Dear Friend,

Fear. It creeps up on us, often without a sound. It asks, “What if everything goes wrong?” “What if I fail?” “What if I never get what I want?” And disastrous answers to those questions can send us down a path of negative thinking that spirals out of control. Psychologists call it “catastrophizing.” Next time it happens, stop fear in its path with an opposite question: What if it does work out?

What if you succeed? What if you finally get what you want? What if things go right? Asking these questions gives you a sudden burst of energy. That energy is hope. It can feel like a small light in a dark place. What if your idea does manifest into all you have hoped? What if that relationship does work out? What if your persistence despite your discouragement does pay off? What then? Then, perhaps it will all have been worth it.

This is not to say you should never have a contingency plan. But you can’t live life simply avoiding your fears. Living and working with passion means giving your all because you believe in the possibility of success. You hold more closely to your dreams and desires than your fears and doubts. So in this moment, I invite you to consider the challenge or possibility that causes you the most doubt or anxiety. You know the one, that thing that causes the persistent question, “What if it doesn’t work out the way I hope?” And ask the opposite question: What is does work out the way I hope? Don’t just ask the question. Imagine your answer in depth. Take a moment right now. Imagine what it would look like for things to work out. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. What would it feel like? Really imagine yourself there. Imagine who is with you. What you are doing. How things are different than they are in this moment.

Now, move forward focused on the possibilities for your success. Allow your motivation to be a spirit of faith rather than a spirit of fear.

My challenge to you this week:

Choose optimism. Stop obsessing about what might go wrong, and put your energy into what could go right.

Journaling question:

Consider the thing in your life you most want, but are afraid you will not get. What if it DOES work out? What will that look like? What action can you take that will demonstrate you are operating in faith rather than fear?

Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You?, How Did I Get So Busy?, and her latest book, Where Will You Go From Here, Moving Forward When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned.  Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at

  • Thank you for this posting. For years, I was afraid to fly. Well, I took my first flight on American Airlines on January 5, 2012. However, all the way to Vegas; I was hoping for my heart to stop racing and my tummy to return to my body. The phobia was trying to control me 15000 feet traveling at 500 mph up in the air. I learned recently as a full-time psychology student that a phobia must be faced to overcome the blockage. Surgeon operates to repair a blockage in an artery, which may cause damage to the heart. Likewise, a blockage, in life may cause one to miss the upgrade of a lifestyle. As soon as I was trying to settle my nerves as we reached the 15000 feet altitude the turbulence started shaking the jet.

    The gentleman seated next to me reminded me during the turbulence that were flying 15000 above the ground and 500 mph, I felt faint! I am sure he was assigned to sit next to me, in case I freaked. Next, he, said, “You are doing very well.” I think I may have crossed and rolled my eyes looking at him, saying, “I am going to sleep right now.” I was about to explode with fear trying to hide it from him. I took one look at the window and slammed the cover because my heart was racing far too fast to enjoy the view. When we landed in Vegas, I started to kiss the ground and find a Greyhound station.

    Much to my surprise on the way home [01/09/12] on the jet, the turbulence was worst, which I thought looking out the window would help calm my nerves. Instead, I noticed everything was pure white, which the beauty of pure white clouds was mind-blowing seeing such for the first time. The beauty of pure white clouds elevated my perspective to think and live on a higher mental altitude. For one quick minute, I thought life was over, and I was in heaven. There was nothing in sight but the white clouds. The gentleman that was seated next to me flying home went to sleep with his heard leaning in my direction. I started to wake him up to make sure he was alive. Everyone had stopped talking, and the moment was still with the turbulence shaking the jet like crazy. It grew worse and all I knew to do was pray because I was alive. My pastor pray all the time, which he shares from the pulpit. He had recently talked about the turbulence and I wanted him to shut up because I had already purchased my first ticket.

    We were flying above the clouds, so I started praying to avoid another stop and take off episode. When I woke up, we were landing at DFW safe and sound. I am ready to fly again. My phobia is gone. No matter what I will never enjoy the turbulence, but I plan to manage the turbulence with prayer. Flying high in the sky is too beautiful to travel on the ground. That first flight was my celebration of coming out of a 40 year horrific journey. I knew if I could manage walking through the gate, boarding the jet, taking my seat, fastening the seat-belt, and bracing for the lift, that my life would change because I defeated fear. Fear which gripped my life for 40 straight years. I am now free to live.