From infancy, we have a fear response to keep us safe, ‘that stranger is picking me up,’ ‘fire hurts’, ‘I can’t see my mom.’ But as we grow up many of our fears aren’t actually there to keep us safe, they’re there to sabotage us. What we hear and who we hear it from has a lot to do with this, ever since I was little, my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to wear brightly coloured nail polish because it would "draw attention from grown up men who wanted to bad things to me," as I got older, nail polish became clothing that fit me snugly and the phrase, “do bad things” became rape, and now even as an adult woman who lifts weights, can run a speedy mile, and feels super confident about most encounters in an alleyway, I still hear that voice in the back of my head.
I heard that same voice loud and clear when I decided to start my own coaching business, it was insisting that I couldn’t make money coaching or that no one actually needed these types of services when Google had all the answers, and yet I choked it down and here I am. I still feel these fears all the time, but I’ve learned to lean into them, to turn them into excitement, when I was having a deep conversation with myself about whether or not I should be a coach, I asked myself what the fear meant, and the answer that I got was simple, I was afraid because it was uncharted territory. I was the girl who changed her major all the time, but even at each new path, I still picked it off a list, that wasn’t how I found coaching, it wasn’t safe. So, when that voice crept in and told me exactly how hard it would be to be successful as a coach, I listened to it, and when it was done, I told it how amazing I would feel when I proved it wrong.
When you learn to embrace your fears and take it as a challenge instead of a roadblock you realize that a lot of the fear that you’re feeling is just excitement and anticipation. Good stress, or eustress still triggers the body like distress and gives us total cases of the sweats, but if you can take that fear and use it to build up your eustress, using it to fuel the fire that your project (whether it’s a new clothing line, picking a master’s program, moving across the country) gives you, you'll find that the fears you hold inside only build you up more.
The bottom line is that you have to be your own judge to determine what risks you’re willing to take. If you get a gut feeling that what you’re contemplating maybe isn’t all you’d thought it would be then maybe it’s time to abort the mission. A huge part of what I do as a coach is help people sort through these feelings; like if the person is contemplating moving halfway around the world just for a relationship they’ve been in for three months and all of their family is telling them that it might not be a great plan, I step in to help them evaluate the pro’s and con’s, if you learn to do this for yourself, you’ll be way ahead of the game. If everyone is telling you that what you’re thinking about is unhealthy or a poor choice, maybe it’s worth investigating, but don’t take criticism from people who just don’t see your vision. Be your own compass.