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How I Stepped Out of Fear And Into The Life I Wanted

Are you feeling trapped in your life with your heart screaming for more?   If so, I get you 100%!   My advice…listen to your heart.

I moved from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area in my early 20’s to start a “life” for myself and my son.   I became a single mom at the young age of 21 and every choice I made revolved around giving my son the best life possible.   I thought moving to the Bay Area and starting a corporate career was the way to go.   After all, that is what society tells us right?

My corporate career grew and grew and it served me well while raising my son.   I was able to give him a good life in safe environments and that was my focus at the time.   But I spent most of those years stressed out, living out of my brain in a fear based mode and missing out on the beauty of life.  Not to mention I hated the “big business” world.

I’ve never been about making lots of money or having the corner office with a view, I’ve always just wanted to be happy and to help other people.  I’m a simple girl.  

I’ve wanted to be a counselor since my 20’s but wasn’t willing to go to college in the evenings after working all day and give up my precious time with my son.  So it went on the backburner.   We do that a lot with our dreams don’t we?

I grew up in the mountains far from the world’s hustle and bustle.   I worked hard on our little farm from a young age and when I wasn’t working I was outside exploring.   The amazing thing about that is I learned to connect to my heart, my internal compass, my primal instincts.   I also became very creative.  I had a connection with God even at 5 years old.  I knew I was led by something so much bigger than myself.

But when we move into the craziness of the world we have to adapt to it.  It’s amazing how quickly I went from being 100% connected to myself to being 100% disconnected from myself and from what truly MATTERS in this life.

All your insecurities start to arise, you become complacent, you might become competitive and think that your job defines who you are as a person.   This is because when we disconnect from our hearts and live from our minds, we adopt a fear based life.    We go into survival mode and try to make things happen on our own.   We become more lost than ever.

This whole idea of going to college in order to get a good job (and being in debt for most of your adult life to pay for it), getting that job and working your way up the corporate ladder, finding someone to marry, settling down to have a family, buying the house with a white picket fence, then working your butt off until you’re 65 and THEN you can finally enjoy your life…It’s not working!

This model was created after WWII and was intended to keep people “safe” but it was never developed to make people happy.  It’s a fear based model of protection from danger that might come with the unknown.  It’s a way to “control” your future. 

The thing is that each individual life is unique.   We weren’t created to follow the same path.  We were created for a purpose and a mission in this world by God’s own hands.   We will never be happy as long as we’re trying to play God and live in what we perceive as safety.

We tend to follow the crowd.   It’s what everyone is doing right?   It’s what is expected of us.  If I do something different no one will like me and I want everyone to like me.  Is this you?

Have you ever told your family or friends about your dreams just to have them tell you you’re crazy and that you can never make it happen?   Welcome to following your heart!   It seriously freaks people out.   

It’s SO IMPORTANT to realize that no one feels or hears what your heart is saying other than you.   They can’t feel your excitement and passion or understand what you are feeling.   Only you can.   And you HAVE to be ok with this.   Other people are living from their perspective, their experiences and their FEARS.    The last thing you want to do is ask other people for their advice.   

The answer is right inside of YOU.   TRUST IT.

I’m an outdoorsy adventurous girl and for 8 years I turned to things outside of myself to ease the pain and stress.   I became OBSESSED with outdoor sports and racing.   All I did outside of work was train, race, and climb mountain peaks.   I did that for 8 years and to be honest it kept me sane from my internal misery.  

BUT I had no time for family or friends who weren’t in that circle.  It would stress me out if a friend who wasn’t athletic came to town or to go to my dad’s house on a weekend because all I could think about was that I needed to be training.   It truly became an obsession.  It came first.

In 2012 everything in me was shifting.   I felt trapped.  I felt miserable and I had this desperate need for change.   I was stressed out all the time, complaining, and lost.    I felt like I was going to literally come out of my skin.  I knew I wanted something more but I had no freakin idea how to change anything.  

When you know you want change but don’t know how to do it, you will feel incredibly trapped.  It’s a terrible feeling.   Do you know it?

My son was moving out on his own and I had been a single mom for my whole adult life.   I didn’t know who I was now and I became super fearful, off track, and just out of balance all together.   This was the complete opposite of the fearless mama bear I had been the last 20 years.  

I came to the realization that I needed to move.  I needed to leave my environment in order to find myself.   I needed a fresh start.  I had to disconnect from all my sports friends who were also obsessed so that I could break free from that addiction and get it more balanced and healthy.  I knew I couldn’t do it with them around me.

At that same time my company offered me a position at the Nike Headquarters in Portland, OR and I took it.    I moved by myself from California to Oregon and even bought a house.   I wasn’t messing around…I was serious about this.   

I told God that what I was doing was NOT working and that I was giving my life to him and putting him first going forward.   I asked him to do as he pleased with me.   And that he did.

I expected this warm and fuzzy time with God as I made this life changing decision.   However, I got the complete opposite.   Little did I know I was about to go into the most stressful mess of a job that I could ever imagine with a psycho as a boss.

I led a team of 18 people who were also affected by this person and I became the team counselor more than anything.   People were crying, having chest pains…it was BAD.    I’ve never been more consistently stressed out in my life as I was for those 7 months.

At the time I didn’t realize what was happening but now I see it all so clearly.   Change requires suffering.   If we are comfortable we don’t change.   When God takes our lives and starts molding us for our true path….it hurts!!  But it’s also beautiful.

What I didn’t realize was this job that I was in was giving me clues to my path.   The journey was nothing about the job but about what my place in that job was.   I was a counselor.   I helped people through a very hard time in their lives.   

After 7 months I quit.   I was mad about what happened to me.  ME ME ME!   But on the day I left, the team came to me and told me they don’t know how they would have gotten through it without me.   One told me I was her angel that saved her.   I was dumbfounded.   I had no idea that I was making an impact, I was just being me.

Even crazier, that psycho boss…on the day I left she told me she knew I was there for a reason and thanked me for helping her to see things differently.   I almost fell off my chair.

I encourage you to REALLY look closely at the hard things you go through.   There are hidden clues to who you are and what your purpose is.   They guide you on your path.    When you look back on all your jobs and events in your life…examine them and look at where you excelled.   What were you really good at and why?

For example I always excelled in positions where I ran the show and was able to help clients, businesses, and teams to shift things and make them run more smoothly.   I have a passion for making things better for people.   

There was a time when I led a large single parent ministry in North Carolina where I got to counsel and help single moms.   

And guess what I do today?    I am an international life transformation coach growing my own business.    See the connections and the clues?  Life had been giving me clues and putting me in specific situations for a very long time before I figured it out.

It was NO EASY path through those 8 years.   When I left Nike I had no plan. All I knew is that I had to leave there NOW.   I stood to lose everything.   I did not care.   That’s how bad it was.

But…another door opened at the same time I was leaving and I took the next job.   The problem was that I kept going to the same job….different office.  I kept returning to safety.   I did this 5 times.   Yep, I quit 5 jobs in a row.   Literally up and quit with no plan.   It was because my soul was in a place of change and wasn’t willing to put up with anything that wasn’t expanding me any longer.

In between jobs I had moved back to CA for a year, then quit the job there and moved to Bend, Oregon with no job to come to.   I knew without a doubt it was where I belonged and so I went.  The doors just kept opening the more I followed my heart.

Here’s the thing…if your heart is telling you it’s time to change, you will keep going through the same lesson over and over and over again until you get it.   I kept returning to safety with each job getting more miserable than the last until I literally had nothing left in the tank to give.   If you aren’t taking the leap, things will become so difficult that you have no other choice.

What I learned?   As long as I was following my heart, God opened doors.   Each door may  have seemed more miserable but each one taught me more and more about myself and led me down my path.   

They showed me what I was doing wrong, what I needed to change, and what the next step was.  God never let me fall, he taught me that he would show up for me as long as I kept following.   People in my life who saw this unfold would say “you definitely have someone in the universe looking out for you, I can’t believe how things always fall into place for you!”

It’s now 2020 and God is moving in this world.   He is shifting things.   We are all under a shelter in place order that has caused us to slow down, to be quiet, to reconnect to ourselves and to see what is most important in life.   Things are going to start coming up in you.   What are you feeling?

Some people will feel fear, some will try to control the situation by buying 10 years worth of toilet paper, and some will stop and listen.    Who will you be?

It’s time.   God is calling you.   Get away from the noise, away from the TV, and get out in nature.   Listen to the world around you.   Get out of your head.

Finding your path and purpose doesn’t happen overnight.   God needs to prepare you and change you.   Your job is to follow his lead and take the baby steps to move in that direction.   You won’t have a road map (yikes scary!), it’s all based on faith.   Each step you take opens another door to your path.  

Fear will come a knockin…but step out in fear.

Do you want to stay stuck or do you want to live out the biggest adventure of your life?

I can finally say that I am at the place where I only choose what lights up my soul.   I’m not talking about living for yourself…I’m talking about doing those things that light you up.   Those things that make you want to scream WOOOHOOOO!!! from the mountain tops!

Write a list of all the things you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t.   I wanted to try oil painting since I was in my early 20’s but would never invest in myself.   Now I have the full setup and I’m doing it!   It lights me up.  Grab onto those things.  Invest in things that expand you.

I always said I had no creativity AT ALL.    Turns out I’m a “creative”.  I never even knew myself because I was always in my head…in survival mode.   It’s crazy what you will find when you start searching.   Get into your soul, get out of your head.   Your head is where fear lives.  

One very important thing to be aware of…is that as soon as you get excited about something, within about a minute, your brain will jump in with all the reasons why you cannot do that thing that your soul is excited about and it’s usually then that you give up and believe your brain.   PLEASE DON’T DO THIS!   Remember this is a FAITH journey and if you follow your heart doors just open, things just happen, and you CAN DO IT.    You have to trust the process.  Give up the roadmap!  Let your heart be your compass.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many crazy cool things God has done in my life in these last 8 years.   Give it a try, just listen to your heart….and see where it leads you.  

I’ve been working as a project manager for the last 3.5 years here in Bend.   Yes, I actually stayed that long in a corporate job this time.  LOL.    It’s because God put me in a place to do the final stages of clean up with my finances, with my goals and learning, and with my trust in him before he could set me free.

Well, that time has come.   I’ve been building my coaching business over the last year and a half and paying off debt to put myself in the best position possible to start this journey.   I’ve been at the point where I’m ready to fly with my business but I couldn’t launch while working a full time job and I also couldn’t just up and quit with no income being a single person with a mortgage.  I have been feeling TRAPPED and frustrated.

I was praying a few weeks ago telling God I just didn’t have anything left with my corporate job and I didn’t know how to juggle it all.   Every Sunday was spent not knowing how I was going to make it through another week.  I kept telling God I just needed a break.   A break to reconnect to myself and to launch my business.

3 days later I was put on furlough.   Totally unexpected, came out of nowhere BAM.   My job is gone.   I’m free.   AND the government provided a stimulus check, I am receiving unemployment plus the extra government unemployment stimulus for up to 4 months, and my company paid out additional money.   

God showed up in a place that seemed impossible to get out of!   I hate what the world is going through in order for this to happen but for the first time in my life I feel free.   Truly free.

I’ve talked to a few people who have been furloughed or can’t work and they have all said it couldn’t have happened at a better time and that they are thankful.   God is moving in the world people!

What will you do with this time?   Get connected, get quiet.  Hear your heart.   Trust it.   Take the action.

Please reconnect.   You have a special gift that only you can give this world and if you don’t find it, the world will be less because of it.   EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has it.   Will you act?   I hope so.

I will leave you with my life quote by the amazing Mark Twain that you will also find on my website:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you DIDN’T do than by the ones you did do. 

So throw off the bowlines. 

Sail away from the safe harbor. 

Catch the trade winds in your sails. 


Let the adventure begin!      


This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Randi

    This is great! I needed to find this today! Good luck as you move forward. I try to remind myself – No fear, God has already been there and knows what will happen and what it will take to get me there.

  2. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

    Oh I love that Randi! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, God goes before us and already knows our path so we have no reason to fear! I love your faith. Are you on a life changing journey of your own?

  3. Melody

    Thank you for sharing your story! I feel like I was meant to read it. I have allowed fear to hold me back for too long. I have recently started my journey to conquer my fear and live the life God has planned for me.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Melody I’m jumping up and down for you!! I love this! Fear is a beast no doubt….I feel ya trust me. I pray for your new journey that it will be absolutely INCREDIBLE! Hugs 🙂

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you! I appreciate that 😀

  4. Suzannah

    Very inspiring post. My family and I sold everything a year ago and started to travel full-time. It’s so refreshing and feels like we are finally doing what we’re supposed to be. Keep it up and I look forward to more inspiring posts!

  5. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

    Suzannah that is SO AWESOME! So many families are doing this and getting their lives back not to mention amazing adventures with their children. It’s an incredible feeling to be on the right path, like you said, “doing what we’re supposed to do”. So cool and I hope you are having the time of your lives! 😀

  6. Krys Ojala

    What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it! I know it will help so many people including myself! It really hit home with me.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you Krys! I really appreciate it and I hope you find your awesome life adventure! 🙂

  7. Stephanie Tapert

    Thank you so much for sharing! That was a great story and very inspiring. I hate when the brain gets in the way of our dreams! I’m excited to follow along on your journeys. Stephanie

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Oh my gosh Stephanie me too! I’m a thinker so my brain just LOVES to try taking over everything. It’s something I’ve had to learn to pay close attention to no doubt. Ugh! I hope you’ll share your journey as well 😀

  8. Abbie

    Living your life in survival mode is THE worst! I lost my dream and had no idea who I was and in the process I lost my health. I’m now getting myself back up and saying “yes” to what makes my heart soar. Thanks for your vulnerability and encouragement! Loved reading your story!

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Yes it is Abbie! I did it for most of my adult life. I completely understand where you’re coming from…I had a time in my life where I lost myself and didn’t know who I was anymore. Health wise chronic stress was killing me. But AWESOME on picking yourself back up!!!!!! That’s the key right there….letting go of the heavy crud and grabbing onto those things that make us come alive. I’m right there with ya sister! And thanks so much for the kind comments I appreciate it. <3

  9. You’ve hit the nail on the friggin’ head, girl!!! I have been through these very same paces and have come out on the other side much happier. While reading this post, there were times it was almost like reading my own. SO enjoyed being able to relate to someone else and knowing there are others out there who are listening to their heart, being open to God’s mission for us, and LIVING OUT LOUD!! Go on, girl!!!

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Dorothy this made my heart light up! We need to connect….I SO want to know about your journey too 😀 It’s all so worth it in the end isn’t it? I too love finding other people who are living from the heart, following God, and living AWESOMENESS!! It’s so rare and I’m glad you showed up here. Go get it!

  10. Robin

    That is very inspiring. I can see myself in you. Only difference is you jump, you move, you try…I stay stuck in fear, in my head, frozen and trapped. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you Robin! I just want to hug you…please don’t stay trapped. That is what holds you back in life. The power is in you! YOU CAN DO IT!! Move from the heart my friend. 🙂 I’m going to connect with you.

  11. Rev. Drea

    This was a wonderful post. I appreciate you being vulnerable and courageous enough to share your story. It is inspiring and gave a lot of great nuggets of wisdom. I look forward to hearing about your next leap of faith.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you!! I really appreciate your kind words. 🙂 I’m working on the next leap NOW! Stay tuned. 😉

  12. Robin

    You are so sweet! Thanks for the encouragement and for reaching out! I’m a determined one, just need that extra ummph! Lol I look forward to connecting with you!!

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Hi Robin! I emailed you yesterday….hope you got it. If not, shoot me an email at I’d love to connect. I know for me I feel more empowered when I surround myself with people who are also doing this. There’s power in numbers 😀

  13. Julie

    Great post!! I can’t relate to everything but there were definitely some things that hit home. I feel as if God has opened some doors, even though I feel like he opened them a little late, but He has a plan. I just need to trust that plan. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you Julie! Haha…..I can TOTALLY relate to God opening doors late (well in our opinion). I’ve been on an 8 year journey, almost 9. I’ve learned that things happen at the exact perfect timing even though we want it NOW NOW NOW! He’s got you….that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  14. Mindy

    Not gonna lie, I literally laughed OUT LOUD when you spoke about thinking your life was going to go smoothly once you told God to have His way with it. I laughed because I’ve been there all too often. He has hit my upside the head multiple times (it’s usually what is required to get my attention- I’m SO stubborn!). And it HURTS! But… as you well know, humility is liberating, albeit painful to our pride. He really does know best and the part I usually struggle with the most, is letting patience have her perfect work (James 1:4). So, kudos to you for not being afraid. Fear and faith can’t coexist. They just can’t! Forward ho!

  15. Pragati Mahapatra

    I agree with you. Especially where you talk about how it’s important to reflect on the hard stuff we go through.

    1. Denise @ Adventure Of My Life

      Thank you Pragati, have a great day!

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