My fear, not being good enough and failing. A common enough fear I think, one that sits inside most of us and gets in the way. So how do we overcome it? I’d like to share my approach.
The first step is recognising it. Here’s how mine came about; I’ve been considering adding to my career as a yoga teacher by becoming a life coach as well. Through my years of teaching and overcoming my own personal battle with addiction and mental health issues, I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons that I’d like to share it with others. Several people have asked me if I offer life coaching and I figured it seemed like a step I would love to take. So, upon thinking it over and making the decision that this was something I would like to do, I began looking for training courses.
Then the fear kicked in… Only it wasn’t obvious, as it rarely is. It came in the form of many excuses as to why I couldn’t become a Life coach: “I can’t afford the course I’d like to do”, “we are in a global pandemic on lockdown so now isn’t the time” (which is actually a reason why this is the perfect time!); “Who would want to listen to what I have to say”, “who am I, to think that I can help anyone”; “I’ve been a failure so why would they listen to me” – The list could go on and on.
I listened, I dropped the idea and it sat in the back of my mind again. My fears had won. I resigned myself to waiting out the lockdown on universal credit until I could teach again in person. This decision did not make me happy! I became anxious, wasn’t sleeping properly while trying to distract myself with online dating apps (now deleted), running, surfing and meditation (yes fitness and spiritual practices can be used as a distraction tool too, very cleverly disguised one’s)
Then met someone who appeared to have it all. The looks, charm, successful businesses, vast amounts of property and land, yet he was strung out and stressed! He wasn’t happy despite the seemingly perfect life. The imbalances in his life and his desire to be happy were loud and clear but he didn’t know what he needed to do.
Now I’m no therapist and I was on a date of sorts; he wasn’t asking for my advice, but it was a definite kick up the ass from the universe for me to get off my butt and make coaching a reality. If people are lost and if I can offer some guidance and support to help them find their path then that’s what I need to do.
Lockdown three happened promptly after and It was/is the perfect opportunity for me to face my fears and overcome them this time! I found two online courses to get me started and give me an idea of how to practically become a coach. I sat and I studied each day and have now completed my first qualification- It was a clear, concise and informative course which left me feeling inspired and raring to go!
When starting the second course, the fear kicked in again, this time expressed itself as confusion and recognisable feelings of uselessness and dread. This course wasn’t clearly set out, the presenters were hard to follow and made little sense to me thus the fear manifested as confusion. That feeling of being inspired and motivated quickly left me and I once again put the idea to the back of my head. Fear won, again.
I say fear won, but it didn’t, not really. The first step to breaking through our fear it to recognise it, and I recognise it in whatever form it shows up: Procrastination, self-doubt, confusion, to name just a few. None of these are reasons to stop me moving forward, they are fear rearing up and trying to protect me from failing. You see, it’s not that my head is cruel and playing tricks on me, it’s that my engrained programming, my conditioning is fear driven and all it's doing is trying to protect me from failure. It’s actually acting from a place of love, just sadly a little misguided.
So, when that voice inside me chooses to rear its head up and my self-doubt kicks in, I need to meet it face on, I need to acknowledge it, to recognise and acknowledge it for what it is and sit with that discomfort, feeling gratitude and thanking it for trying to keep me safe from hurt then ask it to step aside as it is no longer needed.
My fear drive is strong, it can be crippling to be honest. Sometimes it can throw me into a total panic attack, which is not an easy thing to face! So, keeping it simple, for me in this moment means I need to surrender myself into the anxiety, not fight it. Then I can start to take baby steps away from it.
The thought of setting up my website and advertising as a life coach right now is extremely daunting and I can feel that crippling fear rising, clearly a message that this is not my starting point. I’m going to gain confidence in what I’m doing, research my Niche, my strengths, look into what steps, no matter how small, I can make to move in the right direction.
Step one, start a blog. Also, terrifying! My friend suggested this to me the recently as a way to get myself out there. Guess what, more fear kicked in, but this time it was more obvious. “What if it's shit and no one wants to read it?” A justifiable fear in my opinion but one I’m going to work through. If my writing can resonate with just one person, if one person reads it and feels comforted, supported or less alone – then I’d say that’s a pretty great start! It’s like that famous quote from 21-year-old poet Erin Hanson:
“What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, “What if you fly?”
Baby steps in the right direction is all it takes. This is advice I gave my son when he was struggling and its advice I need to take myself. You don’t need all the answers or even a clear destination, just take baby steps in the right direction and you can’t go wrong! If you don’t know what the right direction is then take steps in any direction, do anything that feels vaguely right and that ignites your inner fire, anything is better than sitting doing nothing in a state of fear. Trust that as you take these steps it will slowly start to become clear.
Start to observe your behaviour, your inner dialogue. Learn to recognise fear in all its clever disguises. STOP comparing yourself to everyone else and do things in YOUR way in YOUR time according to what feels right for YOU. Listen to your gut, that anxious feeling is trying to communicate to you, it has something to say so listen to it, meditate on it, then work through it at your own pace. Facing fear head on is great but it’s also ok to cleverly sneak up on it.
Talk to a trusted friend about it, get it out there, take its power away. It’s not easy, it feels scary and uncomfortable but that’s okay!
Who would want to stay in their comfort zone all the time anyway? All the exciting stuff happens when we break out of it!
Please share your experiences of facing your fears, I’d love to hear how you deal with them. xx