I sat on the floor of my apartment.

My whiteboard in front of me.

I stood up, drew something, and sat back down.

Years later, I still reflect back on this drawing…

Whiteboards.. underrated.

It was a profound moment in my life: the realization that almost none of my best ideas come to fruition.

They live as dreams. And they die as dreams.

I like to call these ideas “intention” or “intuition.”

Intuition can be simple, like smiling at a stranger. But it can also be daunting, like launching a business.

This drawing made me realize something important: while our intuition is vast, our daily actions are stifled and robotic.


Our “Best” Dies Inside Of Us

Why is that?

How can our lives reflect our dreams so inaccurately?

Well, because of The Wall Of Self Doubt.

You see, all of your ideas are zipping around your heart, brain, and soul like a firefly moving at high speeds. They exist inside of you. But they desperately want to get out.

That is, until the Wall Of Self Doubt acts as an electric fence, zapping our best ideas to death before they can take a breath of reality.


Is the “Wall” Real?

Kiiiiind of.

The wall is fear. The wall is assumptions. The wall is can’t, shouldn’t, and not how we do things.

The wall feeds on “you’re not qualified enough” and “someone already thought of that” and “what will people think!”

The wall says things like:

  • “You need a six pack to be a personal trainer”
  • “Only rich people can start businesses”
  • “My genetics prevent me from losing weight”

We all have walls. Some taller than others, some more resilient.

But, they are all beatable 🙂


When A Firefly Escapes

Let’s talk about those times an idea snuck beyond the wall.

  • When you quit your high paying job to work for a non-profit
  • Or told your parents how grateful you are for them
  • Or gave that homeless guy your double chicken burrito with guac
  • Or complimented a beginner on his squat form

No matter how big or small, remember how good that felt??

Those moments the fabric of our lives. They are the legacy we leave behind.

Because our dreams are nothing. Our thoughts, good intentions, well wishes… they might make us feel good, but they don’t actually do anything.

They become real when we make them real. 

When they fly over the wall.


Fake Walls

I have excellent news for you.

The wall exists only in our head.

You may have heard the expression, “on the other side of fear is nothing.”

It’s true.

But the fireflies are real… the ideas, dreams, ambitions, smiles, acts of courage.


You just need to take action.


An Important Reminder

When I launched this blog many years ago, the “about” page described being “On The Regimen” as:

Action > Inaction

I used to love that word. Action. I still love it.

I used to write it on my wrist in permanent marker every morning to remind myself how to live that day.

Other words convey a similar message…




Simple reminders that if we let our dreams die inside of us, if we let each firefly be zapped by fear, then we die.

Right now, there I have another word that best encapsulates my drawing:




I appreciate you reading, my friend.

The best way to wrap this post is with a quote from Seneca:

“It’s not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it’s given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it’s poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it’s employed to no good end, we’re finally driven to see that it has passed by before we even recognized it passing. And so it is — we don’t receive a short life, we make it so.”

— Seneca, On the Brevity of Life, 1.3–4a


I read all of my comments 🙂

P.S. If you want to win 1 free hour consultation with me (phone call, skype, or in person!), you can enter here.

Comments for This Entry

  • Anneri Victor

    I am standing before this wall of mine and imagining it at the atomic level...I can just stick my hand out and through it. Like when Neo finally gets it and becomes part of the matrix. It's not really there, its just imaginings of fear and doubt. Loved your vlog about Self-doubt too. glad you didn't read this out loud.

    March 9, 2017 at 4:19 am | Reply to this comment

  • Gavin

    Great post Mike. Love this type of content, applies to just about everyone on some level

    March 9, 2017 at 10:35 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lisa Neal

    This is powerful, thank you for it. You have a gift, please keep writing.

    March 9, 2017 at 11:44 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kristen

    "We don't receive a short life, we make it so." LOVE THIS. A good reminder. Also - side bar: SO glad to get a written blog. Love your stuff, but love it most when its in written form :)

    March 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Eileen

    This is just what I needed to hear today. I started a side business and I've been receiving a few non-supportive comments from friends/family. Onwards and upwards!

    March 9, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Beth

    Hi Mike. Really interesting blog. I appreciate your honesty and your goodness comes through in your writing. I haven't been an athlete for a really long time, like 15 years. What I find challenging about this kind of post is that there seems to be a presumption that people not connected to their inner athlete understand how to get from one side of the wall to the other. Yep, I get that we're all on our own path but a few bits of wisdom on to make the leap across the chasm would be helpful. You are a talented writer. Keep on rockin' it! Best, Beth ( The auntie of your buddy Charlie L. from Bloomington who moved from MN and now lives in Beacon.)

    March 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kerry

    There is a continuum to fear. The fear of being stagnant will spark people to act - too much or absence of fear immobizes,

    March 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mimi Routh

    Oh, good post, Mike! Offense as in sports or military. I went thru the holidays looking for polite conversation. Bah, humbug! At Thanksgiving I got preached to about fornication and was a basket case because I was nice! [Having road rage at home is very fattening!] I should have shoved his plate in his face because he would not put the Bible away and shut up! Then at another dinner I ended up with salad and cooked carrots listening to people whose life purpose is getting stoned and waking up in strange beds! Couldda stayed home with my veggie soup and stayed happy. What are the excuses? A lot of snow, a bad cold, blah blah blah. I did send 5 pair of huge wool boot socks to Water Protectors in ND. Finally put of a Christmas tree. At least I did not GAIN WEIGHT! Important to put up a to do list, review it often, put affirmations on the mirror, walk toward the goal. When the first bite of Crackerjacks doesn't taste that wonderful (or the first comments in a social setting), don't hang around waiting for it to get better! Move along! Go home! Get back on the path that works toward those goals! Love you, Mike!

    March 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jed Kobernusz

    Awesome post Mike! Needed these words today man! I really appreciate it!

    March 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Reply to this comment

  • MLS

    Fear and risk....will the payoff be worth it?...self doubt...I don't because I don't believe I can.... You are right. We are created for more than we can imagine! The wall truly is in our heads. BELIEVE and DO--each step forward will build momentum.

    March 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Matt

    "On the other side of fear is nothing."

    March 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Talla

    This is awesome! I find this applying to me in my everyday life as an educator teaching at risk kids in a low performing school. Would you mind if I used this concept with my students, please? ?

    March 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Arionna

    Wow! I'll save this one to read again in the morning.

    March 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Joyce

    I absolutely loved that post. Very well said. Your post was a reminder of how much we squelch in our lives everyday. However, today is just today, and we can make different and more daring decisions tomorrow. Thanks!

    March 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Reply to this comment

  • John

    Mike, Well said! Even more effective when read here instead of newsletter! (whiteboards ARE underrated!) Touches on what everyone has inside them and deals with. Keep kicking' ass!

    March 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Revati

    Hi Mike A wonderful reminder thank you. Sometimes the walls are sneaky and my best way of dealing with those times is to stop a minute and ask 'will this be beneficial to me and others or is it harmful in some way'. Then wait for the feeling, our divine intuition will tell us the truth. Love your newsletters, thank you. ?❤ Revati, Penrose, NSW, the land of Aus

    March 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Deborah Emmons

    Great post, Mike! Something we should always keep in mind. Thank you!

    March 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Reply to this comment

  • KristyK

    Mike, Thank you so much for this! Couldn't sleep much last night & spent most of the night thinking about a business I've mused about for a long time... The firefly is alive & well, just needed this lovely courage boost to start it's flight over the wall :) Wish me luck! You rock, keep up the awesomeness :D

    March 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mary

    Great info! I want to be you when I grow up!!!

    March 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kevin Cathcart

    Hey Mike, Awesome post! I take time every morning, before waking my son for school, as my time for intention, but it's amazing how much never reaches the action phase. I'll never give up trying though! Thanks for another great post!

    March 13, 2017 at 7:08 am | Reply to this comment

  • Chris

    Thanks for sharing this Mike - really hit home with me today and where I'm at. Appreciate your sincerity and sharing the truths and wisdom in such a real way. Very, very inspiring!

    June 30, 2017 at 10:24 am | Reply to this comment

  • vana

    Great post thanks for sharing! Keep Writing :)

    July 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Treela

    Hello Mike, I do not EVER believe anything is by chance, "luck" but an imeasurable act of God in which, He remains silent and allows us to benifit from the things that He puts before us, in which case, at the moment is You for me! Let me explain, I am pretty much starting everything all over again, it started a couple of years ago, really, I had a bursectomy on my hip in 2015. Exactly a year later, I had to have a total hip replacement. The year between them, rocked my world (wouldn't wish that on anyone.) Months of severe pain, loss of mobility, being bullied at work because of my health issue...extremely depressing! Recovery at home for 4 months after the replacement, I slowely started to gain weight, (was already heavyset) along with coming to the end of a 19 year marriage and not knowing what was in store for me going back to work, where I was an Aircraft Mechanic for nearly 18 years, was beyond scary. Upon returning to work Dec.of last year and with a disablity on my tail, I was placed at a desk to continue to heal, but my weight has hit an all time high, strength in my body losing it's fight and a divorce in the recent past, I wanted to change my outcome. A "firefly" that was born in me from a very young age made it's way back to the forefront of my mind...AGAIN, as it has often times in my life. With encouragemet from my family for years, I FINALLY decided to couple my intense love for writing and cooking, no matter the outcome, and write a Cookbook. It gave me hope about myself. Fast forward seven months to present, I am now in an office job permanently, my daughter and I joined a gym, "first time ever," and I am ready to get this body into shape and feel good. My first session left me with some questions, so I typed them in to the search bar and whala... there you were, first one on the page. As I said before...l don't believe in luck. You are REAL, while stimulating the readers thoughts, passions, and desires. That is incredible. I did not just stumble upon your website, I needed confirmation, that what I am doing in my new (almost 50) phase of life, is exactly what you said...ACTION! I will be reading your Beginner"s Fitness Guide and continuing on with my new set of goals. Thank you for doing what you were meant to be doing! :)

    August 10, 2017 at 10:44 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tyler Read

    A Mike, absolutely love this article. It is extremely motivating and I have been sharing it with my clients of personal training ever since I first read it. This is completely true that self doubt can be one of the biggest enemies towards success. Much luck and keep up the great writing!

    May 22, 2018 at 11:19 am | Reply to this comment

  • Dylan Weinand-Flannery

    This is so good, Mike.

    July 28, 2021 at 12:57 pm | Reply to this comment

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