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Fear Part II: Each of us is Worthy

Wiley Coyote

No matter how many times I do The Work, I’m still in loving awe of the wounds that continue to surface and be released. In the words of Lloyd Dobins, “Continual improvement is an unending journey.” I will not stop seeking spiritual growth because the freedom it brings is so delicious.

Most recently, I’ve been working on my fear of public speaking, which was born from an incident on a stage where my mind was wiped clean of all thought and my tongue disabled. Since that Spring of 1997, any time I was called on to speak in front of more than a couple strangers, I felt fear.

My heart rate drummed like pounding rain, my palms would sweat, my tongue would feel like sand, and the words I searched for would swirl around evasively in my mind. Most often, I would write down what I wanted to say before I ever spoke…practicing it over and over again in my mind, and then repeating verbatim when the time came.

The more this happened, the more reinforced my fear became until it was a belief that my brain and body would betray me.

At first, I uncovered and dissolved this limiting belief by turning it on it’s axis and realizing that it sabotaged me from going down a path that wasn’t my calling. It actually saved me. Had my time on stage worked out, I might be an actress or a news anchor. That’s not my intended path.

Yet, the public speaking fear continued to grip my heart like vice clamps.

The real culprit was worthiness. Resistance was using my fear of not proving worthy enough. Who wants to listen to me? What do I have to say that is of importance? My words are not worth people’s time.

Aha! There you are, you sneaky little painful thoughts!

Thanks to a very dear friend and fellow coach, we looked at this silly – yet paralyzing – belief group and found plenty of proof to the opposite.

I am worthy of people’s time and attention. What I have to share has value. My story and my experience is mine and mine alone. No one before me and no one after me has lived my life. While there may be some commonalities, for sure, it is uniquely mine. AND SO ARE YOU AND YOURS!

On a call with Martha Beck, she shared, “There are only about five stories ever told across all time, and still we all want more. We want to hear it over and over again.”

Think about it. The best-selling books, blockbuster movies and Tony-Award winning musicals are all the same stories about the same struggles with the same archetypes told in different ways, with different backdrops, characters and voices. Yet we still can’t get enough of them. And we continue to create more in unique and innovative ways.

What I have to say may not be for everyone, and I actually prefer to reach only those who need to hear it. And it may not be life changing. Yet planting seeds is still a necessary step before ever picking fruit.

Each one of us is worthy.

What story do you have to share?

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Fear Part I: How to use Fear to Find Your Gifts

Zip Lining in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls

In Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, he defines one of the greatest tools in the arsenal of Resistance – the blocker of creative and spiritual growth – is fear. Resistance feeds on our fear. Not only our fear of failure and all the perceived ramifications that would entail, but also fear of success.

“Fear…that we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are…We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are….That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity.”

Why do we fear our greatness? Why do we shirk away from owning our gifts?

According to Pressfield, and I wholeheartedly agree, “We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us.”

I worked with a friend on her fear of owning her clairvoyance. When it came down to it, she was afraid that if she misinterpreted an intuitive hit, people would think she was a fraud. And worse, she would stop believing in herself and her gifts.

It’s the Pandora’s box that once opened, cannot be closed. Once we embrace who we are meant to be – that amazing, fabulous, glittering Self that we are – we have “come out” to the world. And that is scary. I know because I’ve lived it.

It took about a year, but I “came out” as a woo-woo spiritual healer after changing careers to become a Life Coach. I “came out” again to my husband and family as someone who can feel other people’s energy and physical pain as my own.

When I was at a friend’s birthday party, I shared with a new acquaintance about some mind-body connection tools that healed my chronic back pain. His response was, “Oh, so you’re the spiritual weirdo my wife was telling me about.” (And to think I didn’t even tell him about my new and full moon rituals!)

It didn’t bother me, because I knew he wasn’t my people. I’d already found my tribe!

As soon as I had claimed these gifts and embraced what that meant for me and my future, a whole new world opened up to me. All of a sudden, I was meeting new people who shared these gifts. More than I imagined was even possible.

I feel like Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense, except instead of dead people, it’s healers with empathic, intuitive and clairvoyant abilities. (Don’t get me wrong, I now have friends who see dead people, too…but I digress.) They’re everywhere and they’re wonderful!

Now it’s time to tackle my remaining fears, one of which is public speaking. The fact that Resistance is using my fear against me only means that it is something I must do. It fits into my purpose and is a step up in my spiritual growth (and potentially helping others with theirs).

Now is the time to act. To be brave. To be a courageous bad-ass. Using all the coaching tools in my arsenal, and asking others for help, I’ll beat Resistance – because I must.

What is your fear? Coaching can help you tap into your gifts and beat resistance! Let’s talk!

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Coaches Benefit from Coaching, Too

Coaching in Nature

This past weekend I hosted my first retreat. Even though I’ve planned and produced a plethora of events throughout my career, they’ve always been for someone else. I had no idea how even the planning process would bring up my vulnerabilities, insecurities and more opportunities for self-growth through self-coaching.

In complete transparency, I have a fear of public speaking. I also don’t like to be in the spotlight and much prefer working behind the scenes. Unlike coaching one-on-one, the thought of coaching at scale made my heart palpitate, my palms sweat, and my breathing shallow and gasp-y. So I attended a class on EFT Tapping for that phobia, and it helped immensely.

At one point, I asked my retreat partner (who is a yoga instructor) if she wanted to put her picture on a flyer instead of a generic beach shot. She then suggested that both our pictures be inserted, and my lizard brain made that mean I would be judged unworthy. (How ridiculous that sounds now!)

For anyone who thinks coaches somehow live a painful-thought-free life, guess again. Our thoughts are as chatty and catty as anyone’s. The difference is that we have the tools, and have built up the noticing and awareness muscle to recognize when it is time put those tools to good use. (And we help our clients learn to do that on their own, too!)

The morning of our first retreat day, I had nervous energy that I needed to release. I would not consider myself a runner (in the traditional sense), yet after setting up, I ran a half-mile simply to release that reptilian adrenaline. Then, with intention, I shook out whatever was left.

On my walk back to our little space on the beach, I asked my spirit animals to show me how I can best be present, grounded and a vessel for sharing knowledge. One of my core beasties is the dolphin, who showed up as a pod swimming together where the waves were breaking. In general, dolphins sense where other members are in their pod and swim together like one body, flowing in a particular direction.

Originally, we had wanted attendees to sit under tents at picnic benches while I stood and spoke with them. That morning, it didn’t feel right. So we asked folks to stay on their mats while I stood. That still wasn’t dolphin enough – yet. It felt like I was ‘on stage’ giving a performance rather than my authentic, true self.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught my dolphins’ swimming (once again) as a unified group. This prompted suggesting that we form a circle with our yoga mats and towels to all sit together, myself included. My fear and self-consciousness immediately dissipated as we all sat eye-level with each other. Words flowed, information came forth organically and we found a rhythm. I simply needed to be a part of the pod.

The weekend was a success and I’m hugely grateful for every person who joined us. Timing had an easy cadence, folks opened up to the tools, and each component of conversation wove seamlessly into the next topic. Two days of emotional, mental and physical release, as well as reconnecting to bodies, spirits and each other. My gratitude abounds.

If I can impart any guidance to my fellow coaches, it’s this: Keep self-coaching, use the tools you know and love, pay attention to your body compass and adjust accordingly. It’s ok to change the plan if it feels right to do so. Follow the signs.