Befriending the Boulders

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Many times, what blocks us from embodying our passions and talents is not necessarily obstacles but what we interpret these obstacles to mean. In designing a transformational life, our excitement can be overrun by the seeming impenetrable barriers of uncertainty, trepidation and disappointment.  But when we begin to expand our understanding of what these bumps in the road mean, we can start to see that these obstacles actually hold the treasures of insight we need to bring our design idea into our day-to-day reality.

We can look to numerous examples in history to see that brave individuals who were embodiments of their passions and talents (Mother Theresa, Beethoven, Michelangelo) also encountered enormous obstacles. And even with the obstacles, these individuals made contributions that created immense transformations in their time and place. It was not that they didn’t encounter setbacks, hardships, or failure, it was that they decided to remain committed to their passions and talents and not let the obstacles define them or their choices.

How can we do the same? How can we change our interpretation of the challenges we encounter to embody our new life design, to help move us forward instead of pulling us back? We think the exercise below might provide some helpful insight.


Write about the fears you have regarding living your new life design. Use the prompts below to help guide your thinking:


  • In this transformational life change, I am afraid that …
  • In this transformational life change, I am afraid that others might …
  • In this transformational life change, the worst thing that could happen
    to me would be …

Once you have the responses to these prompts, you can now start searching for the treasure that’s hidden within your answers. Imagine the fears you have as big boulders that threaten to stop your movement forward. Instead of berating these boulders or seeing them as signs that you should stop, get curious. What myths do the boulders you run into represent? They could be myths of “not enough …”, myths of “who do I think I am …” or myths of “no one will understand …”.  Underneath these fear myths, what treasures of truth can you unlock?

Write a few sentences about how you can overcome each fear/barrier/obstacle you wrote about that threatens to block you from living your transformational life design. When we take the time to identify personal fears and reflect on ways to overcome those moments of impossibility, we come that much closer to achieve our possibility.

We invite you to vibrantly embody your new life design by befriending your fears instead of berating them and offering your talents and passions. Whether that’s mentoring a friend, presenting on a project, sending that email announcing your work, or even just speaking aloud what dreams have been left silent within you.

Make a commitment today to face your fears and enter the cave to find the treasure that you seek.

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