My ugly story and what you can learn from it

Estimated read time: An entertaining and real 1.75 minutes.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

I hired a coach this year to stretch me in my business. In our first meeting, she did exactly what I asked her to do. She stretched me. How did I respond?

I freaked out.

This wasn’t just a little bitty, genteel lady freak out, either. It was like my vital organs were going to fall out of my body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t work. I was thinking about giving up the whole coaching gig for a job at Whole Foods.

I was in a bad way and even as I laid on my couch crying to my friends, I was thinking of you and hoping to glean some redeeming value from my misery. Here's the value:

When you stretch yourself – you go for the big promotion, you take on the leadership role, you say the risky thing in a meeting, you hire a coach – you are going to feel afraid. If you’re not afraid, you’re not stretching.

I imagine you’re thinking, “Great. You’re telling me I have to feel like my insides are going to fall out?”

Yup. That’s exactly right. If you want to go big, you will be afraid sometimes and fear shows up in your body before your head can catch up. That’s a fact. The good news is there is a lot you can do about it.

Here are my hot tips, hard won from the couch:

  1. Having periods of doubt and fear are part of the journey. A vital part of the journey. Through them you learn valuable things about yourself, develop more capacity, and know what it's like later to feel great!
  2. Recognize your process. When faced with fear, some of my clients get overly analytical, apathetic, or avoidant. Recognize if panic (my favorite!) is a place you stop on your way to clarity and action. When your process is familiar, you can celebrate the freak out and know it’s an important stepping stone to your success.
  3. Remember that you will not be stuck here forever. As your self awareness grows, you’ll be stuck in fear less often and for shorter periods of time.
  4. Have your self care plan ready to go at all times. Mine involves a book, the couch, and my dog. Oh, and calling a bunch of friends. And meditating. And crying.

It’s not about preventing the freak out which is a good thing as that's impossible. It’s about recovering from it. Fear is a sign of growth. What you need is awareness, a self-care strategy, and you're ready to go.

Be afraid and keep going!


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