Coaching for Creatives | Let’s Talk About Fear

January 8, 2014


I’ve been thinking about fear a lot lately. It can be such a debilitating feeling and it’s the number one emotion my coaching clients would love to conquer.

“I want to be fearless”, they say.

Yeah, me too. That would be awesome. So let’s talk about fear and the process of being afraid. What exactly is fear? How do we overcome it to be the confident creative badasses we want to be? I have a few ideas:

Fear is actually anger / hate / insecurity / disconnection / unconsciousness / [you-fill-in-the-blank] in disguise.
Fear is so intangible – so I’ve found that replacing the word “fear” with something a little more specific can help identify what is actually being felt. And from there if I can see that what I’m actually feeling is disconnected I can strategize solutions for connection. If what I’m actually feeling is hate I can seek out a little compassion and love. It can be hard to cultivate courage when you don’t even know what you’re afraid of. So identify the fear by getting specific about what it actually is, brainstorm a solution, and voila: you’re a little less afraid.

Fear is the unknown.
One of the things that makes me the most afraid is uncertainty. Fear is a lack of clarity about what to do next. Fear is the worst case scenario. This kind of fear takes you out of the present moment. It sends you into a disaster scenario filled with failure. This kind of fear creates a picture perfect image of everything you don’t want to happen. But here’s the deal. It’s not true. Let me say that again: it’s not true. And it’s a waste of your imagination. When you start painting yourself a worst-case-scenario scene instead say “stop it” and begin to visualize the ideal outcome. Because here’s the deal – as a creative you’re probably already really good at bringing ideas, concepts, designs, sketches, etc. to life. Use that same skill to bring what you want to happen in life (vs. what you don’t want to happen) to fruition. It’s not just the power of positive thinking … it’s the power of creativity.

Fear is fuel. 
We all know that fear is an ingredient necessary for courage. In other words, you can’t be brave without being afraid. The most confident badasses you know are probably a little freaked out on a daily basis. But what makes them badass is their ability to cope with the fear. To push through it and take risks, create, and move forward anyway. So, I’ve always visualized fear as a roadblock. A hurdle to be conquered. But what if instead fear was visualized as fuel? What if you used fear as the fire to light your path instead of making it the fire you’re trying to put out? How can you transform the feeling of fear into something that energizes you to move forward? For me, I think it’s reminding myself of the hero’s journey. No protagonist goes without a challenge.

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This last year at Designer VACA over dinner a bunch of us creatives were challenged to answer the question “What is the biggest risk you know you need to take this year?” It’s a question that probably brings up a little fear – but with all of the points above in mind I’d love to ask you the same thing. What is the biggest risk you know you need to take? Where does the fear in that risk lie? How could you transform that fear into fuel? Let me know in the comments! 

Here’s mine: The biggest risk I’m taking this year is slowing down. I’m giving myself permission to focus on my family and not pour 110% of my energy into my work (as much as I love what I do). The fear is in missing out on business opportunities, growing my income, and becoming jealous of the other creative entrepreneurs I admire who are busting their own asses to change the world. I’m going to transform this fear into faith that I’ve set up my business to take care of itself (with the help from my team), and that the pay off for investing in the life stuff will bring immense joy to my home and create new opportunities, personally and professionally, that I could never have even imagined.

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P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.


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