How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantThis week I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs are chatting about love with Valentine’s Day being just around the corner. I wanted to write about fear this week. I know, not exactly conducive to love, or is it? I was going to write about fear and writing, but fear is fear, so I thought why not write about fear and love? They can go can hand-in-hand, and I’ve definitely had some experience in this department, so why not!

“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.” ~ unknown

The day I nearly never got married

It all started a long time ago when I was still living back home in Scotland. Well actually, it probably started way further back, when I was little, when I was forming my beliefs about love, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Anyway, I was minding my own business, living my life; productive, happy, single and free. Working on my coaching business, and traveling the world to attend seminars on how to take your life to the next level.

Then I met a man.

It all started innocently enough, you know how it goes; we connected, started chatting, sharing small details about our lives and the things we enjoyed. Then we got closer and began sharing deeper parts of ourselves and the things close to our hearts. Next thing you know, we’re spending hours together as time started losing its hold on us—hours slipped past like minutes.

We’d meet each other at various conferences around the world and then spend endless hours chatting on the phone when we were apart. Everything was going great, then my future husband dropped the bomb—he mentioned the M word aka marriage—and that was me running scared and literally running for my life.

He’d call—I wouldn’t pick up—there was no way I was going to marry this man. Yes, I enjoyed his company, yes I may even be in love with him, but that didn’t mean I should settle for something as totally and completely final as marriage.

A Fear of Commitment

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantThey say men are afraid of commitment, but I was definitely a card-carrying fully-fledged member of the group, and I didn’t want some man clipping my wings.

So I did the best thing I knew how—I hid—for ten days. I know very grown up and mature of me, but it was the best thing that my inner quivering ten-year-old fear-filled kid could come up with at the time.

You see, from an early age I was brainwashed into believing that marriage equaled death. Being a product of the seventies and eighties, and watching most of my friends’ moms and dads splitting up and finally getting divorces—including my own parents. And, growing up in Scotland probably didn’t help either, as those around me considered marriage a relic of the 50s, and as something that would probably be better off being left there.

Without going into it too much, I had an old record that went around and around in my head, that played louder and louder when any man got near that seemed even a little interested. The old record played; you don’t need a man, you can’t trust men, you never want to get married. And round and round it went.

Ten Days Later

I was still hiding; avoiding the phone calls, not replying to emails, and generally falling off the face of the planet. On day ten, I got an email from my future hubby; it had ten songs attached, with the instructions that I should listen to them. Having my interested piqued, I listened to the songs, and they started to melt the ice around my heart. I’m a very emotional being and music can do things for me that words never could. I thought, a man that can love these songs, is a man worth getting to know better—we started to talk again.

We chatted everyday on the phone for hours, this went on for several months, though we never really talked about the M word again.

My Date with Destiny

I was scheduled to go to a conference in the Bahamas, the long awaited—Date with Destiny—even the name gave me goosebumps! Upon booking my air tickets, my future hubby told me he had managed to secure himself a ticket for the event. It had been sold out for months, but he had pulled some strings, so he would be joining me.

How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantI arrived in the Nassau, and he met me off the plane. We spent the week together. Our early mornings were spent playing in the huge waves on the sun-soaked beach. And our intense days and nights were spent at the conference, helping ourselves and others have massive breakthroughs.

Everything was going great, or so I thought, until the last day. We got up nice and early, which had become our custom for the week, so we could enjoy a few fleeting moments on the beach before it was time for us to head indoors for the rest of the day. As the next day, we would be getting up and jumping on separate planes to return to our own respective countries. And we would not be seeing each other again for months.

On our last morning together, we walked down to the beach just after sunrise, and ate breakfast—we shared a tropical fruit platter on a wooden deck in front of the water. It was beautiful. Then we went for a stroll along the beach, enjoying this glorious morning before returning home to rain and buses, at least for me. The turquoise waves crashed relentlessly against the sun-bleached shore. The breeze tugged on my hair, as the sun began to warm my skin. I realized in this moment; I had never felt so alive, so wonderful, so free…

I took my toe and started to write in the sand the one word that had always made me feel so vibrant and alive, it represented everything that I loved and aspired to. The word was FREEDOM, and being the queen of exclamation marks, I drew one, putting my toe in the sand to complete my statement. Suddenly, my future hubby dropped to one knee and took my hand…

“Will you Marry me?”

Huh wha?… I don’t even know what I was thinking; I don’t even know if I was thinking … It was more of a physical reaction … I ran … Yes totally and completely; I took my hand back in a split second and was tearing off down the beach. Sand under my feet, wind in my hair, running away as fast as I could from the man who had just asked me to marry him.

My husband said he knelt there for a second not knowing what to do next, then he did the only thing he could think of, he chased me.

Finally, he caught up to me and grabbed me by my arms. He looked deep into my eyes. “Well, will you marry me?”

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantI kid you not … I looked over at the freedom I had written on the beach, and a huge wave obliterated it!

I looked back at him and said in a quiet voice. “But my freedom, it’s washed away.”

He looked at me and touched the center of my chest with his fingertips.

“Honey, your freedom’s not out there, it’s in here.”
 Then he repeated his question.
“So, will you marry me?”

Not one for making life easy, I replied, “I’ll tell you later, by the end of today.”

I had a lot of thinking to do. So we left the beach and got ready to step into the last day of the conference—relationship day, of course!

At these conferences you don’t sit to together. If you came with someone, you’re split up into different groups, so you can take part without feeling like you have to act a certain way around a spouse, a sister, or whomever you chose to come with.

My future hubby was sitting near the front, and I was sitting near the back. One of the exercises was to write down everything you wanted in your mate and write a letter to them. All these exercises I had done before having been around the block a few times in the world of coaching.

I knew the man I had found was the perfect embodiment of everything I had wished for—and yet—I was still terrified. I went looking for help; I needed some one-on-one coaching to help me process all the crud that kept floating to the surface.

Getting to the Truth

I found a good coaching friend of mine and hoped that she could help me clarify my want over my fear. The two questions I remembered the most were these:

Q. “Why don’t you stop spending time with him for the next six months, let things cool off?”
A. “Arrrgh no, that’s not an option, I have to see him.”

“Okay,” then she asked:

Q. “What was the first answer that you felt in your body before all your BS (Belief Systems) started showing up?”
A. “Yes, I said to her. “Every cell in my body screamed yes, but then my thinking mind screamed back no.”

She said, “That’s your true answer. Go to him.”

I walked back down the isle looking for his seat. The conference was beginning to wrap up when I saw him.

He says that he kept turning back to look for me, but my seat was empty. And he thought. Where is she? Is she even here still? Did she go to the airport?

I made my way across the tangle of legs, finally arriving at the convenient empty seat beside him. I sat down and he leaned in close to me.

“Well?” He whispered in my ear.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and whispered back. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantAnd they Lived Happily Ever After

I know this whole thing sounds cheesy and I couldn’t make it up if I tried. But it’s all true. At that moment slow music started to play, and couples got up from their separate seats around the hall and were reunited. We stood up, walked into the isle, and slow danced.

Now I’m not going to say the next few months were very smooth before we finally tied the knot, I did try and run a few more times, but maybe that can be a story for another day.


Suffice to say, that fear nearly got in the way, and robbed me of my wonderful husband, and all my completely amazing children.

So the next time fear tries to stop you, don’t be fooled. Stop. And asked yourself, what is it I really want? Then sit back and listen quietly.

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Has fear ever made you do something crazy? Is it standing in the way of your wants and desires? Or are you living your dream already and going after the things that you want? What tips and tricks do you have for conquering fear and overcoming obstacles?

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Oh and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Neil Gaiman’s 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk

Is fear holding you back?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

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Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

17 replies
  1. Marie Rogers
    Marie Rogers says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Consider writing it up disguised as fiction. It would make a great read, not that this version isn’t. Like most people, I’ve been held back by fears and regretted doing so, and other times I’ve ignore fears and jumped ahead anyway. Usually those times turned out ok. There is a difference between those fears and the black ominous gut feeling which is a true warning you should pay attention to. I’ve had curious experiences where circumstances propelled me beyond my little fears as though fate, or something, wasn’t giving me a choice to give in to them. Invariably, that was the right thing to happen. Life can be interesting.

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thank you for your great comments, Marie. I hadn’t planned on sharing my story at the start, it just ended up coming out that way. And, I wasn’t considering turning it into a fiction piece before, but now you have given me something to think about. 🙂

      I found the following sentence of yours particularly interesting. “I’ve had curious experiences where circumstances propelled me beyond my little fears as though fate, or something, wasn’t giving me a choice to give in to them.” I can completely relate to this, and have found it to be incredibly exciting where it does feels like you are being propelled past your fears by something greater than yourself.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

  2. Franklin Thomas
    Franklin Thomas says:

    Great Story! I can definitely can relate. I had made a huge mistake years ago when I was in my early 20’s. Without revealing the specifics, I actually let fear keep me in a relationship way longer than I should have been. I had fear that I would not find anyone else. I had fear about what people would think of me if I left that relationship and I had fear of hurting her feelings. It was a crazy move to stay in a relationship I didn’t want to be in. I did finally get out, however, it wasn’t without a fair amount of pain. If I had only made the decision earlier I might have experience some discomfort at the time, but would have adverted the major pain due to the consequences of my fearful decision.

    After that, I decided I would no longer let fear stop me from doing just about anything and to this day, fear is rarely a driving force in my life.

    Thanks for the post!

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with fear! It can make us do strange things, including going against that little voice inside that tells us to do something else. I have found in my life that sometimes I have plunged on regardless due to the fear and have been left to pick up the pieces later.

      I love the statement that you made: “fear is rarely a driving force in my life.” I’m so glad that you no longer let it stop you from doing just about anything you want, that is awesome!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Randi Anderson
    Randi Anderson says:

    LOVE this post so much. (I’m so happy you said yes!)

    I tend to give in to fear too often — but then, I also have difficulty discerning my fears from reasonable doubts. Fortunately fear did not prevent me from moving to Russia, but then there was some divine intervention involved in that. Story for another day. 😉

    Right now fears and doubts are keeping me back from building my freelance writing business, so I think I’ll need to keep your story in mind this month! Thank you so much for sharing. <3

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thank you for your thoughts Randi! It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between fear and reasonable doubts. I think the fears that can cause the most problems are the ones rooted in our childhood that still dictate the actions we take today! If we listen carefully to that voice of fear—it tends to sound more immature. For example: If I do that ‘thing’, then no one will like me anymore. So I think asking ourselves if the fear is irrational helps us decided whether we should listen to it or not!

      I look forward to hearing your divine intervention story about moving to Russia, sounds intriguing!

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Amy Zlatic
    Amy Zlatic says:

    What a fantastic story! In our relationship, mine and my husband’s, he was the one who never wanted to discuss the future. In fact, I couldn’t even say the word “marriage,” so it became “the M word,” just like you wrote! I kept a sheet of paper that I had written in thick, black Sharpie “No M word” taped above the television in my apartment, to remind myself not to bring it up when we spoke on the phone (he was at a different college). Obviously, like your husband, I eventually won, but it took awhile for him to move past his fear. I wasn’t always patient, but he was definitely worth the wait. For me, I think my fear is along the lines of not starting big projects because of fear that I will never finish them, or fear that I will (and then they’ll be rejected). I use lots of excuses: I’m tired, I’m too busy, etc. In fact, I’ve started on a new book and the next step is reaching out to people to interview, and I’m so afraid of rejection that I’ve already put it off a week. “Why will those people want to talk to ME?” I don’t have any tricks or tips, at least not yet. I’m still fighting through the fear!

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thanks so much, Amy, for sharing a little of you and your husband’s story. That’s so funny that word marriage was also dubbed ‘the M word’ in your relationship too! I’m so glad your husband was able to move past his fear eventually.

      As far as moving past your current fears, you just have to step out and DO IT! There is no other way of getting there. The thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful is not talent or knowledge, (though obviously having certain skills is a plus for the quality of your work). But, when it comes down to the wire, sticking it out there is the number one thing that separates both groups. The ones that succeed are still afraid, they just take a deep breath and plunge on regardless.

      And the ones that don’t, fail anyway, by not stepping out! Failure is not the worst thing that can happen, not trying is, because one day the question one come back and haunt you…what if I had tried?

  5. James Stack
    James Stack says:

    What a lovely, in its way, story. Thanks for posting. I find that I have had way too much fear in my life, but I’m also one of those people who push through it more often than not. However, I still let some fears control my life – phobias mostly. For many years, after a failed relationship, I didn’t think I’d ever find someone to share my life. Yes, it was a fear as I’m a social animal and like pairing off. No fear of commitment on my part here. It seemed that those who wanted a relationship with me were not those I was interested in. And then, for the last 36 years, I’ve been very happily paired off. During many of the early years I feared desertion, but we are still together. Fear can be a crippler if it is allowed to be. Now my fears relate to old age, but I do my best not to think of them. Being here now is the most joyful thing we can do. The one constant in life is change. Fear not.

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, James. Yes, fear can show up in many different forms. But, I loved your thoughts on the fear of growing old–“Being here and now is the most joyful thing we can do.” Wise words, and ones to live by!

  6. Kat McCormick
    Kat McCormick says:

    This is such a lovely post, SK. I enjoy different life stories. The similarities and differences never cease to amaze me. And I found this post very inspiring. In most aspects of life, I think I tend to err on the side of too little fear. Or perhaps I am just really good at ignoring my fear. Except when it comes to tight spaces with too many people. Then, I run for the hills. When it comes to writing, I am far more fearful. I think this is related to my perfectionist tendencies – it’s all or nothing. I’ve been getting better. Having a mantra helps me. So does a routine. So does a support group. And I imagine that would translate well for any fear…

    Thanks for the post!

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Kat, it is wonderful that you are so fearless, or, that you’re really good at ignoring your fear! Some people would pay good money for that skill!

      If you already have a strategy that works in other areas of your life, then you can probably apply that the same strategy, thinking, and belief systems to your writing–and expect similar results! You already know how to conquer fear, which is wonderful!

      Thanks so much for sharing, these are really great and helpful points!

  7. DMG Byrnes
    DMG Byrnes says:

    As predicted, you certainly delivered, SK. This is a lovely post; it’s ironic how often true events seem to sound like fiction, where fiction must make sense, generally, to be considered worth reading. How wonderful to be so loved that he didn’t let you run away, any of the times you tried, and that you eventually stopped. Beautiful.

    I know fear too well, it has shaded my steps most of my life; trauma at a young age does strange things to the brain, compounded with more over the years, well, c’est la vie. I’ve made a lot of progress in many ways, and often I’m acting or reacting without stopping to think so that fear doesn’t suck me down…at least not all the time. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing!

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      I’m lucky that he persevered DMG! I wonder if I would still be single now if he hadn’t stuck by my side and kept pursuing!

      It’s wonderful that you often act or react without stopping to think so that fear doesn’t suck you down! When we spend too much time thinking about our next step it can often lead us off the track and put a stop to our adventures!

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. S. C. McCole
    S. C. McCole says:

    Jumps up from his assigned seat and with a wipe of the mist from his eyes, starts clapping like a maniac.
    “Bella, Bella! Bravo! Bravissimo!!”
    Aww, SK, damn you, You get me every time.
    You’re posts are really something special. (How you get those absolutely perfect images, I’ll never know: sandy freedom? Moving waves? I mean, c’mon, dayum.)

    • S.K. Lamont
      S.K. Lamont says:

      Thank, you, S.C. for your kind comments. I’m so glad you enjoy my posts! 🙂 As far as the images go, I get a lot of help from my amazing hubby! He is an awesome graphic designer, amongst his many other talents, so I’m a bit spoiled in that department!

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