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How to Turn Your Fear into Frontier

The older I get, the more conscious I become of the bricks on my road to self-fulfillment. I care less about milestones than moving toward the most authentic version of myself along the way. Every opportunity missed or embraced shapes my narrative.

Pivotal moments when I’ve chosen courage over comfort mark the most transformative episodes of my life. Crossroads force me to decide between who I am now and who I dream of becoming.

Writing for the first time in front of a live audience was scary. But I knew that growth would be exponential if I cast my ideas into the light instead of scribbling from the shadows.

I gathered an audience fast, failed to monetize that crowd, and lost my house in Long Beach. Instead of retreating, I pushed through the discomfort like a ship navigating a stormy ocean, determined to reach calmer waters.

After having lived in Southern California all my life, moving my family to Cincinnati, a city where my longest relationships were only a few months old, was terrifying. But fear of the unknown metamorphosed with the thrill of a fresh start, proving that home is a feeling I could create anywhere.

That move opened the door to opportunities and relationships that would have never met my life otherwise, leaving me with a skill set that helped me to quickly pay off that $150K in debt I had dragged with us to Ohio.

The older I get, the more conscious I become of the bricks on my road to self-fulfillment. And I care less about milestones than moving toward the most authentic version of myself along the way.  Every opportunity missed or embraced shapes my narrative.

Pivotal moments when I’ve chosen courage over comfort mark the most transformative episodes of my life. Crossroads force me to decide between who I am now and who I dream of becoming.

The Self-Publishing Podcast and Write. Publish. Repeat. served as beacons for thousands of storytellers, providing one of the most rewarding eras of my life and giving birth to the Smarter Artist brand. I shied away from the sure thing to focus on author education because I wanted to make a difference.

Instead of engineering additional bestselling series for ourselves, we showed our community exactly how we had done it, despite half of our studio’s seven-figure revenue coming from our stories, with ninety percent of our expenses coming from education.

And when that proved untenable, it was bittersweet bidding adios to that community we had nurtured so we could get back to the business of telling stories. Same for our move into Hollywood, where we knew no one and would have to start from square one. Again.

Last year was the hardest one of my life. After Sterling & Stone got blasted by twin disasters, resulting in more than a million dollars of loss. I had an easy out: shut the studio doors and sell my highly-lucrative skill set to the highest bidder.

It was much more difficult to keep my eyes on the prize and believe in the future that a studio full of storytellers could build together if we kept rowing our oars in the same direction. After a brutal year, that decision birthed the strongest lineup of books we’ve had in more than a decade of publishing, alongside a sister business, Invisible Ink Media, which is growing faster than anything I’ve ever had a hand in building before.

Complacency, often disguised as comfort, is a silent adversary of growth, lulling me into a false sense of security, where fear of failure or the unknown might blockade potential and limit the lives of the people who have put their faith in me.

The actual risk always lies in not trying. I never want to look back on an existence filled with what ifs and unrealized dreams. Death doesn’t daunt me, even as I age.

It’s the specter of meeting the might-have-been version of me in my last moments of life that is terrifying.