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In the Land of Internet, life coaches claiming that they know the secret to “kicking fear’s ass” and ” becoming fearless ” and “fearless living” or “living fearlessly” or “living life without fear” (the iterations are endless) can seem almost as common as space bar key strokes.

I’m always curious when I see their sales pages: do any of their clients actually ask them, perhaps as part of the initial consult to decide to work together, the tough questions with these claims?

For instance, what if a potential client actually asked: “Are you honestly saying that you never experience fear? Never, ever? Not even a little bit? Are you truly telling me that you are ‘fearless’ and that you know how to teach others to be ‘fearless,’ and that if I work with you, I’ll never experience fear?”

Would these coaches cop to the (very human) truth, and change their sales pages?

Fearless vs. Fear, Less

In my own work, I don’t promise “fearless.”

Here’s what I can help you with:

I won’t promise you “fearless”–I will, however, avow that I can help people to “fear, less.”

There is a wide expanse between “fearless” and “fear, less.”

“Fearless” is the domain of perfectionism. It’s striving. It’s putting all of your energy towards some fantasy state.

“Fear, less” is reality. Fear doesn’t have to control your life. Fear can be understood, and the wounds that create the fear can be healed. You can learn how to “fear, less” when you embark on your next bold life move.

You cannot escape fear, entirely. It will come up again and again, in different forms, as you push against the edges of this life experience.

If you’re a life coach, you get to choose how honest you’ll be with your clients about who you are and the very human experience of working with fear. Your biggest qualification as a life coach is not a lack of fear, but rather how powerfully you work through fear when it arises.

If you’re a client, you get to choose who you’ll spend money to work with. Choosing to bypass those who make audacious claims is a beautiful first step in the direction of critical thinking and claiming your power.

Again–you cannot escape fear, entirely.

What’s more? That’s okay.

Would you want it, anyway?

Consider this: If “fearless” were even possible, would you really want to be “fearless,” anyway?

I frequently think that wanting to avoid fear altogether is a form of trying to “check out” of life. Fear is uncomfortable, but the things that are uncomfortable in life are not meant to be avoided, at all costs.

The price you pay for avoiding discomfort is that all of your energy goes into trying to control life so that you don’t have to experience the discomfort. That is its own prison.

When you start working with fear differently, fear has a curiously enlivening quality. Instead of being what keeps you down, the experience of fear becomes something that is both thrilling and terrifying. It’s terrifying because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s thrilling because it’s showing you where there’s something that you deeply desire. It’s thrilling because it makes you wake up, pay attention.

In other words–when the experience of fear controls your life? That’s a problem. And by all means, if fear is running your life, stop sitting on your hands and do something about it.

But–if fear is showing up, at all? That’s just…normal. It’s part of life. It’s part of taking risks.

If you use it as a wake-up call to pay attention? That’s enlivening. It’s cluing you in to your next big adventure.

It breaks down to this simple equation:

“Fearless” = deadening.

“Fear less” = fully alive.

From there, it’s all about what you choose.