Fear is a huge force in keeping us from attracting what we should want — we tend to depend on it as a false sense of safety. . . . Ultimately, all that worry is actually creating more of the items we don’t want.”

“I try to read the signs. If every­thing’s pushing one way, I tend to go that way. If six things line up to say, ‘Yeah, you should do this,’ I’m not really the person who says, ‘No, I’m too scared.’”

These quotes — from authors ­Gabby Bernstein (this month’s cover subject) and Pam Houston, ­respectively — stopped me as I read this issue of Experience Life. Featured in various stories bookending the magazine, they seemed especially appropriate considering this month’s theme, “Fear Less, Live More.”

Bernstein’s quote reaches the heart of fear and its power to prevent us from chasing our ambitions and living our most satisfying, joyful lives. When we let it.

Houston’s insight is about noticing the opportunities in front of us, bravely putting ourselves out there — where it might be uncomfortable, where we can’t know what will happen — and living more fully.

The more I think about these passages, though, the more certain I am that they intrigued me because they’re a few things i struggle with.

I am (and always have been) a rule follower and people pleaser. I often hold parts of myself back, concerned more about what others might think than how something could possibly affect me. I don’t prefer to fail, appear vulnerable, or disappoint, so I tend to stay within the safe lines and lanes.

These intrinsic characteristics have solved the problem succeed in many ways — but they also hold me back from realizing the entire potential I know deep down continues to be waiting to be tapped into. They stop me from adopting the interests, passions, and dreams which are bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to be acknowledged and embraced. They keep the unedited me in hiding.

So around it scares me, I’ve decided to share a few of the ambitions I’ve been keeping inside:

• Write a children’s book. Because the passing of my nephew in 2021, I’ve were built with a specific concept for a story within my head; it’s time to put it on paper.

• Do a sprint triathlon. The open-water swim scares me and it is the pri­mary reason I haven’t carried this out. Yet.

• Be an exceptional wife and mom. If you’re familiar with Rachel Hollis’s work, you know that she uses the word “exceptional” intentionally. It’s not about being perfect, but about showing up and putting in the effort every day.

• Be authentic. Rather than hesitate about sharing my thoughts, ideas, and interests from concern for what others may think, I need to stand proud in who I'm and what I love.

Everyone handles fear differently, but everyone has the opportunity to move beyond it and make more experiences of true joy and meaning within our (and others’) lives. Sometimes all it takes to get going is a little nudge — whether it's a word of encouragement, a quote, maybe even this column, or any other article in this issue.

So what’s something you’ve been holding back? What signs are in front of you, just waiting to become noticed? If you’re prepared to put it out there, find someone to talk about it with who will cheer you on. You can even email it in my experience: I’m only a message away at experiencelife@experiencelife.com.