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The other day, in a discussion with my “Bonus Years” Support and Achievement Circle, one of the members told a story about her dog Tucker, a lovely Sheltie that has been her companion for many years.

As it turns out, a part of the fence in the backyard that had kept Tucker in for many years had been taken down so the next-door neighbor could remove some trees.  The gap in the fence really perplexed Tucker.  He could see the opening, but it wasn’t supposed to be there.  He was confused and didn’t go through the opening to investigate what the rest of the world had to offer.

I wonder how many of us are stuck in the “Tucker Syndrome”.  For many years we may have put a barrier before ourselves that limits us from taking action to manifest our dreams.  All of a sudden, for some reason, the barrier is down.  We can see the other side clearly.  The way to the other side is free of barriers and still we can’t move through the opening.

What is it that keeps us stuck?  Are we so afraid of the unknown, of what might be on the other side, that we’re unwilling to go through what was “the fence”?

Lately I’ve been applying the metaphor to my life and asking the question.  “Where am I exhibiting the Tucker Syndrome?”

There are many things that I want to initiate but I allow myself to get into “I’m afraid”, “No one else is interested”, or “No one will show up”, or “I don’t know enough to keep them interested”, or “I’ll have to write the sales letter”….wow…and on and on and on I go.

So, what do I do when “Tucker Syndrome” has grabbed me?

I have five actions that I’ve found to be helpful: 

1.    Breathe.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  Taking the three deep breaths that Thomas Crum suggests in his bookThree Deep Breaths” can have a very calming yet energizing effect.

    • Centering – breathe in the present moment with balance and energy.  Calm the two great storms that are causing me suffering…The storm in my mind and the turbulence in my body.
    • Possibility – breathe in the “me I want to be” with power and purpose.
    • Discovery – breathe in the “mystery”.  Be curious.  Let go of the judge and critic within me.

2.   Ask a friend to help.  Many times all that is needed is some friendly support.  I just have to “ASK”.  It’s amazing how many people are stopped simply because, for some reason, they’re afraid or to embarrassed to ask.


3.   Use Byron Katie’s technique called “The Work” which is featured in the book “Loving What Is:  Four Questions That Change Change Your Life“.  This process helps to determine what’s real, and what’s imagined, and how my thinking (my “limiting beliefs”) controls my action.  It helps me develop an alternative way to look at the situation.

4.  Get a coach.  Sometimes the challenge is so great that the best way to get through is to hire a coach or a guide, someone who has been through the challenge before or can guide me through it.  I recognize that experience can be the best teacher…the experience doesn’t always have to be mine.  I can learn from others.

 5.  Create a support group.  Alan Duetschman, in his book “Change or Die” points out how difficult it is to make truly transformational changes on your own.  In fact, only one in nine are able to make the change, and generally, not without support.  To ensure your chance of success it may be crucial to go to, or create, a support group, a group that believes in you and will support your desire to achieve.

So where have you been holding back in your own life?

What places have you failed to take a risk even though the chances for success were good and what has that been costing you?

Please leave your answer in the comments below and I’ll respond to you.


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Larry Freeborg
Larry Freeborg is a life transition coach and inspirational speaker focused on working with people in the “Bonus Years” of their lives. His unique experiences working with businesses in strategic planning, business development (marketing & sales), leadership and personal development are blended with his training in life coaching, equine guided coaching, and his personal experiences with loss to form the foundation of his coaching practice, Living The Good Life on Purpose. Larry is available for speaking engagements with his popular “Refire, Don’t Retire!” and “Life Purpose Primer” programs. Contact Larry at