The Subtley of Fear

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Last night I attended a Business Workshop for coaches (health, executive, life…not sports) through the International Coaching Federation-NE (ICF) and had an epiphany, which is what happens when you talk to an effective coach; stuff comes out.

Even though everything has fallen into place with my new career path, as if I planned it all perfectly, and I am so confident in my coaching abilities and the direction I am going, I am still affected by an undercurrent of fear and self-sabotage. I know I get doubts and anxieties just like anybody else, and I fight to keep them in check in order to maintain a healthy and realistic perspective. But I hadn’t been aware of the subtleties of some fears and how they manifest so differently, so quietly.

Back story: I was raised by fear…of punishment, bad people, an enemy, a lawsuit, someone misjudging me….the list goes on and on. I notice it now in my extended family, but I have worked really hard to fight that inner voice of fear by being aware of it. This fear utlimately prevented me from going to vet school, studying abroad, and/or going to college far away. Not that I think I should/would have done these things, life happens the way it was meant to. (not doing them was part of the inspiration for me to be aware of it and start changing)

As I got older and more independent, I became more aware of how fear stopped me from taking risks and really just enjoying life. The fear fed anger, it fed depression, it fed negativity.  I was too serious, too concerned about a need for protection from an unknown. I became in awe of those who took risks in spite of the naysayers and the doubters. I wished I could be one of them. Then I decided I would not let fear stop me from living life and I started stepping outside my comfort zone….started questioning the basis for these fears.

What I found is that they were baseless….someone else’s negative opinion, misguided fear, or criticism had been stuck in my head.  I vowed to change that dialogue.

So last night, I am talking about my upcoming certification and my marketing strategy with a table mate, the wonderful and insightful Sibel Babacan of Lexington and she asks me…

“Why don’t you start reaching out to those places now? Why wait? “

My response was “because I want to wait until I can say I am certified and not just in the process of getting certified”.

Then she says something like “Why can’t you talk to them before you finish your certification?”

I say “The certification gives me validity.”

She says “Sounds like fear. It sounds like you are sabotaging yourself and your thoughts into thinking you are not good enough unless you have that certificate and you could be missing some really good opportunities to grow your business.”

(this dialogue is not exact but I hope you get the gist)

She was right…I knew it immediately in my heart, mind, and my gut…this was fear, not the “careful planning” as I had labeled it. It was so subtle, I hadn’t noticed it. But a well-trained and experienced career coach had.

The reason this was so powerful, although it may not seem like it, is that this is not the first time I have heard this. It’s like I need this document to prove to doubters that I am good enough. Again, I am allowing someone else’s beliefs or negativity to infiltrate my own reality.

I began to think about the fear and anger that so many people hold onto and how doubts and negative inner dialogues skew reality and leave them susceptible to manipulation. They get so caught up in their stories and their own dramas that they don’t see how others can use these insecurities to gain power, position, and control under the guise of protection. I wish for one moment, I could take away their fear and negative thought patterns so they can experience what peace of mind and compassion truly feels like.

The sad part is that no one can make us feel LESS fear, anger, or anxiety until we examine where the root of these feeling and thoughts are ACTUALLY coming from.  We need to ask ourselves “What is the storyline in our heads?”, “Where does it come from?”, “Why do I think this way?”, “What has been my experience?” , “Could I be reacting to something else in my life that feels out of control?”, “What other choices can I make?”

For me…

I choose NOT to live in fear. I choose to work through fears, prejudices, and anxieties and understand the real root of my thoughts and emotions so they don’t control me.

I choose NOT to fear people of different cultures, religions, or even death.

I choose to try to live a life of love, compassion, and empathy…and this includes for myself.

I choose to be curious.

I choose to surround myself with positive people who raise me up and are looking out for my best interest.

So…I will start working on implementing my business plan and starting my career even if that piece of paper hasn’t been presented to me…YET! I know I am going to get it…I will make sure of it.

I am a good coach and I will change people’s lives…starting now.

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