She looked up with tears in her eyes. I quickly tried to backtrack on the comment and make a joke or something, but it was apparent that I had hit a nerve. The crowded restaurant suddenly seemed very quiet to me and my stomach sunk a little as I realized that our casual conversation was maybe going too far. I apologized and asked if she was OK.

Sarah used her napkin to wipe her eyes while assuring me that it was alright. She took a long breath and explained that others had made similar comments before...and it was evident in this moment, that she had also told herself that too; many, many times. You see, it wasn't that much of a revelation, it was more of a crack that was exposed in the strong walls that had been built around her for years.

We would meet for lunch every couple of months to discuss business, but it would always turn into a conversation about our dreams, our goals and the hope of a better day when all of "it" would happen for us.

She had a desire to perform full time. It was a purpose that made her literally glow when she spoke about the thrill of standing in front of a crowd, connecting and making people laugh. And she had already taken the first step of putting it out to the world.

Sarah had jumped into the circuit of performing in a small clubs in Los Angeles. A bold step. However, something was still missing and the dip being created through her lack of momentum after several years had her questioning the direction all together.

There was clearly passion for this path but she was experiencing dents in the armor of that dream as outside influences were seeping into her thoughts and taking away the power. Sarah was now referencing the politics of the business, frustrated with the response and looking for a spark from others that would get her back to ground zero.

I had watched a video of a performance and also browsed through one of her social networking pages. What I got from my review and shared with her was a sense of a talented person who was holding back. She was polished, prepared and funny. But it seemed to me that her focus was concentrated on leaving the right impression and looking good for others; more than being truly authentic and real.

She was only sharing enough of herself to get the job done, but was careful to protect anyone from coming behind the curtain to experience who she truly is. I simply asked, "What would it be like to go on stage, completely let go and not care about what others think of you for one night?"

It was the moment that brought our lunch to a halt. Suddenly, a small beam of light had shone through the facade and right there, she could truly let go, even if for a moment. I believe the tears were more relief than sadness and a first step toward realizing that following the followers is not the answer for success.

It also reminded me of the fact that everything we do in life is meant to make us look good or to avoid looking bad. We build these walls around us and think it gives us power because we control what others see, hear and feel. It's safe but it actually drains us and most importantly, it's inauthentic.

If you have ever had a dream go unanswered, it's most likely because you have doubted your abilities to make it happen and held back in order to not look bad. Or you seek a map that "someone" offers to guide you through the landscape.

This process turns your focus toward a path that others have followed instead of taking possession of your own mind to direct it to your chosen purpose. You end up following the followers in order to look good, but this direction only sets the bar to an average excellence, at best. Yes, they may be going where you want to go, but they didn't get there following others.

The truly successful men and women found their victory by connecting with themselves first. They have a clear statement of the desire or end result and decided what they would give in return for reaching it. It is very personal, hard work and a true labor of love. But the footprints they left were marked with their steps long before anyone recognized it was a path at all.

You have the ability to do what ever your mind can conceive, and believe is possible. It can happen regardless of how many times you may have failed in the past, or how lofty your hopes may be. It all starts with a clear goal of what YOU want. Tune In, then ask, believe and receive. The others will continue to try and look good but with this plan, you'll only see the possibilities now in you and that is truly beautiful.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” by Marianne Williamson

Author's Bio: 

It's Free Air, So Tune In, my blog featuring radio stories and other “Ideas Worth Listening To.” My goal is to motivate, inspire and help with your own personal success. Using radio as a tool for self-examination may seem bizarre at first, but I feel it's an elegantly simple way to help explain things. When done right, radio has the power to evoke emotions; and, this blog will attempt to stir your emotional core, through a connection you already know. The daily “Ear Openers” will help you cut through the clutter of your work, your money and your routine, and turn the focus on what you want your life to be. So, Tune In. Use the Free Air. And achieve your unlimited potential.