You Must Do The Thing You Think You Cannot Do

I am inspired by strong women and I love to learn from them. I love how everyone I encounter has a special set of strengths and something unique to teach me. It is always my prayer that I can be humble, present, and focused to learn from their wisdom.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do | Eleanor Roosevelt quote

One of the women I love to learn from is Eleanor Roosevelt. In her 1960 book, “You Learn By Living,” (aff) she eloquently expressed some words that I strive to live by:

The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.

You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Everything you desire is on the other side of fear.Eleanor Roosevelt’s words are so powerful because they resonate with your soul and you know they are truth. Deeply you know that what you desire is on the other side of fear, and that the cave you seek to enter holds the treasure you seek.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek. Joseph Campbell quote

And though you know you have achieved great things and you’ve overcome so much, there’s still a voice inside you telling you 

this time is different

you don’t have what it takes

you don’t stand a chance

It’s the voice of fear. The voice of fear is always lurking, catching you off guard, and holding you back. 

And if you ware wondering: what is fear? where does it come from? and how do I get rid of it so I can live a life I love? Here’s a message from your fear:

I am Fear

I am the menace that lurks in the paths of life, never
visible to the eye but sharply felt in the heart. I am the father of despair, the brother of procrastination, the enemy of progress, the tool of tyranny.

Born of ignorance and nursed on misguided thought, I have darkened more hopes, stifled more ambitions, shattered more ideals and prevented more accomplishments than history could record.

Like the changing chameleon, I assume many disguises. I masquerade as caution. I am sometimes known as doubt or worry. But whatever I’m called, I am still fear, the obstacle of achievement. I know no master but one.

Its name is Understanding. I have no power but what the human mind gives me, and I vanish completely when the light of understanding reveals the facts as they really are, for I am really nothing.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, and Eleanor’s husband, said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. We must fear fearful thoughts. 

The only thing we have to fear is fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt quote

Fearful thinking can be greatest thief, robbing us of our joy, our freedom, our time, our energy, and our peace, because fear is usually unrealistic and unnecessary, and I daresay ungodly: fear prevents us from living up to our fullest potential, from embracing new possibilities, and from progressing toward our purpose.

Sure, there are occasions in which you will be in true danger, so the avoidance of fear is not the solution. Fear, like all the emotions granted to us, can serve us in our life experience, however, we must learn to discern when it involves deception, when it is based in a hypothesis of something that may or may not happen.

I had an experience with fear last week as I embarked on my second semester and started my first week of math. Math is science, art, and in this case, a requirement to get my college degree. 

“Pfft, I know that!,” you may be thinking.

I thought I did too. But sitting on my student desk, with a pencil in my hand, feeling the pressure of the clock, and the timed worksheet filled of math problems, math seemed like a roaring lion that was chasing me in the wilderness. I was trembling, sweating, and stuck in my frantic thinking, convinced that I wouldn’t survive it, and struggling to come out of my tormenting fantasy. I was safe, but I didn’t know it. 

As my friend Les Brown likes to say, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s up to us to destroy this evidence, get a grip and get unstuck so we don’t remain paralyzed.

Let’s go through some steps you can go through to combat the inescapable state we call fear:

The Positive Mom list #1Identify the fear ~ fear has many disguises – and types. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of pain, fear of judgment, fear of success… Sometimes we’re using overthinking, procrastination, perfectionism, or busyness to cover up a deep fear. That’s why doing the thing you think you cannot do is so freeing. You realize you always could do it and you have finally aligned with your divine nature. 

“There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams because they over thought it, or they were too cautious, and were unwilling to make the leap of faith.” James Cameron quote

The Positive Mom list #2Determine the cost ~ Thinking about what not facing my fear will cost always gives me so much perspective. While I’m scaring myself, I am robbing myself of the present moment and the future possibilities. When you do the thing you think you cannot do, you can achieve the things you most desire to achieve.

The Positive Mom list #3Determine the false payoff ~ Sometimes we are guilted into thinking that if we are in fear is “because our faith is not big enough.” I personally know that my faith is already bigger than my fears, but this doesn’t mean I won’t be in panic from time to time. The thing about fear is that is a manipulative state that you feel has a payoff. Not dealing with your monthly bills and putting that off now will gives you a sense of relief, just as would for me to avoid my math class, but in hindsight, we know the pay off is not only temporary, it’s also false. So as you look at what you are afraid of, procrastinating, or on the fence about, what “good” do you see in it? What “comfort” do you find? 

When I found out I really wanted to share my life with an eternal partner and to build a traditional family with him, I understood that I kept telling myself lies that caused me to find false security. I told myself I was an empowered single mom, but that was not the case when I was settling for less than I desired, based on the payoff “I won’t be hurt again.”  In which area of your life are you settling, hiding, or holding yourself back? Uncover what the payoff is and expose the lie.

The Positive Mom list #4Determine the real payoff ~ In some cases, like my math class, the real payoff is tangible, like a grade. I not only didn’t die, but I got an A grade on my assignments this week. I did the thing I thought I could not do and the pay off was unimaginable. Someone once said “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. it comes from overcoming what you once thought you couldn’t.” After I released the fearful thinking that consumed me, suffocated me, and overwhelmed me, I could find the clarity to know what steps I needed to take to move forward with greater confidence, and I plan to continue to do so the rest of the semester. What’s your “A+”? What’s the real pay off? How much do you want it? And most importantly: Is your false payoff worth keeping the fear? 

Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming what you once thought you couldn't. | Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM

The Positive Mom list #5Find a replacement ~ There’s a parable in the New Testament about an unclean spirit that is cast out of a man. The evil spirit returned because the man did not replace the evil with other words, thoughts, feelings, or actions (Mathew 12:43-45).

Ask yourself: What am I going to replace the fear with?  We must constantly cast out the sneaky, manipulative, crippling state that is fear, and replace it with something uplifting that will bring us power. As you love yourself more, you will fear less.  Osho taught that when you love, fear disappears, and when you are afraid, love disappears. 

When you love a person, all fear disappears. When you are afraid, all love disappears. Osho quote

When we meet our fear with understanding, FEAR IS NOTHING and you must – and you can – do the thing you thought you could not do, for it is through the release of fear that you will grow, expand, and evolve into the woman God wants you to be! 

What is one fear you have decided to conquer? Share your thoughts and comments below! Mucho love! 

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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51 thoughts on “You Must Do The Thing You Think You Cannot Do

  1. I have come up against this in my life so many times. I have let the fear of something paralyze me and keep me from trying to do something, only to finally do it much later than I should have and then realize that it really wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. I really love everything about this post, thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. I’ve been getting really stressed and anxious lately. I gave myself these huge goals and am putting lots of pressure to achieve them. I needed your post today for that boost of encouragement.

  3. Omg love this!!! I’m all about overcoming those things I’m afraid of! It’s only then do you start to see real success!

  4. I have learned that if I live in fear, that fear usually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy! This is a beautiful post, thank you for writing. I loved the “I Am Fear” letter

  5. Fear is a thief of time, life, love, and whatever else it tries to steal from you. My latest fear was getting on Live video. Yes, sounds small, but it really was such a big deal inside my head. I read recently that the fear of doing the thing is greater than the thing you fear – this pushed me to face it and move on.

  6. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13
    this is my favorite verse. after reading your post, the verse suddenly popped into my mind. I think I should learn to fight the fear! great post!

  7. Fear is one of our biggest enemies when it comes to achieving our goals. I think these pointers are helpful especially since it’s going to inspire you to face your fears and just go after your dreams.

  8. I really hate myself when my fear comes to my mind. This powerful post makes me inspire and do a good thing to achieve my goals.

  9. Everything is on the other side of fear! People let fear stand in the way , way too many times. The unknown and the question keep most people back. Until they are willing to face it and go beyond the unknown- they will never know

  10. I think fear can be a positive and a negative. It all depends on how you look at it and in what situation it applies to. You have to know whether it is your gut telling you to be afraid on your subconscious holding you back from trying something new.

  11. Okay I love what Les Brown said about FEAR. I have never seen it spelled out like that and it is amazing. I also love “when we met our fear with understanding, fear is nothing”. So many great nuggets of wisdom in this.

  12. This is such a motivating post! I agree with Cindy Ingalls on her comment about positive and negative fear. For me, as a claustrophobic person, I’m trying to get help to fight this fear.

  13. False Evidence Appearing Real is such a useful tool to use when you notice that fear is holding you back. Just remind yourself that it’s not real!

  14. I love that saying “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. It is so true, it stops me from doing things all the time but usually when you actually attempt it you find you can do it and it feels amazing

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  16. Great motivational post. I also love the quote by Elenor Roosevelt. I was in that place last year and I came through and feel great. It was hard a that moment in time, but it was worth it for the future that I have yet to see!

  17. I lived through fear up until 2 years ago when I left my job. I was afraid of stepping out and doing my own thing. Now 3 years later I’m my own boss making more than my old 9-5

  18. One thing I’ve been fearful of since 2010 is being in an airplane. I had a terrible experience on a flight back from India and, ever since then, my mind takes over and I imagine the worst possible things happening to me! That being said, I can never NOT fly anymore. My family lives everywhere in the world and if I let fear take over, I’d never get to see them. I am getting better. I’ve learned coping strategies (e.g. when there is bad turbulence, I look to see how the air stewardess reacts. It is generally calm and unafraid, which reminds me that everything is oK with the plane).

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  22. Reading your post made me realize that even when I don’t think I have fear (when it is not obvious like fearing falling or burning myself with the stove), worry and doubt are the ways in which fear presents itself. It does take away a lot of my energy and time when I’m experiencing those emotions. Thanks for writing this and giving me a new perspective to get rid of fear and achieving what seems impossible to do at times.

  23. Wow!!! Incredible article. I think I am afraid to succeed. With success comes responsibility. With weight loss, comes a lifestyle change. With financial success comes constant work. This is a powerful post. Looking forward to writing about it on the assignment. 🙂

  24. Great post with great tips not just to know what fear is but also to help us identify fear. I love the actionable tips to overcome them any time they appear. I agree with you, we can overcome one fear but that is not the end, because every situation has its own challenges and may hide an unconscious fear, so we need to keep ourselves aware and questioning until we know for sure if that what is holding us back is real or just appear to be real. i also like the approach to focus on the real payoff to overcome fear.

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