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What Keeps You From Reaching Your Dreams?

What Keeps Your From Your Dreams?

When is the last time you let yourself reach for a dream?

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.

What do you tell yourself that holds you back?

What keeps you from reaching for the highest star?

After talking last week about the importance of letting our inner self shine through, I started wondering, what prevents us from having the courage, in every situation, to show the world who we really are?

I saw a fantastic video that included a commencement speech given by Denzel Washington where he quoted Les Brown.

Imagine you’re on your death-bed. Standing around you are the ghosts of your unfulfilled potential. The ideas you never acted on. The talents you didn’t use. And they’re standing around your bed angry, disappointed, and upset. They said, ‘We came to you because you could have brought us to life. And now we have to go to the grave together.”
Mr. Washington continued, “So, I ask you today, how many ghosts are going to be around your bed when you die?”

How many ghosts of unfulfilled potential will surround us when we die? Disappointed that we never nurtured them and shared them with the world?

Can you picture it? The ghosts of all the things inside you that you haven’t set free? Things you’re passionate about but haven’t nurtured. Opinions and thoughts you’ve kept tucked safely away. Plans you have developed but haven’t acted on. Dreams that are waiting patiently to be set into motion.

Let’s not die with these unfulfilled dreams and plans still inside us. Let’s bring them to life and see where they’ll take us.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • What keeps me from sharing my deep soulful intentions and creative talents with others?
  • What stops me from just going for it?
  • What holds me back from acting on each and every juicy idea I have?
  • What makes me want to hide my magnificent self?

There are several things that make it difficult to feel secure in sharing our true, inner self. Here are a few that came to mind:

  • Fear of being vulnerable
  • Expectations of others
  • Negative feedback
  • Lack of confidence
  • Doubt
  • Judgment
  • Criticism
  • Fear of failure

The common denominator in each of the these is that they all stem from something outside of ourselves. They are all based on trying to be what others’ tell us to be instead of who we truly are inside.

The way to overcome insecurities is to realize how significant we are.

  • To believe that we are more courageous than our doubt and fear.
  • To believe we are more powerful than anything outside of ourselves.
  • To believe on the cellular level that we were made perfectly.

The ideas and dreams in our brains and our hearts are not there by chance. Something greater than ourselves placed them there. It is up to us to put them into motion.

Something omnipotently powerful gave us intrinsic gifts and talents and the ability to bring our dreams to fruition. But we must have the courage to be who we are and use them.

Only when we have the courage to express our true selves; to risk negative feedback, to risk disappointing others, and even to risk failure, can we achieve all that is possible.

So, when we are on our death-bed, the only ghosts we will have standing next to us will be the ones of our fulfilled potential. The ideas, talents, and passions we acknowledged, valued, nurtured, and brought to life.

Standing by us will be the ghosts of our realized dreams. And after an authentic life, vibrantly lived to exhaustion, they will say,

“Well done.”

Karen Shatafian

Karen Shatafian has a master’s degree in counseling, is a mom to two teenagers, a surfer, writer, and lifestyle blogger. She is passionate about helping people leap out of their comfort zones and use their intrinsic gifts to live a courageous, authentic life. She is active in encouraging women, whether on a career path or staying home to raise a family, to nurture their passions and hold tight to their dreams. Karen is a featured contributor at and a contributing author to the book, “Legacy of Stoke - A Collection of Stories That Made us Surfers.” Follow her at Instagram: one_salty_kiss

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Monday 9th of November 2015

Thank you Keisha, I appreciate that! I think as women it is important we don't lose sight of what makes our hearts soar!

Keisha | The Girl Next Door is Black

Wednesday 28th of October 2015

"It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not."

Excellently stated and so very true! Negative self-talk and false beliefs about ourselves can be real dream killers. It takes being really mindful to push past some of these self-imposed limits. It's something I continually work on.

Great post, Karen!

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