As I’m re-reading a book I love I’m thinking about how you might like it too.

I’m thinking how valuable one of the many lessons is that Elizabeth Gilbert shares near the very beginning of her bestselling book, The Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear.  Have you read it?  If not, I recommend it highly.

She writes as though she’s speaking directly to me.  As I read her words, she could be sitting across from me over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. I hear her voice.  She’s witty and real. She strikes at the heart of the matter.  The whole book is worth your time.

Fear You Need and Fear You Don’t Need

Let me share with you just a bit of it so you can decide for yourself if you want to check it out.

You’ll find this in the first Chapter, called Courage, where she tells a story about how she was consumed by fear as a young girl—fear of almost everything.  She had a very small comfort zone.  She shares one of the more comprehensive and humorous lists I’ve seen of what we might be afraid of, too.

As an adolescent, Elizabeth came to realize that “fear is boring.”  She describes how she discovered this and what she chose to do instead.  And she shares a very important lesson about fear you need and fear you don’t need.  And her advice is so practical it’s easy to follow.

Road Trip with Fear

When she starts something new she thinks about it as though she’s going on a road trip.  Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I cordially invite fear to come along with me everywhere I go.  I even have a welcoming speech prepared for fear, which I deliver right before embarking upon any new project or big adventure.

“It goes something like this:

“Dearest Fear:  Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together.  I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do.  I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously.  Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job.  So by all means, keep doing your job, if you must.  But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused.  And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring.  There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this:  Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed.  You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.  You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature.  Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio.  But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.’

“Then we head off together—me and creativity and fear—side by side by side forever, advancing once more into the terrifying but marvelous terrain of unknown outcome.”

Are you hooked?  Read the book!  I have it on my Kindle, with bookmarks and highlights throughout so it’s easy to reference.

You’ll love the lesson about fear you need and fear you don’t need—and so many more.


From my courageous heart to yours, with warm {{{hugs}}} …

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P.S.  If you’re a divorced professional woman and would like to share the fear you need and fear you don’t need, and get some help to move past it, please join the conversation in our exclusive, by-invitation-only Facebook group called Thrive after Divorce: Your Journey Begins.