I have a friend. Let’s call her Mary.

Mary has a lot going for her. She has a ton of business experience. She has certifications. She has a passion for helping people. Most importantly, she knows what she wants to do and how she wants to do it.

Mary also has a problem.

She doesn’t think people will buy what she’s selling.

When Mary talks about what she does and how it helps people, she is on fire. You can see it in her eyes. She’s got a passion that is unmistakeable.

But when Mary talks about selling her services, something terrible happens. Her light goes out. She hunches over. She gets small. She says things like “I really thought I had that one” and “I’m afraid to put my ideas out there because someone might disagree with me.”

Sound familiar?

When we first start waking up, we spend a lot of time figuring out what we’re about and what we want in life. And that’s how it should be.

But finding our spark only takes us so far. Sooner or later, we have to figure out how to use that spark to light a big old bonfire. We need to be ready to put ourselves out there and be seen for who we really are, even if it isn’t what other people are expecting.

All too often, we know exactly what we were put here to do, but we lose faith when it’s time to live our passion out loud in a world that doesn’t seem to want what we’re offering.  It’s tempting to rein it in, to be exactly the person others want you to be.

When you’re living a life of intention and congruence, those are choices you can’t afford to make.