Tucked away safely within the crevice of a deep cavern rests an inaudible spirit that dares not rumble beneath the surface for fear of disrupting the calm. Carefully enclosed by the walls of familiarity, this potentially dazzling, yet tiny hint of light is invisible to the naked eye. Its owner fears the unknown and so keeps it sealed with self-inflicted incarceration. Layer upon layer of negative beliefs have crusted over its alluring glow.

But here’s a little secret: it’s still there and it’s not going away. A gnawing sensation tugs inside, pleading release of this untapped potential. As light cannot exist in darkness, it naturally escapes each crack and opening, compelling its owner to release its power. Some do. Many do not.

It is a light the world desperately needs. It is a spirit that yearns to be free and to embody its higher purpose. When it remains hidden, it wastes away and leaves behind aching disappointment. The results are sadly far-reaching.

A small child loses his one chance to be loved because no one is there to speak up for him. A new drug to cure a host of fatal diseases is never discovered because its creator is too frightened to unleash his inner genius. The potential founder of a movement designed to feed millions worldwide is paralyzed with beliefs that he couldn’t possibly be good enough, smart enough, or courageous enough to achieve something so extraordinary. A young mother contemplates suicide because no one ever showed her hope beyond a world of drugs and domestic abuse.

It’s a world equipped with extraordinary human beings who all have a gift to offer the world. Sadly, too many lock this gift away and everyone suffers.

And those who have gone inside to release the light? They shine in all their brightness: Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Martin Luther, Nelson Mandela, Eckhart Tolle. They’re also the “ordinary” people who always seem content, who smile regardless of the hardships they face and who courageously push forward to follow their hearts. Tony Robbins calls this “awakening the sleeping giant within”.

What about you? How will you write your story? Do you dare release your radiance so the world is brighter? Or will self-sabotage win, hands-down?

You decide.