It’s completely normal, and ok, to be afraid.
But I’d invite you to notice, what’s it costing you? And, most importantly, are you ok with that?
The answer might be ‘yes’. And that is absolutely, perfectly ok.
But the answer might be ‘no’. If so, it might be time to push through some of that fear.
When I was 20, I ended a relationship that wasn’t right for me. I won’t go into all the details, but it was really challenging. A low point was receiving a voicemail from him, describing how he would kill me.
I still carry around fear about this person. I can feel it jangling through my body as I type this. A few years ago I thought I saw him on the tube. My legs started shaking so badly I had to hold myself upright by grabbing one of the poles. At the next stop I tumbled off the carriage and found someone from TfL. They helped me into a taxi – I didn’t feel safe getting back on the tube.
I’m not telling you this to garner sympathy (thank you, but I don’t need it). I’m telling you to try and paint a picture of how real and alive this fear can be.
A couple of years ago I was working with a coach to help me get my business up and running. We talked about my website. I showed it to her. She smiled.
“Heather… You haven’t given any contact details. You don’t even have a photo of you. You don’t even have your NAME! How can this website serve your business?”
I could see how, through her eyes, this was bonkers.
So I explained. After that breakup, I changed my phone number and email. I had strict privacy settings on all my social media. My name only appeared as ‘H’ on Instagram or WhatsApp. I avoided having my face in profile photos, just in case.
I explained, briefly, why this fear was there.
She said, kindly, “that’s totally understandable… but, what is it costing you now? And are you ok with that?”
I realised I wasn’t ok with it. I actually felt annoyed that, 10 years on, I was letting this person have an impact on what I wanted to do with my business.
There’s still fear there.
But, slowly, I’ve changed that ‘H’ to ‘Heather’. I’ve started putting a photo of my face on profiles. My business instagram account isn’t set to private.
Yes, sometimes it feels like tempting fate. But ultimately, I’m not willing to let my fear of him stop me doing work I care about.
It’s quite common for fear to come up in coaching sessions. As clients explore what they want, and how to get there, they often find fear is standing in their way.
Fear is a totally normal, understandable and human emotion. We feel it for a reason. Our brains have evolved to try and keep us safe.
But we can ask whether we’re ok with what it costs us. And if not, we can begin, step by step, to push through it.