Start the Climb: Take One Purposeful Step

Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” ~H. Jackson Browne

When I close my eyes and ponder the dreams that I have, the hopes and wishes that I cradle in my heart, I wonder what has prevented me from reaching for and achieving them. Oh, I come up with a whole slew of excuses, sometimes disguised as “reasons.”

The seeker of my truth fires back with a rebuttal most of the time.

“It is better to attempt and fail than fail to make any attempt at all,” it says in response to my ego’s ramblings about how I won’t ever succeed.

“You make time for what is important to you,” my inner light says in response to my ego’s musings about how busy my life is, working a full-time job, while also parenting two active, small children.

Regardless of the excuse, it can always boil down to one thing. Fear.

I lost my dad traumatically and unexpectedly in 2003. I spent the next eight years wading through the sadness and anger, searching for some deeper meaning, some explanation for how serendipitously and “coincidentally” it all unfolded.

Then in 2011, I made an amazing discovery that was ultimately life changing. The catalyst for this shift in my being was a referral from a friend to read a book about life after death.

Suddenly, I realized that my soul, my intuition, my gut—it had something to say about how I should purposefully fulfill my path in this lifetime.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to differentiate between these disparate voices and messages I was receiving. Is it my head or my gut?

The ego is fear-driven. It relishes in success, achievement, and status. It directs you to analyze the route that leads to all of these things. 

Intuition is heart driven and does not equate status and success with happiness, but rather is the essence of happiness. The simple act of listening to intuition results in serenity.

Differentiating between these voices takes practice. When making a decision, consider asking yourself, “Is this decision based on a fear of failure and a desire to succeed, or is this choice based on your heart’s desire to express itself?”

Differentiating between these voices is a lifelong journey for most of us.

The next fork in the road, for me, came when I realized that my true self had been fighting in my corner all along, while my fear, my ego, and my head conspired to hold me back.

I woke up one night worrying about my job, and ultimately was paralyzed by the fear that I’d have to work as a teacher for the rest of my life, long after my desire and my drive to teach had left me. I’ve loved my job, as it has meaning and value, but I also knew that my intuition was nudging me in new directions.

Would I be able to step away from the security that this full-time job provides?

I imagined that I was on my deathbed and wondered what it would be like to look back at a life half-lived. I reflected on the miracles in my life, for they are plenty. My family, children, and friends are all that I could have ever asked for and a ton more.

I got a great education. I took advantage of opportunities for growth in my work. And I feel successful in the choices I’ve made up to this point.

There it was, though, that nagging voice inside me that said, “You can do more, you can be more, reach for the stars, publish that book you’ve always wanted to write, do it without fear, and do it with vigor, for you are amazing, and you are worthy!” 

It was this day, late in 2011, when I made a choice to kick fear in the teeth and let my true self do its thing, the thing that I’d been suppressing for so long: writing.

Not only did I just start to write, I also told that fear of judgment to take a hike and I started publishing my writing on a blog. For everyone to see. For everyone to read. For everyone to judge.

I was scared, and it took some courage, but ultimately I decided that I didn’t care because that’s how bad I wanted it.

I started to feel like I was taking a step in the direction of my life’s purpose despite the fear, and sometimes judgmental reactions from some of the people in my life. My inner light adjusted, kicked the doubt to the gutter, and stepped up to defend the truth that is me.

I’m not yet working as a full-time writer, which is my dream, but despite the fear that I’ve given an incredible amount of power, I’ve started the climb. 

In the past three months, I have set and reached goals which, just a year ago, my fear didn’t allow me to even entertain. As each week passes, I make new goals that lead me to fragile branches.

The reward, though, is directly related to the degree of risk.

I’ve realized that the hardest part of the journey was truly and deeply accepting the truth that I can do anything that I want to do. Yes, it’s true (deep breath)!

Do you believe the same? If you’re also struggling to overcome your fear, remember to:

1.  Listen to your intuition.

The biggest challenge here is deciphering the messages that come from our head and those that come from our gut, or our divine self. I remember the feeling of awe when I discovered that my inner voice even existed, and that there truly is a difference between the judgmental ego and the divine voice.

Pure bliss ensued when I understood that intuition is never wrong. Letting go of the perceived security that our ego provides feels scary, but marinating in the magic that is our intuition brings true security.

How do we find that voice? How do we know what it sounds like? It is the calm, quiet, certain whisper that never intends to harm you or anyone in your path. It is the creative, sure, knowing feeling that connects you to the flow of your own purpose and in the direction of your highest good.

It takes practice, stillness, and patience to connect to this inner voice. It is there, waiting for you to tune in.

2.  Pinpoint and label the root of the fear.

We work so hard to avoid our fears that sometimes we choose detours (that surely come from the insecurity of our ego) instead of tackling the climb.

When we dissect and compartmentalize our fear into tangible parts, we are better able to address each component. Categories of fear might include financial concerns, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, and fear of disappointing others.

3.  Tackle manageable pieces bit by bit.

Once we identify the parts of fear that need to be tackled, we can use intuition as a guide and start to climb that tree, one small step at a time.

Trusting your intuition means that you may sit with fear, anxiety, and insecurity, but you allow yourself to follow your inner voice as you work through those feelings and move forward. And it doesn’t need to happen overnight.

Instead of climbing the entire tree in one day, or one week, or one month, we can plan to climb just a couple feet each week. As we long as we consistently check in with our intuition, we will have a strong motivation to keep going.

We can choose to partake in life each day with a fulfilling purpose, or we can choose to watch our lives pass us by, fed by fear.

I choose the former, bit-by-bit, step-by-step. Which will you choose?

Photo by Darcy McCarty

About Kirsten Tulsian

Kirsten Tulsian is a mother, fourth grade teacher, and counselor. She has a MEd in School Counseling. Her desire to write and publish children’s books led her to start a blog in December of 2011. She strives to find the magic of the unseen world and find purpose in this human experience.

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  • HaleyMia

    Thank you so much for this post, Kirsten.  I’ve literally just come to the realization in the past 24 hours that all the logic in the world can’t change this feeling in my gut.  Yesterday I decided to end things with a person who manipulated my head almost constantly for the past year & a half, but deep inside of me I always knew something wasn’t right.  I am obviously upset today, but I am hoping I can find the bliss you wrote about by trusting my intuition, or my true, inner self!  Best, Haley

  • Mike

    Awesome post and photo! Figuring out the difference bn gut and ego is a challenge. It has been my experience that the gut seeks love and peace and ego seeks glory at the expense of others…

  • E Speranza

    Very beautifully written! Very, very strong post! I say, you go girl, for the writer in you has spoken! Thank you. 

  • Lv2terp

    FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience!!! 🙂  Intuition is powerful and never fails, it is sad our ego is so loud and interferes often.  This is a beautiful post! 🙂

  • Suegrilli

    Kristen, great post and beautifully written. I felt like I could substitute your feeling for writing with my feeling for painting. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisalisa46

    AWESOME Post!  I struggle with this very thing, and always have all my life. Two years ago, I took a deep breath, and started my online humor blogs, and blogs of a more serious nature.  To my delight, I have gotten mostly positive feedback, however, I was surprised to find that I was more delighted that I had finally gotten the courage to show myself…Now, at almost 50, I am singing in a classic rock band – another thing I had always “known” I could do, but was too chicken.  Like you said, baby steps….The next thing I want to do is write lyrics for country and pop artists…but my ego is fighting me on this one:)  Anyway, thanks again…these posts on this blog always seem to come to me when I need them most!  Great job!!

  • Sanchi Grover

    this is true very true. u just have to start ,  initiate  .

  • This is awesome Lisa!  Right now, we have this one life to live and you have clearly chosen to truly follow your heart!  Kudos to you!

  • lana

    Great article! What is the name of the book that you read?

  • dancingbaglady

    Sing it. Yes.

  • Good for you, Haley, for listening to your inner wisdom!  Change and loss are two of the hardest things in the world.  Despite the sadness and loss, continue to trust your intuition, for it won’t steer you wrong!  Thanks for taking the time to read the post and for your heartfelt comment.  Love and light, Kirsten

  • Thank you!
    The name of the book is Echoes of the Soul by Echo Bodine.  I’ve read many more since that time but really felt like it made a whole lot of sense and opened the gates to my spiritual understanding. 

  • This is awesome Lisa!  You are truly living life and following your heart!  
    Keep taking those baby steps, mute your ego when you can, and get to writing those song lyrics!  Kudos to you!
    Love and light,

  • Yay Sue!  So great to ‘see’ you here!  Thanks for being a part of this journey and supporting me along the way!
    Love and light,

  • Awwww, thank you!  Yes, our egos can surely be like big bullies.  So long as we can tap into our still, unwavering voice, we can recognize and quiet the bully.  I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!  Thanks for your comment.
    Love and light,

  • Ha… Thank you!  I appreciate the comment!
    Love and light,

  • Thank you!  It is SO difficult, especially when emotions are embedded in the experience.  It surely is a process and I’m taking that one step at a time as well…
    thanks for the comment!
    Love and light,

  • I loved this post today, Kirsten . I read your posts every day and often they hit the spot! I only wish I could write as heartfelt as you do and spread the joy. Thank you for doing this blog.


  • Thank you so much!  There truly is a writer in everyone!  You would surprise yourself… spend 30 minutes a day writing and you are a WRITER!  
    I appreciate your comment so much!
    Love and light,

  • Mona Sethi

    Wow! Loved your article, Kirsten. It moved me so much, brought a tear to my eye. Time to un-think and in-still for me to tune it to that inner voice that I so wanna communicate with. Thank you. 🙂

  • Sallyb

    I’m inspired by this post! I’m at a point in my life where I know I want to shift my whole direction but just need to take the plunge. I shall print out your post and put it on my kitchen wall  – once my thoughts and feelings are ‘out there’ rather than just in my head I may find it easier to act on them. Or more difficult to ignore them!

  • Thank you for your comment Mona!  Great way to put it… ‘un-think and in-still’!
    Love and light,

  • Awesome Sally!  I’m so moved that you feel inclined to print it and use it to help you along your path!  Sending my best to you!
    Love and light,

  • Thanks for sharing part of your journey with us. I checked out your blog, and it seems like listening to your gut and getting started was definitely the right choice. 🙂  I share a similar journey – a little less than a year ago, I took the plunge and started my blog. It’s been a rocky road, and initially I wouldn’t tell ANYONE about it… I was so afraid of what they would say. But like you, I’ve told my fear of judgment to take a hike, and now I’m telling anyone who will listen. 🙂

    Wanted to add… I loved the part about knowing what your intuition sounds like. It’s so easy to confuse your head with your soul – until you really feel the difference. For me, the head is often FRANTIC – it worries, it’s unsure… That’s the easiest way to tell the difference. If it sounds like panic and fear? That’s your stupid ego talking. If it’s calm, coming from a place of knowing? Intuition.

  • This is awesome Kaylee!  I’m going to check out your blog.  Good for you!
    Calm is the key word with the intuition… if I can keep that in mind, it is so much easier to differentiate.  I just wish I could ‘remember’ it during the mundane moments, the small decisions, and the moment to moment choices that are made.
    Thanks so much for the reply!
    Love and light, Kirsten

  • Hitman316

    Great article. We all go through the same issues when we decide to follow our hearts. I’m also in the process of walking out of an insane (but ‘securing’) environment to go after my dreams.

    The thing that kills me is that trusting your gut almost always means you going against others’ expectations of who/what you should be. And these other people (be it your close ones or society in general) will stir the fear in you even more. Why is it that for others, ‘doing the right thing’ always ends up being something you don’t really want to do?

    It take a lot of courage to follow your heart. Keep the faith 🙂

  • yes….a resounding glad yes
    to quitting the fear
    and moving on out
    into deliciousness
    and light:):):)
    love and glad thanks,Jennifer

  • Christina

    Thank you for sharing this. I have so many fears in life and it has kept me from doing pretty much anything. I love working with children and have experience working with children. I wanted to be a teacher at first but never finished college in my early twenties. I always thought I have plenty of time to get the education I want but time does go quickly and now I’m 28 years old and still don’t have that college degree that I want more then anything. I’m planning on going back to school to be a child counselor in 2013. I just have to pay for schooling at first which will be tough but I have to have the confidence that I can do it. I look down on myself for having to go back to school at my age but that’s where your story helps because when you want something so bad, it shouldn’t matter what other people think. I know this time around I will do much better in college. I’m older and wiser now.

  • Lisabroga

    I believed this kind of theory for so long… I’ve followed what my intuition has told me many times and it’s just led me round in circles! I was following my intuition when I left my cold, wet homeland and a job that made me miserable, and emigrated to Australia, certain the right opportunities would arise as I was following my gut. The only job I could find that supported my financial commitments (mortgage on a house in Europe which hasn’t sold due to the recession), was still teaching, but in an even worse environment, doing noting for my health. My heart and passion has not been in the role for a very long time and every time I’ve followed my gut to change things, I’ve ended back at square one. I’m starting to think my intuition is just playing a sick joke on me.

  • Joshua

    Thanks very much. This is very encouraging!