Coaching is a service that people often seek out when fear shows up and stops them from living life to the full. Recently I have given much thought to this.

It is my belief that we all have a comfort zone and outwith this space, we feel discomfort. Sometimes this can extend to experiencing fear. Both as a mental fitness coach, and as a human being, I am familiar with both.

It struck me that in the face of change, even positive change, fear is inevitable. It can become a barrier and a driver for anxiety and it can hold us back.

It is important to clarify that fear is as normal as breathing. It is created from our primeval instinct to perceive threats around us and the desire to survive in the face of it.  Fear is generated from our thoughts and creates unhelpful emotions that can impact our actions.

For each of us it will manifest in different ways such as fear of failing, fear of humiliation or fear of making the wrong decision. Believe it or not there is also such a thing as fear of success! In my coaching sessions where we address fear, I have heard people say What if I succeed, and then cannot handle it? This is a great example of how fear can inhibit us.

How does fear hold you back?

My research on this matter led me to a fabulous quote by Elizabeth Gilbert ‘your mafia mind is a bully’. This was a reminder to me that people who achieve greatness are usually people who ditch their fears. Marie Forleo talks openly on this matter. She advises us Don’t be held hostage by your fears.

My two most significant encounters with fear presented in the past two years. One related to setting up my own business and the other came when my partner was diagnosed with cancer. In both situations I noted that my fear could magnify and grow if I let it take control.

Surprisingly in both situations I learned that I had more control than I realised. In the matter of the former, I asked myself what was the worst thing that could happen. I indulged myself in imagining the worst outcomes, what it might teach me and then I explored my best hopes. I decided that regardless of the outcome, I would be moving forward, connecting with innovative people and learning about myself – my limits and my capabilities.

Regarding the latter, I decided that it was important not rely on my faulty crystal ball to predict the fear fuelled outcome. Instead the focus became clearly fixed on the present tense and what was actually happening now. As a family we were able to get clear about ‘the controllables’ in our situation and focus on them and we gave our full attention to what was possible.

In both scenarios it was vital to choose a story that would strengthen reserves, instil self belief and grow hope. Both of the examples that I have shared with you led me to the outcomes that I had hoped for; a thriving business and an opportunity to have created a powerful health adventure story in the face of adversity.

If I can offer any advice on the matter of fear and how to overcome it, these are my top tips to you:

  • Become aware of the fears in your life.
    Notice what scares you and admit that to yourself
  • Become objective about your fears.
    Investigate your fear from a place of curiosity. What thoughts do they generate?
    How do you experience fear? Is it a thought or a feeling that you notice first?
    Where do you feel it in your body and how do you react to that?
  • Watch fearless people.
    What do people that you assume to be fearless look like?
    What are they doing and how do they behave?
  • Visualise yourself in that scary situation without fear.
    Get a clear image of what fearlessness will look like for you.
    What will you be doing and how will you be doing it?
    What might be possible if you behaved in this way?
  • Interact with your fear.
    What would you like to say to your fear to ensure that you don’t let it take control of your life?

Elizabeth Gilbert speaks openly about fear and creative living beyond fear. My journey in overcoming fear resulted in her writing a letter to my fear. Here she tells her fear You are allowed to have a voice but you are never allowed to have a vote…. Above all dear familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.

My best hopes are that reading this will take you to a place of curiosity and invite you to ask yourself ~What is the biggest fear that I would like to overcome? What exactly do you need to say to your fear to make sure that you remain in the driving seat in your life?

#100% Pure Polly – Living Life’s Adventure…
I plan to dedicate my next blog to health adventures.

In the meantime I wish you all a happy and energetic week. Want to know more about how to live your life’s adventure?