Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

AKA: Quit focusing on what you need to overcome.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my own life. When it comes time to stare down a challenge, face a fear, attempt something new, or in any way be impacted by a somewhat significant change, I go all in — on focusing on what it is that’s my obstacle to conquer.

My Life: A Roomful of Pink Elephants.


I am not making fun of myself for this by explaining my patterns, by the way. This is not meant to be self-deprecating. Rather, it’s kind of cool I’ve noticed it, and I want to show off.

Earlier this summer, it struck me that I’ve invested at least a quarter of my life trying to move through my brain conditions (anxiety, panic, depression, etc). Years ago, my therapist told me that someday, I’d mindfully walk into the fire and feel a whoosh of energy, and then everything would be still. My fear of fear would instantly dissolve, and I’d be at peace.

Saying this to a person who is in a constant state of wanting to fix things (herself in particular), is pretty cruel. It’s a big pile of surrender. Surrendering is super hard. All I’m doing is focusing on the surrender. Nothing else. Why can’t I surrender. Surrender.

Here’s what I think I’ve figured out — by focusing on the fuzzy what-ifs, steeling myself to stare them down and then effortlessly float through them — I’ve already failed. Because I’m not focused on the afterglow and the potentenial wins that may manifest as a result of the surrender, I’m only dialed into the obstacle.

It might seem simple for a lot of people (this is an example of me being insecure), but by and large, most of the “big” things I’ve spent my adult life trying to achieve have been thwarted by the “big” things standing right in front of those achievements.


I have 40 pounds to lose. Look at these 40 pounds. Why are these 40 pounds here? What can we do about the 40 pounds? Why did the 40 pounds show up in the first place? Man, that’s an impressive pile of 40 pounds.

I’m afraid of money. But money isn’t good or bad. Money is a thing. If I can just stare at the money long enough, the money will stop intimidating me. I will not feel inferior to money, or like I don’t deserve money. Abundance mindset. Money. I want to make money. Let’s just get ourselves over money.

The unknown. Man, it’ll feel really good when I stop obsessing about the unknown. I just need to let the unknown go. I know I have no control over the unknown. Let’s just release it. Be here now. But, you know, be here so that I’m not thinking about the unknown. Which I’m now doing. But I’m only doing it so that I can let it go.

I am SO hyper-focused on my challenges, that all my attention lives and dies in those places. It’s all become a series of staring contests with creatures that don’t have eyelids.


Manifestation has come up in several conversations over the past several months. While I understand I can’t simply ask for something and have it instantly show up at my doorstep, I have come to understand that it’s a lot more effective to focus on the result I want, rather than the (fill in the blank) I need to overcome/move through/accept to get there.

It’s not the “what do I have to do?” but instead, the “what do I get to do next?” that I’d like to make my focus. I need to just black out the obstacles. Make the obstacles … not-obstacles. Nobstacles. It’s accidentally happened a few times in the past couple weeks, and I’m cautious. I’m squinting, like I’m reading life’s fine-print. But the more I embrace the nobstacles (that’s totally a thing now), the more frequently it’s going to happen, and the less I’m going to be reluctant to just accept something good as happened. Instead, I’ll take it, and then simply anticipate (with joy) the infinite possibilities of the next page.

Weighing On Me

The Weight and the Watching