how to use fear

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 Living Coach Certification

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.

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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.

Interested in the CLCC? Head to:

Courageous Living Coach Certification