Practicing some big, life-changing courage!

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The news has been coming out in bits and pieces over the past few months: I’m pregnant! As I sit here typing this, Kid Courage is squirming and kicking around, as she always does after I have breakfast.

Yep, she. When we found out the gender, I told my husband that I was thrilled that the world would be getting another mouthy, compassionate female rabble-rouser (in other words, she can take after me, in that regard).
 

Truth? It’s scary to tell you

I’ll also offer a rare personal note: It is beyond weird to be telling the internet that I am pregnant. For all of the personal things that I have disclosed via the web over the years, 99.9% of them are things that, while they might feel intensely personal, are things that I had the time and opportunity to work through with my coach, and that afforded them a certain distance.

But of course, there is no distance from this. This is personal, and very right-here-right-now vulnerable. Also, there’s more to this story.

It’s scary because some people who find out I’m pregnant start either suggesting things or sharing opinions, and it can get overwhelming to hear about this or that thing that I should buy, or try, or need, or to have someone automatically launch into their friend’s traumatic birth story, or to hear jokes about how I’ll never sleep/lose the baby weight etc., again.

So–I’m requesting that you not send me those types of emails (please). Sharing in the joy of it all–the congrats part!–is so loving of you and totally fine if you are inclined to email me. But as a self-care measure, please don’t send the suggestions/advice/personal stories, etc.

It’s also scary because in early 2013, I was diagnosed with infertility. They did lots and lots and lots and lots of blood draws and tests and every single thing they shared was bad news. It was very hard, and that is an under-statement. I feel super-super-super conscious of how it might feel for someone who is walking through that, to read this news. I want anyone who does feel a response to this news to know…I. So. Get. It. Seeing other people’s baby announcements on Facebook felt like a land-mind for me, for awhile. It was a huge teacher. I wrote this ( http://www.yourcourageouslife.com/2012/10/25/love-personal-tragedy/ ) when I was really in the thick of it.

Through this experience I am walking through practicing courage–and being reminded of how courage is choosing to celebrate what you’ve got, right here and right now, even when it feels super-crazy-nuts vulnerable.

I am reminding myself of my own lessons, the lessons that I teach others about their fearful edges–lessons about not buying into the illusion of control, lessons about staying in the present and acknowledging the power of learning how to do that. I feel so blessed to have such a supportive community of friends.

Those are the lessons that I think of as being True Courage. It’s never about the stuff we “do.” It’s about how we be, how we dance with life.

Click to tweet: http://ctt.ec/7Cd9q Courage isn’t about what we do; it’s about how we choose to be and how we dance with life.

At some point, I do plan to share, joyfully, the background of my own story with this. It’s kind of an amazing story, because like I shared, the specialists were not giving me any good news, and in the vein of not letting people tell you to “be realistic,” I want you to remember that there’s power in asserting that what other people say/diagnose you with/tell you, is NOT the end story.

For now, though, I’ll leave you with my love, and my excitement, and if it happens to feel right for you to close your eyes and send up a little wish that Kid Courage arrives healthy and happy a few months from now, that’s so appreciated.

I love the idea that for as nuts as the internet/social media/newsletters can seem, sometimes, there’s this place where we can all wish each other well across space and time and broadband connections…our well-being wishes for each other, all overlapping.

Talking Courage with Andrea Scher of Superhero Life

For the past several months, I’ve been at work on making updates to the Courageous Living Program, reformulating the content, updating the content, and adding more interviews–not to mention making the back-end user experience more streamlined and a whole lot more sassy looking.

One of the people I was keen to interview was Andrea Scher of Superhero Life. I knew that courage was central to her work, and I wanted to learn more about how she brought courage to the forefront of her life.

In this short snippet, Andrea shares about her specific approach to practicing courage and bringing to fruition the things that she desires for her life. In the full conversation available to CLP users, Andrea and I talk about:

  • Practicing courage for moms–what to do when you’re anxious or tired but you don’t want to completely release your commitment to courage
  • The courage to embrace your choices (even if they’re not what you thought)
  • Confronting the fear of being “ordinary”
  • What to do when other people are triggered because you’re stepping out and living your life full-on

How to use fear (so that it stops using you)

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Talk to anyone long enough about fear, and you’ll find that fear is surprisingly…predictable. It shows up in the same 3-5 ways, depending on the context, circumstances, or person you’re interacting with and the internal narratives you carry about what those things mean for you and your life.

This is the good news. The more fear is predictable, the more it means that you can learn how to use your fear, instead of letting it use you.

Let me illustrate with a story: at the beginning of 2013, life took an unexpected turn (I’ll be writing more about that, finally, over the next few weeks). I’d made some great plans, yet life was throwing me a curveball: plans. not. happening.

That meant that at the beginning of 2013, I was not just dealing with a sense of loss and grief and disappointment (not to mention, at times, anger and furiousness at the perceived unfairness of it all) and at the same time, I was re-evaluating this timeline I’d played with in the back of my mind.
 

So Here’s What Happened, Next

There are gifts in re-evaluation. Doing so makes you think outside the box, and notice those places where you’re on auto-pilot without even realizing it. I was completely happy with everything I’d been up to in my life, but also dealing with this pesky grief/disappointment thing and trying to figure out how these changed circumstances were going to fit into the overall picture of every plan I’d made for myself.

This is an opportune time to start making ruthlessly honest “Here’s what I truly want, and here’s what I’m sick of allowing into my life” lists.

(If you’re not already a YCL e-letter subscriber, hop on–my free Shift Plan is available to all subscribers, and it’s pretty helpful with making a “no-holds barred, get really honest and true about my life” list of bold plans).

What emerged as I was making my list was this: that there was this way in which I was straddling the worlds of personal growth and business that didn’t feel altogether like quite the right fit, and that I wanted to merge the two.

Also, I kept really wanting to talk about the process of life coaching, making transparent what can sometimes seem hidden about the skill-set, itself.

Also, I was noticing that 90% or so of the issues that life coaches were coming to me with when we had a Blueprint Session were things that, frankly, their coaching training programs could have given them with more of a grounded foundation. Lacking confidence. Feeling uncertain about what to charge. Getting zero marketing help. Fighting with the very same personal issues they’re trying to help clients with and then feeling ill-equipped.

These are things that so many life coaches are struggling with, and while every coach will struggle with that to some degree, it hit me that what I really wanted to do–the place I really wanted to take my work, next–was to merge the worlds of personal growth and business.

In essence, I wanted to create a training program for life coaches–one that wasn’t about teaching the “right” and “wrong” way to be a life coach, but one that used your personal journey and growth as the basis for how you help others; one that integrated some kick-ass marketing training (hello, Blueprint Circles); one that had people working within mastermind groups from the get-go, so that they weren’t leaving training with no network or tribe.
The Same Old Voices

So, back to predictable fear. Your fearful voices might be different than mine, but again–typically, fear is going to say the same variation on just 3-5 things, every single time it comes up.

When I realized I wanted to create a training program for life coaches, here were my internal voices:

“Who do you think you are?”

“What will people think?”

“What if absolutely no one cares?” (I also call this voice, the “What if no one comes to my party?” fear).

“What if you fail?”

My fear also has this one other hat trick–it’ll get suddenly go “whatever” about an idea, and the message shifts to, “You know, that’s a lot of work, and it’s not really all that interesting, so, you know, whatever.”

Take a moment to think of the last three times that you really wanted something, but hesitated to go after it. Can you see any ways in which the fear was basically the same, each time?
 

Use Your Fear

When I hear “Who do you think you are?” of course it’s scary. It’s also my sign that this is absolutely, to the core of my being, where I should be going, next.

When I hear “What will people think?” then I know that I’m craving acceptance and fearing rejection.

When I hear “What if no one cares?” then I know that my work is to remember that I care, and to focus more on the excitement and passion I have for the idea, than on a future-projected fear that others won’t share it.

When I hear “What if you fail?” then I know, again, that whatever I’m afraid of failing at must be something that I really, really need to do–because for some reason, fear is trying to distract me by focusing on a failure that hasn’t even happened, yet.

The point is, your fears are not coincidental. These voices come up for a reason. It’s true that it might not always be the right timing, or that you do need more knowledge or expertise, or that others might laugh you off the stage.

It might be true that you need help or more resources or that it feels scary, but none of those fears are the point.

If you use your fear–seeing these voices as signs that something is very, very important and thus very worthy, then the fear can stop using you. It can just be there, saying what it says, while you acknowledge the truth that yes, it’s scary–but you’re still the one in the driver’s seat.

In other words, you can still choose what your heart desires.
 

The Courageous Coaching Training Program

Fast-forward nearly a year later, and…wow. I’ve spent the past year researching standards within the industry, talking to a lot of life coaches from all different walks of life, developing curriculum, and finally–this past fall–I started accepting applications.

People, let me tell you: the world is not going to hell in a handbasket the way so many people think it is. Reading these applications from potential life coaches, hearing about the dreams and aspirations and sincere desires to serve and help and lift others up…sometimes I’d get teary, reading them.

Never, ever forget that for as bad as things may seem on the news, there are a lot of amazing people out there who sincerely want to do good.

I feel like the luckiest person on the planet because I’ll be working with some of them starting this weekend, as part of the Courageous Coaching Training Program.

The program is completely closed for 2014, but in the spring of this year, I’ll be contacting anyone who opts-in to the program newsletter with early-bird application information, an offer of a substantial early-registration discount, and more. Head to:

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www.CourageousCoachingTraining.com.