face fear

What Holds You Back From Living Your Best Life

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It’s been almost 10 years since I published this and I still consider it one of my best inspirational posts on sharing the scary part of figuring out life’s journey. Scroll to the bottom for an update 9 years later.

I had one of those moments today.

You know the one, it’s an “a ha” moment.

The one where the light bulb goes off and everything “clicks.”

I feel like I’ve been fighting against myself for as long as I can remember. Lately, I’ve been in the middle of a horrendous mid-life crisis. It’s been awful.

However, I’m beginning to wonder how much fear has played into this crisis.

face fear

It’s no secret that I don’t like hate despise abhor my day job.

It’s not that its difficult or the people are mean but I basically see my job as answering a phone (in reality I’m the admin assistant to 4 managers).

It’s so mundane, every day is the exact same thing.

I went to college, graduated with honors and hold a degree in International Business Management, yet I answer a freaking phone for a living (o.k….that is a whole other post peeps, maybe someday I’ll be able to share…..)

But I will say this, it’s depressing.

I thought I would have a career, something I looked forward to going to every day.

Something besides working to just bring home a paycheck. That has not happened.

So, to combat the depression of my job, I decided to pursue my love of photography and turn it into a part-time photography business.

I’ve never considered taking the photo business full time because of a healthy dose of fear and the big “what-if” theories.

What if I fail?

What if it doesn’t make enough money?

What if I can’t support the family?

I was raised to never take chances, to never do anything non-traditional.

I was raised to believe that you get married, have children, and maybe work a job. Stay safe, don’t try anything too crazy.

It’s funny how those childhood lessons have lasted way into life.

lightbulb moment

My light bulb moment came today while I was having a conversation with my mom.

Me: Mom, have I told you about Family On Bikes. This couple and their twin boys are riding their bikes along the entire Pan-American highway. From Alaska all the way to Argentina. It’s a 2 1/2 year journey. How cool is that!”

Mom: WHAT!??!!?!? Aren’t they afraid of being raped and murdered???

Me: [crickets] [pick jaw up off floor–remains speechless]

Mom: {just gives one of those “mom looks” and walks away}

Beat Back The Fear Tactics

Wow, just wow. It was one of those moments that made me take a look back and realize that people, especially family, will use fear tactics to hold you back.

I suddenly saw so many moments over the course of my life that people have used fear tactics and IT WORKED!!!

Shame. On. Me.

I then remembered a blog post by one of my all-time favorite photographers Zack Arias. Zack is my inspiration.

He is proof that hard work, determination, and dedication allow you to live your dream.

One of my favorite blog posts by Zack is titled:

“How Many Of You Are Standing On The Dock?”

stand on dock

It’s powerful, it’s insightful, and it speaks to my very soul. I really relate to this part of the post (note: this post is no longer published online)

“It’s like sitting in a bar in a harbour town hearing people come off the ships telling stories about new lands they have found. You know what a boat is.

You know how it works.

But you have no idea how to go get your own boat and set off to find new land of your own…..You are standing on the dock and you can always stand on that dock.


Or you can get in a boat and push off.

A well-known photographer once said that they dove in over their heads and swam for the top.

That’s pretty inspirational.

I’ve done the same thing.

However, I don’t think they said anything about how many dead bodies that they had to swim by to get to the surface again.

Want to climb to the top of Mount Everest?

You’ll be passing the dead bodies of those who wanted the same thing and never made it.

But damn it all! Those dead souls died climbing.

How many explorers have died exploring?


How many explorers have died sitting at home?

Countless still.”

Do You Have What It Takes To JUMP?

That sums it up so well. Zack wrote this piece back in August of 2009. I’m still standing on the dock trying to figure out how to use my boat.

At what point do I just jump in and figure it out as I go. I can die giving it 110% and trying my hardest or I can die sitting in my safe zone.

In the end, the results are the same.

Is Fear Holding You Back From Your Dreams?

How many of us are allowing fear to hold us back from reaching for our dreams?

I’ve started researching and reading (I must say I’m GREAT at both-lol) about relocating, about living a life of non-conformity, about taking the plunge to own a part-time business that generates enough income to help support the household (I need to provide at least 1/2 of our required income).

I’m not exactly sure what my plans are for the future. I need to have a heart to heart with myself and figure it out.

I don’t know the answers.

Y’all know I’m just this side of crazy so maybe this post is the crazy bus getting a little closer to my stop.

Here’s what I do know.


Are You Tired?

I’m tired of going to work for someone else every day.

I’m tired of looking at the walls of my 7am-3pm prison.

I’m tired of living in this itty bitty northern community that has no opportunities.

I’m tired of the long, cold, hard winters.

I’m just tired.

Does life have to be just working the daily grind and sucking it up?

Or is there something more, something else that I am too afraid of trying?

Maybe as adults and parents, this is all there is. Maybe we gave up the right to live our dreams the day we brought new life into this world. I don’t know.

I do know that there have to be people out there living their dream–I haven’t personally met them, but I do believe they exist.


UPDATE 9.30.2019

Wondering what’s happened in the past 9 years?

Did I take that leap?

Did I crash and burn or succeed or maybe a blend of both?

Click over to this post about facing fear for an update (found at the bottom of post) on where the past decade has led me.

What Holds You Back From Living Your Best Life_ (1)

Leave a Reply


  1. PS your an amazing photographer!!!

  2. It’s amazing what we allow others to do ourselves and our dreams! I hope that a year later now that you have made some changes in your life and are overall much happier!

  3. What a fabulous post, Deb! You know what I love most about it? Your honesty for one and two I think that many people at some point in their lives can relate to this 'fear'.

    For me, I jumped in when I started blogging. I'm working so hard to make money from my blog and I am so slowly starting to see some profit, very small, but it's starting.

    Sounds like you're passionate about photography. We work, we sleep, and we play. If one of those 3 pieces of the pie is not complete then life isn't complete.

    I'll have to check out Zack's entire post now that I've gotten a taste of it. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. Hang in there, Deb. Let go of that fear and live your life, honey! I know you can do it!

  5. Thanks for choosing this one to link up at Say Anything. ๐Ÿ™‚ It's an amazing post. I think everyone faces some sort of "mid-life crisis" at some point. We reach a certain age, where we start to look back at where we've been, and the clock seems to be running down way too fast…

    "I'd rather have a life full of mistakes then a heart full of regret"

  6. Midday Escapades says:

    Hi, Deb – you are so right how we were thinking alike. I hope we are both able to muddle through our mid-life crisis and come out the other end even better than before!


  7. Nancy Armstrong says:

    Hang in there Deb!!! If you need to chat call me!

  8. Great post–thanks for sharing your thought processes. I've had moments of dream chasing and moments of running from my dreams. Running FROM them has always led to more regret, more pain, and more stress than embracing!

  9. I've had a lifetime of people telling me why I can't. And now I believe em'.

    I have so much I want to do and see……..but find myself trapped by my own fears. To anyone out there-young, brave, (stupid?)—DO IT NOW, before you lose your guts!

  10. Julie…you are so right, I really need to set some firm goals and go about achieving them.

    Samantha….Send me some photos and I'd be happy to look at them and give you some feedback. I have a friend that was in the exact same place as you a year ago and she is rocking out her photography business now (check her out at http://www.monsonphotography.blogspot.com)

    chelleyreads…good luck on achieving your dreams. I wish you the absolute best. If you jump in and find yourself in need of a life preserver I'll toss ya one ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. chelleyreads says:

    thank you so much for this post! i can relate. i too am still waiting for my boat–and i agree with the fear tactic family uses (my parents would have the same reaction as yours did).

    i am working very hard to go after my dreams right now. crossing my fingers i can finally jump in in the next couple of years ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Samantha R. says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I, too, am an aspiring photographer (though without the DLSR as of yet) and I have fears all the time that I can't make my living off that. Not that I *NEED* to right now but it sure would help a lot if I could get over my fears and take the plunge and see if I could do it.

    I have days where I feel like I really don't know what I'm doing and all these photos I am taking really aren't that great. Even if people tell me that I'm doing a good job with the little Canon 530 I have, I still have a hard time believing it. Sometimes.

  13. Deb–this was a wonderful post. You need to be true to yourself and your passions! If you passion is photography, then I say go for it! You never want to look back on your life and say "I wish I would have". And this would set a good example to your kids as well. Life is about working to achieve your goals, not just working….

  14. Thanks Ladies!

    Shell, I agree…I need to learn to take more chances as well….

    Tabatha, Glad I could help. I think many people feel the same, we are just too scared to voice those opinions.

  15. THis was great to share.. and I'm glad you did. I have the same feelings you do. SOmetimes we just have to finally say.. I dont care what anyone else sais about it.. and just follow our dreams! inspirational deb ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I love this post and am glad that you published it.

    I know that it is the things that I chose NOT to do that I regret. That I should have. And I need to remember that now, to take more chances.

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