Overcoming the fear of being your authentic self

Okay so I’m freaking out a little bit. Safeway just asked me to advertise my life coaching business on their shopping carts. Me? With my PHOTO!?!? Me? The girl who always sat in the back of the room and never raised her hand. The girl who HATED Halloween because people look at you (no matter what you wear, people still look, it’s a lose-lose!). I made sure I was never too smart or too dumb, too fast or too slow, too shy or too friendly. I found safety in blending in and I LIKED it that way.

But here’s the thing….staying small and invisible started to become boring. I became irritable, restless, itching for something new. We aren’t here to live a comfortable, easy life that looks the same as everyone else. We are here to GROW and growing requires us to overcome our fears, and I had a lot.

A friend of mine came to my “Talking to Kids about Sex” parent ed night last week. (The next Time for The Talk class starts Jan. 21, sign up with your kid today!). She had such a great time she told everyone she knew about it. As a naturally gregarious person with a career in sales, people can’t help but become enthusiastic whenever she talks. HOWEVER, as soon as she started talking about HER business, HER passion, she got quiet. She belongs to a travel club that she loves and wants to get more of her friends to join, but when I ask her about it, she deflects, “Oh, well, it’s just a hobby I do on the side.” I convinced her to give me her pitch me on joining her travel club and she stiffens up and switches to a more formal, less passionate presentation. I ask “Why did you tell more people about MY business this week than YOUR business? Her answer is simple, FEAR.-Do one thing every day that scares you.-

Fear of rejection. Fear of people thinking I’m pushy. Fear of people not liking me. Fear of being different. Fear of being seen for who you really are. When you are trying to be authentically you, you are going to separate yourself from the pack. We are social animals so this fear is natural, but rarely helpful. She could talk about my business because it wasn’t personal or important to her. Overcoming these fears gets easier the more you do it.

The first time I admitted that I “sorta, kinda, wanna be a life coach”, I started crying. I nearly had a panic attack writing my “about me” page on my website and could barely breathe the first few times I pushed “publish” on my blog. I’m so used to fear now it’s turned from a scary lion about to attack to an annoying house cat that pounces on your head once in awhile. When we do things that scare us, we don’t just accomplish our goal, we build a meta-skill that we can use every time fear shows up.

I no longer think putting my face on a shopping cart will endanger my life (I seriously believed it could). I’m sure someone will draw a mustache and boogers on my face but I think I can handle it now. I can’t say I will ever be able to shop with my face staring back at me from my cart, or even shop at that particular Safeway, but overcoming one fear at a time is enough for me.

The best books I have read about overcoming fear are…

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers