Every day, we battle something. Whether we recognize it or not, we combat against ourselves to keep moving forward, to let go of bad habits, to fulfill responsibilities, etc. Every situation is unique, and every person has their own personal challenges and struggles.

One of the key ingredients to sorrow, misery, and difficulty, is the lack of optimism and courage in one’s heart and mind towards facing what opposes them. There are many external factors in what causes us difficulty, but in dealing with it, overcoming what I call, “Self-imposed Slavery” is the first step.

Often, we trap ourselves, making ourselves think that we are incapable of doing something. We think, “What’s the point? I’m gonna screw up anyways,” or, “It’s too hard,” or, “I’m not ______ enough.” We have to recognize that we are only as good as we believe we can be.

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. You feel like the weight of the world sits on your shoulders, holding you back from moving forward because you’re absolutely certain you’re going to fail. You feel like all the expectations people have of you will be shattered, especially your own expectations of yourself. No matter what you do, you know you will fail. It’s a horrific feeling, especially when you feel as though you have no choice in the matter.

More times than not, all we need is that extra little push. It’s not always a permanent solution to never feeling those nerves or sense of potential failure again, but it’s surely something that will help you move forward. I remember the first time I stood in front of an audience 10 years ago. I felt as though I was going to throw up on stage, or that I’d mess up my lines (I was acting in a play), or wouldn’t be loud enough for the audience to hear me, or that I would freeze on stage. Here’s the thing: I still feel those things every single time I stand in front of an audience. It’s always there.

However, each and every time, I find that the only solution is to just do it. Stare your fear in the face and tell it to move aside. You’ve got far too much potential to let it hold you back. I believe that we can only progress if we push forward and face our fears. Ask your heart what it wants, and go get it. Don’t let your fears of failure hold you back. You have the opportunity and the potential to achieve anything your heart desires, as long as you work incredibly hard towards it, hold strong to your faith, and maintain positivity and optimism that you will be okay, regardless of where your path leads. The happiest people are those who go after what they really want, despite the obstacles. You can achieve your dreams. You can achieve great. You just have to unlock your own shackles and set yourself free. And only you can do that. You’re the only one with the key.