When You Deny Your Dreams, You Deny a Piece of Yourself. How Will You Ever Feel Whole?

Craig Stanland
2 min readMay 4, 2021

Writing and publishing my memoir wasn’t easy.

Landing and delivering a TEDx wasn’t easy.

Running a successful Kickstarter campaign during a pandemic wasn’t easy.

In fact, there were times that these were absolutely horrible experiences — the fear, the doubt, the rejections, the overwhelming uncertainty.

Consistently stepping into the unknown, over and over in the face of doubt and fear,

“Who do you think you are?”
“You have no idea what you’re doing.”
“You’re going to fail, and your life will be over.”

Stepping into the unknown can feel like this — “your life will be over.”

This level of overwhelm makes it very easy to stay in the status quo, live life on automatic, settle for breadcrumbs and hide in plain sight.

But why do we so often focus on the fear of taking action?

But what about the cost of inaction? Why don’t we look at this more?

What is the cost of inaction? Regret, shame, and the erosion of our self-worth.

Because when we have a dream, goal, and passion — and we don’t take action towards it — we erode our self-worth.

We’re telling ourselves we’re not worthy of what lights us up — and when we do this — we give birth to shame and regret.

And the more shame we have in our lives, the more difficult it becomes to take the 1st step. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of living on automatic and settling for breadcrumbs.

It feels “safe” to stay in the coziness of the status quo.

The status quo is anything but safe; it’s a trap.

It’s easy to think our lives will be over when we put ourselves out there and pursue our dreams.

This is patently false — in fact — this is when you come alive.

Writing the book, the TEDx, the Kickstarter — yes, they were hard.

But I’ve never felt more alive — precisely because I consistently walked into the unknown, over and over in the face of doubt and fear.

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.