During the summers of my junior and senior year of high school I spent a lot of time at Grand Lake in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with my best friend Mary Lynn. In order to get there, we had to go through a rather long tunnel. Completely consumed by visuals of the tunnel caving in on us, I would jump in the backseat and lay down while Mary Lynn drove us through to the other side. Then, one day I had to make the trek alone, which meant driving through that tunnel alone. 

Are you there with me? Have you had an experience like this before? Is it spiders, bridges, speaking in public, or some other thing that frightens you? 

Not wanting to miss out on my time at the lake with Mary Lynn, I committed myself to getting through that tunnel. The closer I got to the tunnel, the more I sweat, and I honestly wondered how the heck I was going to manage it. Then, when I approached the tunnel, I got an idea—imagine what it would be like to get to the other side. Gripping the wheel, I steadied my attention on the car directly in front of me, thinking only about the light I would soon be seeing. Of course, I did make it to the other side of the tunnel, but I could never have imagined how that experience would help me years later. 

Moments after receiving the invitation for Mike and Susan’s Halloween party this year, I felt anxiety and excitement at the same time. I wanted to go, and (much the same as Grand Lake) I kept imagining the torment of frightening costumes, which led to some traumatic memories around Halloween as a child. 

“I’m just going have some really strong boundaries with this party,” I shared with Geri, a good friend in preparation for this adventure. “If I get scared,” I continued, “I’ll just leave.” 

“Misti, why do you want to go to this party?” Geri asked. 

After expressing my desire to have some fun, Geri said, “then focus on just that… Having fun! Don’t let the other energy pull you in.” Before we hung up, I committed to keeping my focus on fun, but I could have never imagined how powerful such a commitment could be.   

I barely had a chance to reach Susan and Mike’s house when, out of nowhere, Eric, another neighbor, appeared from around the corner, clad in an eerie costume, and to make matters worse… he was wearing a mask (my absolute least favorite!). Fun, Misti. Fun! I whispered to myself, determined to embrace the joyous spirit of the moment. With a resolute smile, I directed my gaze towards Eric, and as if on cue, he erupted into his familiar laughter. In that instant, a wave of reassurance washed over me, reminding me that beneath the eerie facade, it was still Eric. 

Walking through the front door, a delightful sight greeted my eyes—several whimsical and non-threatening costumes adorned the room, with only a handful of face coverings in sight. Choosing not to react to those coverings, I consciously shifted my attention towards the spirit of fun that enveloped the atmosphere. In that moment, the grip of fear loosened its hold, allowing me to fully embrace the transformative power of focus. It was a powerful reminder that when we prioritize the things that truly matter, such as sharing our creative work, embracing vulnerability with others, accepting invitations, or pursuing new career prospects, incredible opportunities unfold before us, ready to be seized. 

Just like the transformative essence of Halloween, when we summon the courage to unveil the mask of our fears, we unlock the boundless freedom to pursue, embody, and manifest the deepest desires of our hearts. As we triumph over fear, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of past traumas, forging a path towards personal growth and fulfillment. Much like navigating through a daunting tunnel or venturing into a Halloween party, these principles extend beyond mere seasonal festivities—they hold the power to revolutionize countless facets of our lives. 

To help you embark on this empowering journey of turning fear into freedom, here are some invaluable ideas to guide your way: 

  • Visualize success: Imagine yourself successfully navigating through daunting situations and focus on the positive outcome you desire.
  • Embrace support: Surround yourself with friends and loved ones (like Geri) who encourage and uplift you in your pursuit of joy.
  • Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and limitations to ensure your own comfort and well-being while facing your fears.
  • Maintain a positive mindset: Replace negative thoughts with affirmations and focus on the fun and joyful aspects of the experience.
  • Take small steps: Start by gradually exposing yourself to situations that make you uncomfortable, building confidence through incremental progress.
  • Remove the mask of fear: By confronting your fears head-on, you can uncover the freedom to pursue your dreams and live authentically.

In our pursuit of what truly matters to us, it’s natural for fear to arise. Yet, we possess the power to rise above it and refuse to let it dictate our decisions. Instead, let us embrace the reality that fear holds a profound purpose—it serves as a guide, helping us discern what is real and what is mere illusion. Armed with this knowledge, we can boldly venture into the realm of joy, harnessing the transformative forces of focus, positivity, and unwavering determination. Together, let’s unlock the boundless freedom that awaits us—a life brimming with immeasurable joy and utter fulfillment. Are you ready to embark on this incredible journey with me?

Here’s to your greatness,
Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister helps companies and leaders motivate and inspire excellence. For nearly 20 years, she has facilitated communication that results in trust, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Make sure your communication is coming across the way you intend, visit https://www.MistiBurmeister.com