(image and words from pinwheeldesigns @ Etsy)Putting on the beginnings of a life-coaching hat right now: I'm thinking a lot about fear today. I just finished my life coaching certification, which I'll soon combine with an MSW in social work to offer life coaching sessions with an added Tarot twist. I'm in the editing stages of my first course, Tarot Journeys: Of Mentors and Magic Wands.
It's a lot of new, and a lot of unexplored. And that fear thing? Pretty inevitable.
It's hard, sometimes, to figure out why we're afraid. We're taught, of course, to understand fear of failure and getting hurt. It's pretty easy to figure those out. Imagine the worst-case scenario you can think of for whatever's freaking you out. Failure, rejection, living alone with ten cats - whatever the opposite of your priorities are I guarantee you can come up with at least one scenario, probably more. Even when you're sure you've accounted for everything twice and you know your presentation is going to rock, there's still that little voice in the back of your mind, the one even professional performers and speakers get, that asks "what if it doesn't?"
Fear of success - that's harder. That's usually hiding, and it's one we have to really think about to understand. Imagine yourself doing fantastically. Meeting your goals to the letter. Having everything you ever dreamed. Does that freak you out, because then you have to continue to perform? Then you have a commitment? Yeah, I hear that. Whether you fear being tied down, or you think you have to continue to meet expectations, we don't talk about fear of doing well - but it's there.
Here's the secret: fear is one of the best gifts your soul can give you. When something is scary, you know you're stumbling on something big, something important. When it's scary, it means it's not easy. It also means that it matters. Never, ever let fear keep you from doing the work.
When something feels overwhelming, I try doing something that feels paradoxical but has the ability to really work. Break down what you're scared of into smaller and smaller steps. If it feels overwhelming, looking at the individual parts is a good series of signposts for progress being made. "Social media marketing plan" sounds overwhelming and staggering. "Blog today and post to Twitter and Facebook about it" doesn't sound so hard. Once that goes well, you can continue to add further steps.
Conversely, don't be afraid to focus on the big picture. Not on the staggering, overwhelming one - the one where you know you'll reach your goal. Don't imagine what comes next. Imagine what you're doing it for in the first place. Imagine fitting into the bikini when the weight is lost, having enough money to take a vacation, the sense of satisfaction you'll have from completing something big and scary. Let that be your endgame, the goal you have in sight, when you start to forget why you're doing this and feel the temptation to give up.
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