“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac

For me, break-ups always lead to massive amounts of introspection, the desire to dig deeply into a variety of whys regarding the recently-ending relationship and its role in my personal development. Specifically, I become almost obsessively engrossed in investigating how the relationship directly reflected me – my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and actions – at this point in my life, and then setting about breaking patterns of thinking believing, or behaving that are clearly not serving me anymore.

If this sounds like a less-than-awesome way to spend an afternoon – or an entire weekend, if you’re me – you’re halfway right. Truthfully, I enjoy these types of soul-searching activities immensely and relish any time spent engaged in them.

That said, the less-than-awesome aspect of doing so typically shows itself several hours in when I’ve gotten so real with myself about my areas of needed improvement as to create problems that don’t actually exist.

This is not helpful.

At this point, I typically head out for a run, do yoga, meditate, get acupuncture, or phone a friend to talk me down.

And sometimes, I drink a gluten-free beer in a bathtub full of Epsom salt and lavender oil while watching mindless television on my laptop. Wild, I know.

While my recent break-up certainly highlighted a need for continued work in a few areas of my inner life, I’m mostly doing fine. My self-confidence and self-worth and self-love have all grown significantly over the past year (after some hard work and much-needed truth-telling on my part).

The most profound lessons I learned from this relationship and its disintegration, therefore, revolve around priorities and choices and self-imposed limits.

And fear. Definitely fear.

Because when you stay in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling you with a partner who doesn’t respect or treat you well, you are essentially choosing to be unfulfilled and disrespected. You are completely complicit in the perpetuation of that experience.

And when you deny your true desires and abandon your standards, you are acting out of fear. Fear that there’s nothing better out there. Fear that you’ll end up alone. Fear that maybe you don’t really deserve all the awesome things about which you daily dream.

I believe this all boils down to one big fear:  Fear of Success.

When I was feeling sad about breaking up with the boy I’d been dating, a dear friend of mine asked me why I would want to settle for mediocrity when there is so much awesomeness and excellence to be encountered in this world.

Good question.

My answer:  I don’t. Want to settle for mediocrity, that is.

In my relationships, in my work, in my health, in any aspect of my life.

And you shouldn’t either.

Saying no to mediocrity can be terrifying because it forces us to acknowledge our own power and our capacity to achieve excellence if we choose to do so. We fear success because refusing to settle endows us with a greater degree of responsibility – to ourselves and to the world as a whole.

Choosing to transcend the mediocre – something we can ALL do – is brave.

Making this choice is not a guarantee against faltering or failing once in a while. But it is a path towards more joy in this life, towards bringing to fruition all those dreams inside your head, towards a greater degree of fulfillment at the soul level along the journey.

So, I am officially choosing not to settle for mediocrity anymore. I’m choosing to aim high, to hold fast to my sometimes lofty ideas about what’s possible in this life, and to dream big.

And then to get to work making it happen.

Because stepping into your power requires and inspires action.

It’s a choice you have to make and recommit to every day. Which may sound like a lot of work – and it is – but is also pretty remarkable if you think about it.

(Oh, and here’s a hint:  You are already awesome. There’s no point in pretending you’re not.)