What’s holding you back?

When I was 21, I thought I was bold and unafraid. I left the UK and I immigrated to Vancouver BC Canada, a life-changing step for me!

I figured I was afraid of nothing and doing everything possible to succeed, and then some.

Travel enabled me to see the world around me in ways I never imagined. I was young, energetic, and life had many possibilities. I was eager to see both sides of every argument, in truth my mind was closed. Closed by the ego of youth, shut by the burning desire to know I was right (and the fear of being wrong).

The desire to be ‘in the know’ blinded me to my weaknesses. It prevented me from understanding that the path to success lies in discovering what you don’t know.

At 21, my entire life was work, getting settled and socializing, in that order. Nothing else mattered. I ignored or dismissed anything I considered to be outside of these three, and that included self-growth.

The year was 1966 and the economy was booming. The opportunity to speak came up I didn’t understand public speaking — it was daunting and foreign — so I told myself it was lame. I dismissed it because I feared it, and convinced myself that it was not right for me.

I’ll never know what kind of opportunities I missed out because I spent years in ignorance of one of the most powerful communication, business building tools in the history of humankind. It was a time of enormous possibility, and I was afraid to jump in.

The point isn’t that I would have become the next “Tony Robbins” had I embraced public speaking at 21. I closed a door on myself because I was afraid and didn’t know it. My mistake was my lack of self-awareness, and I believe this is will always limit your potential.

Self-awareness is the essence of emotional intelligence, a skill that you need in abundance to succeed in life.

Whether you’re 21 or 51, continually ask yourself:

What am I afraid of and why?

You can improve your self-awareness by actively leaning into your discomfort, what you desire is often on the other side of fear. Either fear will hold you back or be the inspiration to ask your-self; What am I afraid of and why?