourself where you will have no interruptions. Open your mind and heart. Allow yourself to remember and replay all the times you did not love yourself or protect your well-being. Recognize each one with neutrality and non-judgment. Allow the memories to come forward one at a time. No judgment, no condemnation. Just recognition. Own it all.

When you are finished, wrap your arms around yourself and say out loud: These were my behaviors driven by low self-worth. I recognize my old pattern. I did the best I could at the time. I’m sorry for putting you through that. I will do my best to love and protect you in the future.

And so it is. Amen.

The First Step to Empowerment is Always the Hardest

The first step to healing is the hardest one. It is the time we feel the most afraid.

It’s the time we have decided that we don’t want to live as we have been living, but are unsure what to do.  We feel confused because we thought we knew what we were doing, but entertain the notion that maybe we don’t.

We frighten ourselves by thinking we’ve done it all wrong and furthermore, what if there is something critically wrong with us?! We might muster up a tidbit of courage and begin to see our defeating patterns and bad choices, but it is likely followed by a Mach 2 shame-filled shudder which tempts us to retreat once again.

It is here in this dark cave of the soul that we quite possibly make the most essential decision of our lives…

Do I withdraw back into my cave of self-doubt, shame and denial or do I take one more tiny step forward?

For some, the pain of staying the same begins to outweigh the fear of change and we start leaning in a direction we’ve never leaned into before. We feel a glimmer of hope and see a speck of light in the distance.

Our interest is piqued.

Our curiosity starts to expand and we tentatively move forward.

Then out of nowhere like a whispery, gentle breeze blowing across our cheeks, we notice something has changed…


I was in the dark cave.

I didn’t know my life was a manifestation of a hidden trunk full of self-lies, unworthy notions and false perceptions I had gained throughout my life. I didn’t know that I had taken information coming my way and spun it into a web of “Kristen sucks”.  I didn’t know I had been flying under the radar my entire life hoping someone would “see” who I truly am and give me permission to rise higher.

I was afraid to admit my mistakes and downfalls to anyone for fear they would be exploited as they had been in the past. I was already ashamed of who I was and certainly didn’t need someone else adding fuel to fire.

But the one thing I knew for sure was I couldn’t keep doing what I had always done.

It wasn’t working.

I looked high and low among my family and friends, but could not find someone to hold neutral, non-judgmental space for me through this most vulnerable time. I desperately wanted someone to guide me and encourage me while I waded through the swampy wasteland of my bad decisions and embarrassing moments.

It was difficult to take brave steps forward without someone holding my hand. I still craved approval and permission from those around me. I wanted to be a follower. I wanted desperately for someone to say, “Oh, yes! I know where you want to go. I’ve been there! Follow me!”

It didn’t happen, but the most fascinating part is…

I didn’t let it stop me.

I had determined if I wanted healing and peace bad enough, I’d have to do it alone. If I waited for someone to ride the train with me, I’d most likely still be waiting.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, I realized something else.

I really wasn’t alone – I had never been alone. I had God.

The same God I talked to as a child while riding my bike, walking to a friend’s house or belly down on my bedroom floor writing poems. The same God I turned to when I had no one else to talk to- my companion, my mentor. The same God who always has my best interest at heart and who speaks to me through intuitive whispers that never lead me astray.

And so my journey began.

I didn’t know what it would look like or how it would go. I just knew it was time to take the first, most difficult step.

As my beloved friend and soul sister, Sue Markovitch, often says, “Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.”

It’s important to remember we won’t heal our worth or attract our best life in one day.

It will take putting one foot in front of the other. It’s about viewing each new day as a brand new learning opportunity which will later morph into a brand new you.

We are not alone and we are not without guidance. The light we need to find our way is already here. It has always been here. All we have to do is invite It in and take the first step.

Dear God/Source/Universe: I am open to healing. I am open to a greater awareness and understanding of life. I am open to healing my false perceptions and disempowering ways. Please come. Please make your presence known in my life. I know you will not interfere for the law of free will, so I give you free entrance into my heart and mind. I know you know best and I’m fully open to your lead. Amen.

You have everything you need, my friend.

Let me be the one to say:

“Oh, yes! I know where you want to go. I’ve been there! Follow me!”

I believe in you.

~ Kristen