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Deepest Fear Inventory

“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.” — Marianne Williamson

Think of something you want in your life. 

Something BIG. 

“I want to make $10,000 a month.”

“I want a partner who’s a perfect match for me.”

“I want life to feel easy.”

“I want to be lit up by my partner’s desire.”

Stuff like that.

Go ahead. 

Find one.

Write it down. 

I’ll wait.

Now, take a deep breath and get ready to hear something you won’t like.


You don’t really want that. 

Or at least, your unconscious mind doesn’t, no matter what your conscious mind is saying.

How do I know? 

Because you don’t have it. 

Your unconscious is powerful.

No matter what you think you want, odds are there are some weird fears rattling around in the sub-basement of your mind, keeping you exactly where you are.

Luckily, I found a powerful tool that’s helped me start to acknowledge, and thus release, those fears.

It’s called “Deepest Fear Inventory.” 

I learned it from Carolyn Elliott’s fabulous book, Existential Kink. 

I’ve practiced it over and over again, and each time I do, something shifts. 

Any time I see a friend feeling stuck, I prescribe it. (The friend occasionally listens.)

It takes about 15 minutes a day. 

The only supplies you need are a pen and paper. (And a buddy. They don’t have to be there live — you can send them a video.)

It works best when you do it day after day for 10-14 days, but even doing it once can be powerful.

Willing to give it a try?

Here’s the gist of it (via Carolyn Elliot herself):

“To do Deepest Fear Inventory, you take a sheet of paper (and yes, it has to be paper and not a computer document because you’ll need to rip it up later)…

… at the top of the sheet of paper you write,

‘Dear God [or Universe, or Hecate, or Hermes – however you like to address divinity],

I hate and resent _________ [fill in the blank with something you think you really want]….

… because I have deep fear that I _____________ [fill in the blank]

… because I have deep fear that I ______________

… because I have deep fear that I _______________

(write at least 20 deep fears, quick as you can)

At the bottom of the sheet of paper, write the following prayer:

‘God, I ask that you remove these fears. I pray only for knowledge of your will for me and the power to carry it out. Amen.’

Next, find a trusted person to read your Deepest Fear Inventory aloud to. The person should just hear your Deepest Fear Inventory and say ‘thank you for your honesty’ with no further discussion.

Then, you rip up your Deepest Fear Inventory sheet and say to your listener, ‘Thank you for listening,’ then you throw away your little shreds of paper.”

That’s it. 


Terrifyingly powerful.

Give it a go?

PS – Check out Carolyn’s blog post about it for more instructions and an example.

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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