I recently did an informal survey in my private Facebook group. Here's the question I asked: What do you struggle with the most as a Life Coach Entrepreneur? Do you know what came up as the number 1 answer?
I'm not that surprised because I've been coaching people that are transitioning to being Life Coach entrepreneurs through their fears for many, many years. I had to do a TON of work with myself when I started my on-line business. My fear was the fear of being seen because I'd been brought up to try to be as invisible as possible - the opposite of what you do as an entrepreneur!
As an invited guest coach for my friend Jenny Shih’s on-line business building course, Make It Work - On Line, for many years, and as a Master Life Coach Instructor in Martha Beck's Wayfinder Life Coach training, most of my coaching is to help people get through their fears in the major life/career transition to coaching. Most people are trying to run away from their fear.
I help them listen to the message of fear.
What I want to share with you is that fear isn’t just resistance. It could be, but it could be something else too. The only way you can find out is by listening to your fear and hearing what its message is.
Here are a few different types of fear:
1. Lizard Fear
This is the fear that you won’t have enough, or that you’ll be in danger. When you decide to leave a job that’s not serving you – you’ll feel this type of fear.
Fear of going broke or not making enough money is a common lizard fear.
If you negotiate with that fear and give that fear something it needs – like adding up dollars and cents, making a plan, deciding how long you will give your business to make a certain amount of money, having a really powerful reason that you are leaving your job that moves you TOWARD something rather than AWAY from something.....then your fear will likely subside – but be prepared for fear to flare up again and you’ll need to calm it again, as necessary.
2. Old Fear (Ghost Children)
Old fear has nothing to do with your current situation. It comes from unresolved childhood or multi-generational trauma. Fear of being seen is a common old fear – especially if you’ve lived your life trying to fit in and not stand out.
Geneen Roth, in her book This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, calls this type of fear, Ghost Children. I love that concept. These Ghost Children are parts of you that get triggered based on your past, or your family’s past. If you’ve been shamed or humiliated (and most people have been) then you’ll have ghost children that will get triggered, especially when you are at the point where you want people to see your work, aka – promotion and sales.
People who are purpose driven – creating a coaching business because of a heart-felt passion or cause rather than an entrepreneurial drive, feel this old fear intensely. It’s debilitating. Because it’s hard to see. Because it’s hard to explain. Because you think something must be wrong with you for feeling this way. Because no one has ever talked about this to you.
You need to allow your ghost children to show up, rather than rejecting them and visualize giving them the love and kindness that they crave. That’s how they’ll dissolve.
This is that deep discomfort, the thick molasses that envelops you as you try to move forwards in your creative endeavors. Stephen Pressfield describes resistance as an enemy that you need to go to war with. Resistance wants to keep you safe, wants you to stop changing and stop doing anything that might put you in danger. So it makes you feel very, very, uncomfortable and that makes it difficult to start doing.
Resistance is trying to convince you that you are on the wrong track and really need to stop - lie around and relax. Resistance fears you’ll make a mistake, fail, not be good enough and basically – suck.
Resistance can become a habit – especially for sensitive people who are in touch with their emotions. People who are creating their life’s work, will feel resistance. It’s guaranteed.
You need to make sure that your desired actions are aligned with your purpose, allow yourself to feel the resistance, acknowledge that resistance is just a feeling and it won't kill you, and do it anyway.
4. Awe Fear
This is a feeling of overwhelm – being scared and excited at the same time. This is the type of fear that envelops you when you realize that what you are creating is much, much bigger than you dreamed. It is when you realize the bigness of your spirit. You might start feeling like an imposter – because this fear/doubt comes from the huge energy of your desire.
Find evidence of the untruth of your imposter thoughts. Thoughts aren’t facts. Find the facts to support your big desires.
You don’t and you can’t assume that you know what the message of your fear is without hearing it out. Here’s what you need to do to deal with the fear that WILL show up as you create your life’s work:
1. Get Ultra Clear On Your Personal WHY – The Purpose Of The Coaching / Healing / Helping / Guiding Business.
Make sure that this business uses your gifts, expresses your unique voice and is aligned with your specific soul’s purpose. If it isn’t you’ll doubt, doubt and doubt some more and fear will have a place to set up shop in your soul. Clarity on your soul’s purpose is ESSENTIAL.
2. Befriend Fear, Don’t Avoid It.
Dare to decide to allow yourself to observe your fear. It’s just a feeling. It won’t kill you. Notice the sensations in your body. Allow your fear to exist and decide that you are going to uncover fear’s message for you.
3. Listen To Your Fear.
Hear what it has to say and try to understand it. Dialogue with the fear in writing. I like to use markers, one colour for fear and another colour for my soul’s voice. Give your fear a voice. Hear what it has to say, negotiate with it. Once you’ve heard what it wants to say, it’ll quiet.
4. Be Kind To Ghost Children.
Give your ghost children (in your imagination) the love and the kindness that they are craving. They will dissolve.
5. Recognize that your thoughts aren’t facts and stop believing them.
Identify your false programming, untrue stories and limiting thoughts. Once identified, they will lose their power over you. Find evidence of their untruth and stop allowing these thoughts to lead in your life.
6. Acknowledge that you aren't broken.
Feeling fear doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you or something you have to fix - or that you have to wait to start until you don't feel fear. Don't buy into the common cultural belief that fear is a weakness. It isn't. In fact it'll help you get even clearer on your life's work!
Here’s the gift of fear – it only shows up when you are getting closer to the life you were born to live. So let's turn this all around. If fear shows up, it's a cause for celebration! Dare to decide to face, embrace and befriend your fear and you’ll unlock your soul’s calling and find your path.
If you want to discover some ways to deal with your fears, download my FREE Fear-busting kit for Life for Life Coaches HERE.
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