Reader Submission- Discovering Passion and Love for Myself

By HOH reader LaDonna Dolby

Interested in sharing your story? Contact us here.

About three years ago I changed positions within my job at the VA Hospital. I went from working full time Cardiac Rehab in the ICU to working outpatient Aquatic Therapy. This was a very drastic change. Initially I was so happy because that meant a change in location, a change in atmosphere, and a change of co-workers, almost like a new job completely. The new location was awesome, the people - both co-workers and patients- were incredible. It was a complete change, the change I had been looking for and needed. 

I dove in head first into improving and reorganizing the Aquatic Therapy Program. Not only to fit my schedule, but to improve the quality of care provided as well as satisfy the demands ot eh VA. I was excited. 

Almost immediately I was hit with resistance to change. All of a sudden my new awesome environment turned sour. I'll save the details on that, but about a year into the new position...BAM, I landed bilateral lower lobe pneumonia. That's the most severe kind of pneumonia and it can and does kill people my age.  I turned 31 while on bed rest in my apartment. I've never felt so close to death than I did in that first week of being ill. How did I become so sick without noticing? I decided while recovering that I was never going to bring work stress home with me again. After I made that decision while still home recovering, I began receiving messages from co-workers and even my supervisor that cemented my decision and created a passion to protect myself. 

The job was even more stressful when I returned. I knew that working at the VA was the problem. It wasn't the cardiac rehab, it wasn't the co-workers, or certainly was not the patients. It was the system. I began contemplating starting my own business. I did research, I talked to people, I got all my certifications up to date. The only thing I was lacking was the confidence. 

Over the course of the next two years, life threw curve ball after curve ball at me to the point I started losing recognition of myself. I was lost, I started praying for change. But I was afraid of change. I was afraid of the unknown and the uncertainty. So I started meditating every day.

Then one day, change knocked on my door in the form of an eviction notice. My apartment building had been sold and the new owners were demolishing it to build bigger, more expensive apartments. They had to pay me to move out. It was a good chunk of change but rent in Los Angeles had almost tripled in the time I lived in a rent-controlled apartment. 

During this time, I was developing a friendship with my neighbor. She was in business for herself after being in a similar job as mine at a non-profit. I began observing her and how she conducted herself and her business and began to believe that I could do the same. As our friendship grew, her belief in me also grew, as did my own. She became my biggest cheerleader...seriously, she texts me a picture of herself as a cheerleader using Bitmoji all the time. In the midst of al of our crying, laughing, and soul searching together the clarity hit me. 

Instead of wasting this money I'm getting paid on a crappy apartment for a job that doesn't satisfy me, why don't I invest this money into my own personal development and business? The second this came out of my mouth, there was no turning back.

I began letting go of all things that did not satisfy me. Job, boyfriend, friends, possessions, and ideas...not necessarily in that order. I traded in Netflix and Hulu for "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy and "Failing Forward" by John C. Maxell. I changed my inner circle to people that matched the goals I was setting for myself. People I want to model in order to improve myself and reach my career and life goals. I set a date to quit my job. None of this was easy and it took almost a year to achieve. Only looking back now can I see the bravery and strength it took.

I moved out of that apartment with hope for an incredible future and my head held high. I immersed myself in personal development exercises while building my business. I just left my job at the VA and I'm staring into an unknown future. I'm excited, anything can happen. Al I know is that I can't fail, the only way to fail is to stop trying. 

For anyone else feeling stuck and needing change it will come. Whether you're ready for it or not it's coming. Embrace it, run with it, and trust that the universe is looking out for you. Surround yourself with people who support your vision and who are examples of what you aspire to be. Don't give up, learn from experiences and use them to become better. Love yourself first, and always make the time or money for personal development. 

You're worth it. 


Did My Biggest Failure Turn Out To Be My Biggest Blessing? PART 1


Had I been writing this six years ago, I would have been typing it while hiding under my living room table on Berber carpeting that should have been replaced a couple years prior. Tears would have been streaming down my face and my hands would have barely been able to type from shaking so fiercely. Six years ago, I just kept praying to God to let my heart stop so the pain would just end.

Was I terminally ill? No. Were my children sick? No. Was it something permanent that could never be taken back? Well, at the time, it felt like it! So what's left that makes the world go round, that 99% of us worry about and that we can't go one day without having to deal with...Money...I lost our entire life savings at a time my husband believed in me, so much that not only did he agree to quit his stable job, but also to sell our home and put it all on the line for a stay at home mom who had a dream. Some night call him noble, but I call him a Darn Fool.

For 12 years I was a stay at home mom and now that I look back on it, a really good one! It was my calling. We had children young, which means I didn't know any better but to be on their schedule and to play what they wanted. With my son, I played hot wheels and baseball and we swam until we couldn't keep our eyes open. My daughter loved to dance, sing and ride her bicycle around the same block, in the same neighborhood, day in and day out. We had picnics inside on rainy days and walked to the library to check out books on bright sunny days.

Then one day I talked my sister in-law into helping me create what became our first product. That story is long in itself, but we eventually grew our little hobby into a real business. My living room became a mini-warehouse-sewing room-shipment center-daycare. The children played as we tried to run our business. It grew to a point where we were either going to have to go all in and take out loans or throw in the towel. My sister in-law had a degree and a back up plan. I did not. I was all in and quite devastated when we decided to put the business up for sale. At the time we thought we struck gold when two men in sales & manufacturing made us an offer to buy my sister in-law out and then keep me as a consultant. They offered me 5% of all sales to stay on board. By the time we decided to move back to Los Angeles from Chicago and for my husband to quit his job that was making him miserable, we had purchase orders from countries all over the world. I knew I could pull off supporting the family for awhile. I still wouldn't be paid til the end of the year, but I knew we were set.

Had I been writing on this day six years ago, I would be telling you that I had just received a call that one of the major players in the game had backed out and the business was folding. That we were down to the last $75 of what was once a six figure savings. That no check would be coming in and that I had to look my husband in the eyes and tell him I F'd up. That I would make dinner for the children tonight knowing that I single-handedly took all their financial security away, something that I didn't have as a child and was so proud to provide for them. This is not something that we would ever speak aloud of in front of the children, but something my heart would know as I look at their faces every day. This very night, six years ago, would be the first night in 14 years that I would not crawl in bed next to my husband, but instead lay on the couch and shake as if my heart wanted to leap out of my body, shaking so uncontrollably that I thought I was going into hypothermia. I'm not sure I ever fell asleep that night, but I do know when the sun rose the next morning I decided right at that moment that I'd never again be that hopeless person that shook on the couch all night praying for the world to end...

Please subscribe to our blog to be notified for part 2 (that hopefully gets posted tomorrow) to see how we not only hung in there but even found togetherness even when all hope was gone...




Ask And You Shall Receive

By Rachel McFarland

I have a new daughter. To me, she is perfect in every way - but it hasn’t been easy. The first few months of her life were filled with challenges, and there were many moments where I felt like the only mom in the world who couldn't figure ‘it’ out. Some days, we struggled so greatly that I wondered if I was cut out for this motherhood thing. But for some reason, I was reticent to cut myself some slack and tried, unsuccessfully, to forge ahead on my own. Asking for help was out of the question. 

For a long while, the idea of asking for help seemed like some sort of failure on my part, as though I was supposed to immediately know everything about parenting (and the additional challenges we faced to boot). One particularly challenging day, my husband suggested asking someone to come help. I scoffed and got angry - offended, even. I felt a heavy, unsettled feeling at the idea of asking for help, as though it would be admitting that I really didn't  know what I was doing. As I write this I realize how ridiculous it sounds. So why did I feel this way? 

Like most insecurities in life, it boiled down to caring what other people would think of me, and ingrained beliefs I held about the idea of asking for help. After more thinking, I realized there was something bigger feeding into these kinds of insecurities: our cultural story is not very supportive of asking for help.

The 'Self-Made' Myth

We live in a culture that values NOT asking for help, a culture where asking for help is akin to admitting a weakness. And ours is a society that values strength, particularly strength that comes from individualism. The pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, figure-it-out, every-man-for-himself individualism. We love stories of ‘self made’ women and men, when the reality is that no one is ‘self made’ – the secret is that every single one of those people had an immense amount of help. But that doesn't make as good of a story, does it? 

Giving Feels Good

Unlike asking for help, our culture places a high value on giving help. Americans donate more to charity than any other country. We're also third in volunteering. Helping others is one of the key markers of happiness. Asking for help, on the other hand...makes most of us hugely uncomfortable. Yet we're all jumping at the chance to give our help. 

My experience led me to realize that asking for help is a necessary thing, and that NO ONE gets through life without help - and a lot of it. When I finally caved to my husband's suggestions that we ask for some help, I did so with a great sense of reluctance...until I actually started getting help from friends, family, babysitters. Then, funny enough, it felt fantastic. So instead of thinking you aren’t enough, think of how easy and wonderful it feels for you to GIVE help when it is needed. And give yourself some help by being brave enough to ask for it.

Call for Submissions!

When we started Helping of Hope, we wanted it to be a place where people would feel safe to share their stories. We started by asking ourselves (and you) some important thought-provoking questions. (Check out some of our posts on these topics here). We talked a lot about what makes us tick, but what we really want is to hear from you. We want this to be a place where you can share your stories, because by doing so you not only allow your story to be told, you allow the possibility of someone else recognizing a little bit of themselves in your stories. And wouldn't that make us all feel a little less alone in this giant world?

If you are interested in sharing your stories -what makes you tick, what your struggles are, what your triumphs have been-please contact us. We just might feature your story.

You can submit by emailing us at, leaving us a message on Facebook, or dropping us a note here

Battling the Guilt of Imperfection

Do you remember the time you got your name on the board in second grade?  The "B" that you got on the paper in 7th grade?  When you were out with friends and went to the bathroom and saw a huge chunk of food in your teeth?  The time your child said the most embarrassing thing in the store and you promised you'd never forget?  When your skirt was tucked into the back of your underwear while you were walking to your desk?   Most of us probably don't, yet at the time, we probably felt like it was the end of the world.  The thing about life is that we weren't meant to be perfect, we were meant to be REAL, so we should embrace our imperfections!

This week we are discussing how we handle the guilt of not handling it all perfectly. 


Don't hate me, but this isn't really something I experience much! The way I see it, I'm handling my shit and doing my absolute best and that's all I can ask of myself. If that's not good enough for someone, there isn't a whole lot I can do about that. I do experience disappointment if I don't have the ability to get things accomplished that I wanted to, but there's always another day. (Yes, I am a procrastinator!). Don't get me wrong, I experience guilt when things don't go the way I think others are expecting from me, but I have to make myself to get over it, otherwise I am living my life to the specifications of others.


Good God!  Thankfully I have become a walking billboard for imperfection.  I walk into a meetings so unprepared, that I usually get a yes out of everyone because they think I've lost my mind!  Years ago, my house was spotless, the yard was kept, my pool was cleaned daily and my children were waiting with dinner on the table for my husband to walk in from work so we could have dinner together.  I was in my 20's and must have been brainwashed!  Our house was a lot of fun and everything was ran perfectly.  Then one day I realized how meaningless a clean house was.  That my husband was late most of the time and that my children couldn't stomach one more of my "Chicken Surprise Dinners."  So instead I set out to make a difference in the world.  I know just enough to be dangerous.  I am an expert at absolutely nothing!  All my important documents live in a red folder that I carry around.  My 9am deadlines sometimes get moved to "Oh, I thought you meant tomorrow at 9am."   I hope my children are getting their homework done, because I've decided that it's their homework, not mine.  Our laundry is piled up, but yet everyone has clean socks and underwear, so we are good.  My children are fed and healthy, but often we eat while standing and laughing at the counter.  My house is straightened but not necessarily clean and I only get a slight twitch when I think of how wonderfully clean my house used to be.  The truth is that I'm cool with it all, because I'm living!  I no longer pass up on things because I have to clean, run errands or get rest, because all that can get done tomorrow, which might not come, so today I shall live...


I drink.  

I’m only half joking. I take the time to socialize with people I love and respect, and commiserate with them about not being perfect, because none of us is. 

The research shows that sharing our vulnerabilities helps us connect with others and feel more human; I prefer to share my vulnerabilities over a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa, a glass of wine or a beer.  I find it a great way to put time towards those with whom I want to spend time, those who are on the “who do I want to say I’ve spent time with at the end of my day, week, month, year list,” while grappling with the struggles of modern life and accepting my imperfections. 

As the Frozen song says “Let It Go!” – we’ve all got to let go of the idea that we should be perfect and start loving and accepting our wonderful imperfect selves and the amazing lives we're living.  Easier said than done, I know – but that’s where the beer or hot cocoa comes in!   

Tell us about your struggle with guilt in the comments below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr.  New topics and format coming soon!  We're excited and hope you are too!

The Fine Art of Saying "No"

By Tara Treiber

Saying no is one of those things that's easier said than done.  But, does it really do us any good to say yes to things that we don't really want to do, or we don't have time to handle in a way that we'll feel good about?  Saying no might be one of the most positive things we can do for ourselves, but we're all afraid of letting others or even ourselves down by putting that powerful word to work.  Here's our thoughts on saying no to things that you just can't take on.


I'm pretty good at this, somehow, because I am about as passive aggressive as they come. For me it's very simple. I have proven to myself time and time again that if I take on too much and start burning the candle at both ends, I get sick. Always. And when I get sick, it's never just a bothersome headcold- it ALWAYS turns into some massive infection that sidelines me for days. If I don't say no, I know that this is what will eventually happen. So it boils down to a simple equation - the pain of being sick outweighs the potential pain of having to say no every now and then. This lesson has been forced upon me, but it's a good reminder of how important it is to take care of ourselves. 


I am LITERALLY just learning to say no.  I would find myself doing the most ridiculous things, because I couldn't say no.  For years, yes, years, I literally despised myself for the ridiculous things that I would say yes to!  It got to the point that I knew flat out that I was being taken advantage of and that was just family.  Then I found myself "Room Mom" for both of my children, head of hospitality for one's school and the School Tour Rep and I signed up every time they needed a volunteer, all while trying to start a business.  And heck, while I'm at it, we live closest to school, so if parents needed to get to work early or couldn't pick their children up on time, "Can I just drop them off or pick them up from your house?" I mean working from home, isn't a "real job" any ways right?  I finally just snapped and started saying, "sorry, I can't."  People were so taken aback!  I mean really, they were going to have to miss a couple minutes of work to take care of their children?  It felt so freeing though to say no.  The resentment that was building was wearing on me to the point of that I didn't even want to walk my own child to school.  I realize now, how important it is to put myself and my family first.  I always thought it was a selfish thing to say no.  Now I know it's a survival tool for health and success.  But, believe me...I still say yes, way more than I say no, but now it's on my terms and schedule!


My former roommate was really great at this, and I learned a lot about how to say no watching him do so.  He would say, “I’d really love to, but that just sounds terrible,” in his adorable Southern accent.  People left the conversations laughing and not angry at all. 

Now, I don’t have quite as much charm as he does, so I can’t quite pull off his methods.  But, what I realized in watching things develop with him is that if I make a big deal about saying no and let the guilt be all over my expression, it goes badly.  When I just treat it lightly and say, “Thank you so much, but that just won’t work for me,” 99.9% of the time the person I am saying no to responds positively with a “I totally understand.” 

I think this is because we’re all so overwhelmed that when you own up to not being able to take something on, the people asking us understand.  In the few times they haven’t, I have to ask a second tier of questions of myself, “is this someone I don’t want to let down?” or “is this someone who would do this for me?”  When the answer to either question is yes, then I need to think about how I could make what they’ve asked happen - maybe say no to something else or postpone it for a bit to handle the opportunity before me.   

Saying "no" can be difficult.  We'd love to hear your strategies for saying no.  Drop us a note in the comments below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr.  Our final post on this topic will up over the weekend - Handling the Guilt of Imperfection.  After that, we're brewing up some new ideas that we're excited to be sharing soon!  Check back for more info in the next week or two!

Keeping our Eyes on the Prize: Identifying & Setting Priorities

It's time that we all acknowledge that we aren't Wonder Woman, we don't have unlimited time and resources, and start making sure that we are spending the limited time & resources we have on the things that are important to us!  So how do we do that?  How do you take that first step to say THIS is important to me, but THAT is not so much.  Today, we're answering the question of "How do you identify and set priorities?"  In answering this, we're taking that step to move from putting out fires to building systems that support us


Most of the time I feel like priorities are set for us. Those are the things that HAVE to get done in a day. That said, priorities change from day to day. Every day it's about evaluating what's moved to the 'must get done today' list, and hopefully having enough time in the day to do some of the 'would like to get done' things. For the most part I try to balance the things that must get done with things I'd like to get done. Each day I have to reevaluate what has moved to the 'must get done list' and what hasn't. Maybe this could also be labeled 'procrastination' since i tend to save things until the last minute! But hey, whatever works to help me prioritize!


Doing the Same Old Things & Expecting Different Results

Setting priorities is my number one fault, actually I should say "lack of setting priorities." The quote above rings though my head daily, when I am stuck in my same old routines doing the same thing daily, that I swear I will not do.  I often wonder if it's procrastination, fear or a compulsive disorder that throws me off track.  Often I do all the things that reap immediate gratification like making all the beds and throwing in a load of laundry in the morning.  When that's done, I decide that a nice coffee or tea from around the corner would be "just what I need to get focused and on track." Then by the time I get home, I sort through my emails.  It's just this never ending battle I have with myself, because I know I can accomplish anything, but ON MY TIME.  When I do focus and prioritize, it's amazing what I accomplish. This past month has been a real example of keeping my eye on the prize, so I hope that I read this post over to stay focused...


I’m trying to be better about setting priorities.   I say yes to too many things and then can’t do any of them as well as I would like.  Or I end up running from one to the next without enough time to enjoy them.

Taking the time to really think about how I want to be spending my time and who I want to be spending it with has helped me figure out what I should be setting as priorities.  At the end of the day, week, month, or year, what do I want to say I spent my time on and is this thing I could be doing one of those things?  Taking the time to identify what’s important to me, not just what sounds good, has also helped me become better at saying no to those things that don’t make the list.  

We'd love to hear about your process for identifying priorities.  Drop us a note in the comments below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr, and check back here as we tackle the task of saying no.  

Juggle, Juggle, Toil & Trouble

As we tackle the topic of the fine art of juggling all the pieces of our lives, the first question we all answered is "How do you juggle all the responsibilities and expectations of modern day life?"  Maybe a better question would have been "why do we juggle them?" or even "should we?"  But juggling, finding the balance between all the pieces of our lives is something we are all tasked with every day.  Here's our thoughts on how...


Not well!  I am a firm believer of finishing everything that you possibly can in a day before your head hits the pillow.  Unfortunately after years of working from home until 11:00pm almost nightly, at about 4:30, I'm just burnt and done and want to be a mom, so I just stop.  I take the children where they need to go, make dinner and just kind of forget about my to-do list.  The kicker is though, that I find myself being so much more unproductive.  My kids are 11& 17 now. One's gone all the time and the other one has caught up on six seasons of Grey's Anatomy in a month.  They don't need me as much any more, so even though I'm more available the house is messier and I'm on social media more.  Getting back to being more productive is a huge goal for me right now!


First, I try to remind myself that the only expectations I have to live up to are my own. As long as I am living my life according to my standards, I'm good. That alone takes a lot of the pressure off. Second, I prioritize - and it's not always about checking things off a to-do list. Most days (OK, all days) there are going to be a lot of things left on that list. Not being OK with that and always being beholden to a list of to-do's is a surefire way to introduce a lot of stress into your life. I think this holds true at work, on weekends, and in your personal life. There are certain things in a day that HAVE to get done, and there are certain things that we'd LIKE to get done. Learning the difference is the key. 


Honestly, I often feel like I don’t juggle the responsibilities and expectations well, or even at all.  I feel like I pick up and carry a few responsibilities and expectations at a time, while a few others lay abandoned, splayed around the corners of my life – kind of like a paper grocery bag full of my life has exploded.  I feel this way no matter how organized I am.  The primary issue is that I try to take on too much.  I need to be better at setting priorities or they end up setting themselves just in terms of what I’ve promised to others versus what I’ve promised to myself.

Got any tips for juggling all the details of life?  Let us know in the comments below, send us a note, email us, or leave a note on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, and check back here as we take time to toil on the trouble of juggling!

To Dance, to Surf, or to Juggle? That is the Question.

By Tara Treiber

We've had a lot of changes behind the scenes at A Helping of Hope lately, and they've prompted some juggling on our parts.  Tara has a new job, Rachel has a new baby, and, as a mom of two and the head the non-profit Happy DItto, Summer always has new and interesting things on her plate. These changes have caused us some challenges in moving forward at the same pace we normally do with A Helping of Hope. We realized that if we were having trouble juggling it all, you might be too. And maybe, just maybe, we all needed to take a break from the other stuff and talk about juggling responsibilities with expectations, our own and those of others.

You can't walk by a check-out stand without some inspirational quote on a magazine: You CAN have it all! How Jane Doe balances motherhood and career! More time management and money-saving tips! And I don't know about you, but sometimes just reading the headlines makes me tired. When I am having trouble managing my to-do list, I don't have time to read about how other people do it!  Especially when they can probably afford a nanny, housekeeper, personal assistant, and on and on… If I could afford to have a staff to handle everything, I could probably juggle it all too! These topics just make me feel angry and bitter. 

When I start feeling this way, I go back to something my mom always told me: You CAN have it all; you just can’t have it all at the same time. I think this advice rings true for many reasons. For one, all the research is telling us that really there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Your brain can handle one thing at a time. Yes, some people are better at switching between those things, but, neurologically, we’re still handling things bit by bit.

Many spiritual practices also focus on being in the moment and focusing on things one at a time, practicing mindfulness and attentiveness. Since we could probably all use a little more Zen and grounding in our lives, mindfulness is probably a good idea. Focusing on one thing as one does in meditation may even have an impact on us at a genetic level!

As I was looking for research and advice on juggling things, every source I looked at recommends identifying priorities and slowly trimming down, and, as hard as it may be, saying no to those things that aren’t on the top of our priority list. Instead of looking at our lives like a juggling act, the advice of researchers is to handle it more like surfing: pick your waves wisely, focus on them while they need to be focused on, and then move to the next wave, slowly making your way through the water safely and while having fun! I like this analogy, because it includes falling into the water and getting back up and going on!

I also like the idea of putting down the juggling pins and walking away from battling the ocean, and dancing through life – pick your songs and partners wisely, dance to the song that’s on, and know when to pause and put up your feet.  For the next few posts, we’ll put on our dancing shoes to discuss just how we’ve picked our metaphorical songs and partners, said no to the songs that just aren’t our rhythm, and battled the guilt of not going to every dance.  Here are the questions we’ll be answering:

1. How do you juggle all the responsibilities and expectations of modern day life?

2. How do you identify and set priorities?

3. Tell us about how you say no to things that you just can't take on?

4. How do you handle the guilt of not handling it all perfectly?

We’d love to hear your answers or advice for juggling life's responsibilities!  Answer in the comments below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr, and check back here in the next few days for our answers! 

Books and More on Tackling Fear

Fear is a doozy of a topic. It's one of the few things in life that EVERYONE deals with. In that way, it's the great equalizer of emotions...while things like gratitude, confidence, or hope varies from person to person, fear is frequent in most people's lives in some way or another. So we hope you've been able to ask yourself some tough questions alongside us while we tackled the topic of fear. Because remember - only by asking ourselves tough questions AND facing the answers can we become better, stronger, and more motivated to be the best we can be. If you are looking for more inspiration to get going on tackling fear, see what we've had to say:

What's something that scares you?

Letting Fear Win

Conquering Fear

Trying Something New

How Do You Overcome Fear?

Obstacles in Overcoming Fear

As we close out the topic of fear, we're sharing with you some of our favorite tools to help us get inspired when we need to face fears. Here are some of our favorite books, music and more to get you started. Share yours in the comments!



The one book that comes to mind has a title that says it all - "Feel the Fear... and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers. Her book talks about how successful people don't wait for the fear to dissipate before taking action- they take action in spite of the fear. The concepts she presents are so simple, yet most people don't 'feel the fear and do it anyway' - most people feel the fear and run and hide, hoping it will just go away on it's own! Well it's not going to- and this book provides some great tips on how to break out of that inaction mindset. 

I also like Joseph Campbell's philosophies presented in "The Hero With A Thousand Faces". Campbell put forth the idea of the Hero's Journey, which outlines the familiar path we see in movies, stories, books - familiar because we see ourselves within the stories and characters. Part of the Hero's Journey as outlined in one of my favorite movies on this topic, Finding Joe, is the slaying of the Hero's dragons. In other words- the Hero of the story (or, each of us as heroes of our own lives) must face the thing they dread and fear the most. And only by doing so can they move forward into bigger greatness. 


I love music that feels enlightening, uplifting, or empowering when I'm full of fear, so if I am driving to a job interview or something equally as terrifying and fear-inducing, I will probably be listening to something like "Walk On" or "Beautiful Day" by U2 (basically any U2 song does the trick for me!), "Lose Yourself" by Eminem, "Starlight" by Muse, or - don't judge - "Freedom" by George Michael. I also love, love, love the Abbey Road album by The Beatles, so listen to "Here Comes the Sun" or the medley ("You Never Give Me Your Money", "Sun King", "Mean Mr. Mustard", "Polythene Pam", "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight", "The End") when I need a boost of inspiration to overshadow whatever fears I'm facing. 



While I love a good Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber book, I spend most of my time reading non-fiction.  I think that FEAR is single-handled the biggest issue that I have daily.  Whether it's a financial fear, a fear about one of my children, a fear in regards to making a wrong decision or most commonly the fear of SALES and putting myself out there, I'm usually dealing with one of the above.  Fear is real and I am thankful that I can usually work through the emotion by reading.

Currently I'm almost finished with the book #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.  It's an extremely easy read and really makes me somewhat want to punch myself in the face by never following through with things in my 20's, it beings me hope and really validates how important it is to show up every day, conquering your fears and to really do what you love.  I literally tripped over the book on the sidewalk and brought it home.  I figured it was fate.

I'm also reading "I AM THAT GIRL" by Alexis Jones. It's about How To Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose and #bethatgirl.  It's not that I think "I am that girl" but I am a firm believer of there being a heaven on earth by doing what you are meant to do, even though I've found searching for it is quite the contrary!


When I really want to snap out of a funk and go all in Marvin Gayes "Ain't Non Mountain High Enough" gets me every time!  It might be that in my head, I'm picturing the locker room scene from Remember the Titans (oh wait, there's my inspirational movie to help overcome fear, right there, two in one), but it works!   Listen baby, aint no mountain high/aint no valley low...


Apparently I have a fear of creating a list of books, movies, and music all about overcoming fear.  I found myself standing in my kitchen trying to think of anything to go sit down and write about.  I would like to think I looked like C.S. Lewis as he struggled to write The Chronicles of Narnia, but really I think I looked more like Ted of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, shaggy haired, bleary-eyed, almost half drooling as I stood there staring and thinking “wah?”

But as I said in previous posts, letting fear rule me makes me angry.  So, I got angry that my brain wasn’t working and just started writing.  Here’s what I came up with:


The Gifts of Imperfection, which I've mentioned before, was a powerful and inspirational book for me in helping me overcome my fears.  Additionally, I've really enjoyed Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In.  I don't agree with everything she says, but I do love how she talks about finding what you want to do and working towards it.  Finally, Robert Fulghum's books have always had great wisdom for me when I need inspiration.  My favorites are All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Uh-Oh, Maybe (Maybe Not), and It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It.  The books are full of modern parables that demonstrate those pieces of humanity that unite us, how we're not getting out of this alive so we might as well enjoy the ride, and his own stories of failures that demonstrate you can come back from them and still live a fulfilling life.  


There are only two movies that come to mind when I think of overcoming fear, and they are both movies that I watched when I was young and clearly made a big impression upon my growing mind.  The first is Steel Magnolias.  I watch this movie when I need a good cry and release to be able to tackle something new.  It's a great movie for me during transitions.  The second movie is Dead Poet's Society.  The carpe diem message is still terribly important, and I need that reminder regularly.  


I tend to put on dance music when I need to pump myself up to face something I don't want to. Old Madonna (Holiday, Get into the Groove, Hanky Panky) works really well every time.  I also like Kelly Clarkson's Stronger, Katy Perry's Roar or Firework, or Black-Eyed Peas Boom, Boom Pow - they all get me dancing and moving which is sometimes all it takes to do something to overcome my fear! 

What are your go-to inspirations for tackling fear? Leave your favorite books, movies, music, and more in the comments!

Obstacles in Overcoming Fears

When we last asked our Facebook community what topic we should tackle next, 'fear' was the resounding winner. Fear is clearly something that permeates our daily lives and affects us each in a precise way - usually, in a way that ensures inaction. And we all know we can't move forward without action.  Through our journey of analyzing our fears, we have helped identify our fears, why we have them, and what we can do to make things happen despite feeling fear. Now, we're taking a look at the last bastion of getting over our fears once and for all - what, exactly, causes us to NOT get over our fears? So we're asking ourselves and YOU- what is your biggest challenge in trying to overcome fears? Let us know what your biggest challenge is in the comments!


Inspirational gurus Christine Arylo and Gabrielle Bernstein do this thing called the "Fear Cleanse" which taught me about our 'gremlins' - or that inner judgey voice telling us what we can't do, why we won't succeed, why we aren't good enough, etc...our inner saboteur. My biggest challenge in trying to overcome fears is that I have a habit of listening to that voice way too much. In other words...I'm my own worst enemy! I always say this - when I listen to my own inner voice or instincts, I almost always stay on track...but my biggest challenge is not trusting my own inner voice enough!


My biggest challenge is just getting out of my own head.  I can talk myself into our out of ANYTHING!  Even though I know if start doing whatever it is that I'm afraid of I'll instantly get over the anxiety, I still literally freeze with fear.  Once I start something, I'm all in, but taming my brain to show up, get my mouth to start speaking and my body to start moving is my real challenge. 


Like most of my issues in life, my biggest challenge in overcoming my fear is to just get out of my head!  I need to not let me brain get caught in a negative loop.  Meditation and journaling have helped with this so much.  If I can figure out what I'm afraid of, really articulate that fear, I find I can much more easily address it.  As GI Joe said, "Knowing is half the battle."    

So describe a time when you conquered a fear in YOUR life. Leave us a comment below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr, and check back here in the next few days for our take on more fear-themed questions!

How do you overcome fear?


By: Tara Treiber

As the saying goes, it's not the things you do that you regret, it's the ones you don't.  Fear is often the the thing that keeps us from doing.  Some fears are rational and some aren't.  When you reach that place where you decide you don't want to be ruled by fear or you don't want fear to hold you back, what's next?  Today we're sharing our thoughts on overcoming fear, but we'd love to hear from you too!   


I don't know if you ever overcome it. Like confidence, I think there's a misconception that you can reach this magical place where you are free of fear and full of confidence. It's like we are all waiting to live our lives until we arrive at this magical place. Well guess what - you'll wind up waiting forever, because this magical place doesn't exist. The way to 'overcome' fear isn't to remove fear from the equation - it's to do things in spite of  the fear (that's called courage). So the fear never goes away. You just learn to take action despite the fear. And when we learn to take action in the face of fear, we learn that the fears weren't that big of a deal in the first place.


I'm not sure that I'll ever "overcome" fear.  I think what I do most often is that I focus on the outcome.  What if I walk in asking for a donation and they say "yes" or if I share a personal story and someone reaches out saying how much it's helped them?  Well then I accomplished exactly what I intended.  Then I think to myself, "what if I don't take a chance and I'm stuck in this exact same position and desires for years all because I'm afraid?"  How will I feel then?  I'd rather have 1,000,000 no's then to never have given life a shot.  Even if I just do one thing in a day, even if it's just sending one email that day (yes, I'm even afraid to send emails sometimes).  Even if it's that simple of a step at least I moved forward and stand frozen.  And then of course I start to pray...and I mean pray, plead, beg until I wear myself out and then I jump all in!


Overcoming fears, like so much of life, is an ongoing battle for me.  First, I stop and take a deep breath.  I then ask myself what it is I am really afraid of.  Oftentimes, free writing helps me get to the root of what the fear is – just vomiting words down on the page until I can get at the heart of it all.  Once I’ve identified what’s going on, I can address it head on.  If the fear is related to something I can control, then I work to control that thing.  If it’s related to something I cannot control, I have to just let it go!  If I can't let it go fully, I need to at least acknowledge it and move forward despite the fear.  This is all easier said than done, but is really worth the work.  I consciously don’t want to live a life ruled by fear, so overcoming it becomes the only option!  

A phrase that's really resonated with me lately and has helped when I'm faced with fear is that when you're afraid or scared and excited at the same time, that's when you're probably on the verge of doing something amazing, something life-changing that will take you to a better place.  I've found this to be so true recently, and it just adds to my fuel to move forward despite any fear that I may still possess.  

What thoughts do you have on overcoming fear?  Any techniques or tools you've found useful?  We'd love to hear from you!  

Leave us a comment below, send us a noteemail us, or leave a note on FacebookTwitter, or Tumblr, and check back here in the next few days for our take on more fear-themed questions!