Fences in Your Mind

Excerpt from Living a Five Star Life by Betty Mahalik

This book is beautifully written. It is a treasury of wisdom, common sense and inspiration.

I’ve watched the movie Chicken Run at least a half-dozen times. Just beneath the surface of its simplistic look and story line lie a number of wonderful messages told through the eyes of a bunch of Claymation chickens trying to break out of their chicken-wire world to escape their fate at the chopping block. Their freedom leader, a feisty little hen named Ginger, comments profoundly in one scene: “the fences are all in your mind.” She reminds her fellow chickens (and us), that a bigger obstacle than the physical fences they’re surrounded by are the mental fences that hold them captive.

It’s been a good reminder for me on those occasions when I’ve been dealing with my own mental fences…those created by self-doubt, uncertainty, fear. Can you relate? Where have you fenced yourself in mentally in recent days or weeks? Perhaps your mental fence is procrastination, a deadening habit that keeps you stuck. Maybe yours, like mine, is related to self-doubt, and the on-going internal noise it produces that keeps you immobilized. Perhaps yours is the belief that you don’t deserve success, so you sabotage yourself to avoid having to find out how successful you could be. There are a million variations of the theme, but the result is still the same: we stay stuck like the chickens in the movie.

Here are the questions I invite you to ask yourself as you continue on your own personal development journey.

1. What are your mental fences?

2. What is the cost of maintaining these fences (physically and mentally)?

3. Are you willing to let go of your perceived realities (fences) and attempt to conquer them?

If you answered “yes” to question number three, I have a simple equation that will assist you in this process.


Your mental fences can only keep you stuck as long as you’re simply looking “at” them. As soon as you begin to establish a vision and take actions consistent with your vision, I can promise you that your fences will disappear.

If it’s self-doubt, sit down and write out everything you value and why it’s important. Then challenge yourself to eliminate anything that doesn’t absolutely reflect your values, or add something that is a profound statement of who you are.

And remember, the fences are all in your mind!