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I am a firm believer in all areas of your life being aligned around your central pillar: your authentic self. But many of us put money at the center of everything. Every choice. Every worry. Every fear. Every thing is dictated by how it will affect us financially.

I don’t need to tell you what the result of this is. You’re unhappy, unfulfilled, constantly stressed and rarely at peace with any aspect of your life. It’s funny how placing money over everything else can bring on so much mental and emotional strife.

So, how do we stop doing that? How do we stop choosing a life that will only lead to ulcers, headaches and a never-ending feeling of dissatisfaction? I can’t give you a road map to eternal happiness, but I can give you a suggestion of a place start. Maybe it’s time to start facing the fear.

You see, we so often look at fear as the number one indicator of things to avoid. Thinking about applying to law school but the loans and job prospects scare you? Eh…maybe not. Want to move across the country to pursue a job that will lead to bigger, better things? But you can’t leave your family behind! Thinking about losing weight but the thought of stepping into a gym terrifies you? Well, maybe after you lose a few pounds first.

But fear doesn’t always look or feel like jumping out of a plane with a faulty parachute or quitting your job as CEO to be an intern. It’s wanting to save up for your dream condo but giving into your friends’ insistence on you being available for $60 brunch every week because you’re afraid to say no. It’s turning down the dream job for a safer one because you’ll make more money. It’s buying the car you can’t afford because none of your coworkers are driving a used one like you are.

Fear surrounding money is complicated, but simple. When you’re afraid to pursue something because the financial side of it seems like it’s too challenging, you are putting your finances at the center of your life. This breeds anxiety, unhappiness and – worst of all – it’s takes you further and further away from that authentic, beautiful life you know you deserve.

Action step

Here’s an unpopular opinion: maybe fear isn’t a roadblock. Maybe fear is an opportunity for growth and strength. Or maybe it’s an indicator of great things to come. And your financial fears – of not having enough, of losing it all, of making the wrong choice – those will subside once you stop making money the single biggest factor of your existence.

This week, I want you to begin to see your fears as an opportunity to be an active participant in your life. Don’t be afraid to say no to something because it gets in the way of your financial goal. Open up your checkbook and look at what you have to put on your debt instead of paying the minimums and putting it off until next month. Or make an appointment with a mortgage officer to see how far off you really from taking out your “dream home” loan.

Most importantly, look in the mirror and be proud of what you’re choosing to face this week. Confronting our insecurities, mistakes and other missteps isn’t something we do normally or willingly, and it definitely isn’t something that’s easy or fun. Allow yourself to celebrate in each and every step – no matter how small. Every tiny goal you achieve brings you that much closer to the big one.

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