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One of the common ways we block success is by refusing to take action on a project or opportunity until we can see the entire pathway from start to finish. We are afraid to start because the outcome is uncertain. While we plan, think, research, and analyze, the opportunity slips away.

Highly successful people take a different approach. They just lean into it—they open themselves to opportunities and become willing to do what it takes to pursue opportunities further, without any expectations. They say “yes” to opportunities, take the first step, and then find out along the way if they want to keep going.

Stop Worrying About the “How”

When we are presented with opportunities or envision big goals, one question that stops us dead in our tracks is “But how will I do it?” Even if we can picture the goal and get excited about the end result, our minds quickly start doubting our ability to turn our dreams into reality.

For example, you may picture yourself as a best-selling author, but then a little voice in your head reminds you that you don’t know the first thing about writing a book, that odds are stacked against you getting a publishing contract, that you have never marketed a book before, and dozens of other pieces of proof that you don’t know how to achieve your goal.

The beauty of just leaning into it is that it creates momentum. Taking even one step forward broadcasts your intent to the world. The universe responds by sending the opportunities, resources, and people who can help you just at the right time for you to benefit the most from them.

Just leaning into it becomes a process of co-creating with the universe. Become willing to explore the unknown and trust that the answers and resources you need will appear. All you need to do is keep taking the logical next steps. The journey will take you where you want to go, or even someplace better.

Roadblocks or Redirection?

In The Success Principles, I share the story of a singer named Jana Stanfield. After several years working in Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter and recording artist, she concluded that trying to get a record deal was like pounding her head against a wall. She could try forever without any guarantee of success.

What Jana later realized is that when you lean into it, roadblocks are put into your path to force you onto a different path—a path that may be truer to your real purpose. She learned that even when you can’t move forward, you can turn right or left, but you have to keep moving.

By continuing to take the next logical steps, Jana found herself singing at churches. Responding to audiences’ requests for her songs on a CD, she hired an engineer to record ten of her songs. The first time she offered her songs for sale after a church service, she made more money than she had earned that entire week in her job. She was fulfilling her purpose in her own unique way.

Today, her company produces more than fifty motivational concerts each year around the world. She started her own recording company, and her songs have been recorded by singers such as Reba McEntire and Andy Williams, as well as featured on Oprah, 20/20, and Entertainment Tonight.

Feel the Fear but Act Anyway

As you move forward, you will have to confront your fears. Fear is natural. Most people let fear stop them from taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams. Successful people, on the other hand, feel the fear but don’t let it stop them.

Some people will do anything to avoid feeling fear. It’s understandable—fear is uncomfortable. But most of the good stuff in life requires taking a risk, and the truth is that taking a risk means that it might not work out.

Successful people are willing to take a leap of faith, even if they are afraid. They know that if you don’t act, opportunity will pass you by. As former attorney general and U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” I also truly believe that if a goal isn’t a little bit scary or if it doesn’t create a bit of fear within you, it’s probably not worth doing. So many people stop because “they are scared.” I say, feel that feeling and get excited because feeling that fear means you are on to something good!

Look at your list of goals for 2013. Which have you been ignoring because you fear the risk you’ll have to take to make that dream come true? Which have you been ignoring because you simply don’t know where to start? As you consider these goals, ask yourself what you can do to simply lean into it. What are the logical first steps that you can take to begin exploring making these dreams a reality? Acknowledge your fear and lean into it anyway. Small steps will help to build confidence and dissipate your fear, while also creating momentum to attract the resources you need to achieve your biggest goals.


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

*Photo Credit: Sangudo via Compfight cc