The Necessity of Confronting Fear On the Path to Finding Work We Love

(image by @recipesforselflove on instagram)

One of the most common themes I’ve encountered in doing this work is fear and the role it plays in building careers and lives we love. 

Fear is probably the biggest impediment when it comes to even deciding to discover and then pursue work we love. 

We are afraid that what we want may not be possible, that it may mean we need to create radical changes that will be incompatible with our current lives, or that we will fall flat on our faces, end up broke, and disappoint ourselves and the people in our lives. 

For some of us, not knowing exactly where we’re headed will shut us right down all together.

And so, we do nothing. Or maybe a lot of somethings that are not really moving us forward in any way.

Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking “YES, ALL THE ABOVE AND MORE!”

When I first started this coaching business, I couldn’t believe the amount of fear that was coming my way. Each week, I was confronted with a new layer of fears. 

When I decided to position myself as a coach for LGBTQ people, it took me a few weeks to really be OK and confident with that decision (the fear said: “Rita, please! What do you even know about LGBTQ experiences” as though I haven’t been queer and bisexual for my whole life and spent the better part of the last 10 years heavily immersed in LGBTQ+ communities, ha!). 

Next, I was afraid of charging people for my services (“You’re really not good enough to be charging people money”, said Fear.  As though I hadn’t spent the better part of the last 4 years deeply immersed in cultivating my communication, listening and coaching skills!). 

Then, the two nights before hosting my first workshop as a coach, I kept waking up from nightmares and unable to really sleep because I was so terrified I would totally mess it up and all the people who paid to be there would think I’m a horrible coach and facilitator and want their money back (needless to say, that certainly wasn’t the case and a bunch of folks had some major breakthroughs and the overwhelming feedback I got was that the prices I charged for what they got were too low!).

And it goes on, I’m still faced with a new layer of fear each week. Luckily for me, I’ve spent a lot of my time and personal growth work over the last few years gaining experience with and learning to understand fear. Especially with the experience of being terrified before the workshop, I knew that what was going on wasn’t really about thinking I wasn’t going to be any good at this, but that the roots were a little deeper. So I was able to just move through it and hold onto the confidence and excitement I knew I had about presenting my workshop. 

Here is what I’ve learned so far about Fear as it relates to pursuing a career that you love:

1. Be Prepared: Expect Fear to Get Louder and Set the Right Supports in Place To Be Able to Face it and Keep Moving Along Your Path

I’ve spent a lot of time, energy and some money setting myself up with the right supports to hold me when I feel afraid and let me cry or freak out about something that feels scary. These supports have all been created with the ability to hold true that this is actually just a part of my process and that I’m actually ok and just doing exactly what I need to do to keep moving. Once the fear has been processed, it controls me less and I can keep moving with my life and business in the directions that I know are right for me, regardless of what the fear is saying. 

2. Fear is a Necessary Part of Being On The Right Path

I’ve also learned that following the path of your heart’s calling will necessarily bring up A LOT of “scary” things. (Note the air quotes. Because things become way less scary once you actually look fear in the eye). At this point, I’m almost certain that if you’re not having fear (after fear!) come up trying to stop you at every turn, you’re probably not doing it right!

The reason this is the case is because setting our paths straight (or ‘queering’ our paths!!) means we are putting ourselves out there in ways that run counter to our deeply embedded belief systems about ourselves. Which leads me to my next point!

3. Confronting Fear Leads Us To Transform our Lives and Reveal Our True Selves

Let’s take my example of feeling afraid of running my workshop when I first started my coaching business. 

Up until then I had been operating on a belief system that kept my shying away from positioning myself as a knowledgeable and visible ‘expert’ on anything. So much so that presenting a workshop on a topic that I deeply understood (it was about fear, by the way!) was challenging the ways I’d previously believed that my wisdom wasn’t worth sharing on a more visible platform. 

So the fear kept screaming: “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH/SMART ENOUGH/ READY FOR THIS”. And each time I take an action or makes a decision that challenges this belief system, I’ll expect that Fear will have something to say about it!

But I will say that the depth in transformation that I’ve been experiencing and the pace at which I’ve been growing more and more into the badass, brilliant and creative self I always knew myself to be (but didn’t necessarily have access to all of the time) has been mind blowing. Inching closer and closer to realizing your dreams and confronting the fears along the way has been completely transforming my life and the way I think about careers and business.

Each time you tackle a new fear and the belief system from which it emerged, you come out on the other side a little more confident, vibrant, and more YOU. 

Following your heart into a new career path is totally worth it. Your happiness and your well-being are worth it. YOU are totally worth it.

4. Your Powerful Self Shrinks Fear Into Bite-Sized Things of the Past

The last thing I’ll say about fear is that I’m looking back now at the things I was afraid of even a month ago and realizing that those things are way less powerful than I was giving them credit for at the time. 

I came up against hurdles that felt like insurmountable impossibilities. I’m completely blown away now each time I think back to those things (and almost every week, there was a new mountain too impossible to climb). 

I’m reminded of being on an airplane and flying over a city highway. I always think: wow, when I’m driving by a massive truck like that on the highway I feel like it’s going to gulp me up and eat me for breakfast. But from way up here, it’s merely the size of an ant.

I’m completely amazed at my ability to have just trusted that those barriers I was experiencing were at least not as impossible to move as I felt they were. And believe me, I didn’t do any of this on my own. I had a lot of help!

Fear is going to try and tell you to stay put, to not do anything different than what you’re doing now, and to warn you of all the supposed horrifying dangers of leaving your job, or following your dream, or whatever else you start to want or decide to take action on. 

The good news is that you are more powerful than your fear, I promise! And the two of us together? Your Fear doesn’t even stand a chance!

So if you’re ready to do something different and take a chance on your future, click below to book Career Fear to Career Possibility where you and I will get really clear on what’s stopping you from making your dream into a reality and give you some clear action steps to get you right on your way!

From now until March 31st, you can get it for only $60 (normally valued at 250!) in celebration of my site launch. Use code LAUNCH60 at checkout!

Thanks for reading!

With love, in power and in kindness,

Rita Alma

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