Feeling afraid to step outside your comfort zone is normal. The trick is to be afraid and do it anyway.
Whenever we start something new, and push ourselves outside our comfort zone, something called imposter syndrome takes over. We start feeling like a fraud which leads to questioning ourselves, and we open the door for fear and self-doubt to creep in.
So, what do you do when self-doubt takes over and throws you into the grip?
You get moving and you stay in consistent action! Even if you’re afraid, you keep taking small steps towards your goals every day.
The inner voice in your head that’s telling you that you’re not good enough or that you don’t know what you’re doing loses its megaphone voice when you start taking action and doing the things you’re meant to do.
Here’s the tea: Whenever you start a new job, a side-hustle, a new business or anything unfamiliar, it’s normal to get butterflies in your stomach, and feel like your nerves are getting the best of you. But truth be told, these are actually good feelings and often show up when you’re in growth mode.
Learn to drill into your fear and understand where it’s coming from.
Our bodies are designed to protect us and keep us comfortable. So just know when you’re doing something that is outside of the normal routine and completely different, your body is going to push the alarm and expect you to get back in formation.
By taking consistent action, trusting yourself and having faith in what you cannot see, you are building your muscle of resiliency and your confidence will expand.
Connect with the part of you that is open to growing and daring to do things differently.
Dancing with fear and self-doubt is an art and takes practice. Keep doing it and before long you won’t even know they are there.
Mission North Star might be your answer! January is a natural time for reflection. A shiny new year is upon us, ripe with possibilities and the opportunity to set fresh new goals. It’s also time to look back at the previous year and assess what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps you were working with a professional coach but the results were less than you expected. You may have had lofty goals for 2017 and yet, you find yourself wondering where the last year went. If you did not achieve long-term objectives, it may be time to change coaches.
You do not shrink from a challenge. You are determined to do the work, invest in yourself and take a leap forward in 2018. But it can be difficult to know where to start. I know the feeling and I can tell you that the coach you choose can make a huge difference. After years of working in Corporate America, I decided to take the plunge and pursue my own dream of becoming a certified executive leadership coach. By working with many professional women over the years, I understand the challenges and opportunities women face in today’s business environment and the steps necessary to make real and meaningful change. Executive coaching is an investment in yourself – and your future.
As a result of my experience working with professional women, I’ve developed a signature program designed to accelerate results! If you’ve been less than thrilled with the coaching you’ve had thus far, consider signing up for Mission North Star. This program is designed for YOU – a high achieving woman with an executive role in an organization. Mission North Star gives you the unique opportunity to work through some of the toughest challenges you face – and do so in a safe, comfortable environment.
What do you have to gain? Successful leaders know that they can benefit from outside insight. A fresh, new perspective and a shift in mindset are just a few of the benefits you’ll see when you work with me. Here’s what else you can expect:
- You’ll learn how to make your ideas a reality.
- You’ll receive personal attention from someone who gets to know you and your goals.
- You’ll have someone who supports you and guides you forward through tough decisions and seemingly insurmountable walls.
- We’ll work together to define your goals and objectives and an accountability structure that works for you.
- You’ll hear unbiased opinions.
- You’ll gain a trusted confidante.
- You’ll build personal and professional resilience.
- You’ll go outside your comfort zone!
As a professional, you know that change doesn’t happen overnight and it takes time and commitment. Mission North Star is your map to the highest levels of success. It’s a six month program that works. We’ll travel this journey together.
Like any relationship, finding a person you can trust takes a leap of faith. If you’ve worked with a coach before and didn’t experience the results you wanted, you weren’t working with the right coach. When you’re working with me, the future should seem brighter and the path to realize your dreams should be clear and compelling. Let’s make 2018 the year where you accomplish your goals and redefine your story.
I look forward to working with you.
1. Thou shall embrace perfectionism, for without it, you are a failure.
2. Thou shall not make any mistakes, lest you will be banned from all board room meetings.
3. Always remember, there are no dress rehearsals, only the main performance.
4. Thou shall never be out sick, otherwise, others will rush to judgment and think you are enjoying a stroll in the park, or watching day-time TV.
5. You must exceed all metrics, even the ones that are deemed unobtainable but good for business.
6. Thou shall love the workplace, more than you love yourself and your family.
7. Sacrifice, sacrifice and then sacrifice more. It is the only way you will make it close to the C-Suite.
8. Thou shall only be permitted to wear navy, black or brown suits and stilettos in the same variety of color.
9. Thou shall not look for or expect any praise or recognition for a job well done. In other words, no news is good news.
10.Thou shall always play big enough to remain in the game, but small enough to never win.
While the 10 Commandments of a Professional Woman is satirical in nature, there may be a nugget or two that strikes reality for you. The question is “How much of myself do I have to give up to be successful?” and “What do I need or want right now, in this moment, that I don’t have?”
Being your true self is the most effective formula for success, and while that sounds simple, many of us struggle with understanding who we really are, and what makes us happy.
As we age, and become more centered, we find that happiness and joy come from intrinsic goals, such as spending more time with family and friends, becoming active in causes that we believe in and practicing gratitude.
When you focus on your values rather than chasing achievement, you will ultimately discover personal fulfillment.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
When we are striving towards our dreams sometimes it is easier to fool ourselves into thinking that we won’t get the new contract, or get the promotion, or we won’t meet the love of our life, so why even think about it?
Playing small can feel deceptively safe and comfortable.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned to expect my regular visits from Gabby, my inner critic or my saboteur, who from time to time overstays her unwelcomed visit. Typically, she arrives when I’m thinking about doing something new or challenging like talking to a new business lead, speaking to a group of women, or promoting my coaching services and programs.
There are days when I can simply tell her where to go, or just plain ignore her. And then there are other days, when it seems she’s overly persistent about unpacking her bag and hanging out for a while.
Sometimes when she’s settled in, I can feel myself beginning to question why I am doing what I’m doing. I start asking myself, wouldn’t it just have been much easier to stay in corporate, earn a paycheck and play by someone else’s rules. Have you ever felt like that?
On those days and in those moments, when Gabby’s voice is loud and booming in my ear, and I sense myself slowing down and stopping, I remind myself of my own parents, who were both entrepreneurs.
My father opened his first dry cleaners in the 1950’s and eventually had a chain of dry cleaners, small restaurants and even multi-family units. And my mother was a “special occasion” seamstress. My mom, was the person you went to when you wanted a special dress, for your wedding, or prom or a big event.
My mom was the ultimate designer and her work was both unique and beautiful.
I imagine that for both of my parents, who were enormously gifted and creative, it wasn’t an easy ride. I’m certain that without commitment, perseverance and faith, they would have given up and not been as successful as they were.
Their demonstrated examples of endurance and patience and of what it meant to choose faith over fear, instill in me, a sense of fortitude and renews my spirit to forge ahead with clarity and purpose.
We all feel this way at points in our life, so if you’ve felt like this know you are not alone. There are some techniques I use to help me turn my fear into faith and overcome self doubt, I’m going to share those with you now!
- Practice Mindfulness To Increase Your Awareness
Mindfulness is a practice which can help you become more aware of what is going on in your body, mind and spirit throughout the day, I recommend it to many of my clients who find it very powerful.
We spend so much of our time distracted, moving from activity to activity and flicking through our phones in between. The frantic nature of our world has left us disconnected from ourselves, it’s strange that in this world where we have never been more “connected” we can feel this way. But we can and do feel disconnected even if we don’t identify it as the problem.
When fear arises it’s important to recognize when it is happening. Without a certain amount of awareness we can easily become trapped in a cycle of negative thinking unable to take ourselves out of it. There is a short exercise I highly recommend you start practicing 5-10 minutes per day to start growing your awareness.
Find a quiet space free from distraction. Sit either in a chair or cross legged on the floor, if you prefer you can also lie down but it’s better if you can sit up right. Just take a minute or two to come into the space, close your eyes and just breathe. Notice how it feels to just breathe.
If you like you can continue unguided in this way, feeling your breath and just starting to notice how the breath feels in your body. Where it arises, how it moves in your body. Anything that comes up at all during the exercise is meant to be, whether a thought or many thoughts come up, a feeling, a sensation, just notice what is going on. Or, if you feel you need some guidance, then you can use these guided mindfulness practices.
2.When Fear Arises Notice Where And How It Arises
The first step to overcoming fear is to recognize it as fear and this is where your mindfulness practice becomes practically useful in everyday life. It is much easier to ignore emotions and thoughts that are uncomfortable, to attempt to hide them or cover them up. But you will notice that if you just start to get to know your fear a little bit, that it will start to lessen. It might sound strange but it really does work like this. Start by noticing where the fear is in your body and how it feels. Does it feel hot or cold? Does it sit in your stomach or in your chest or both? Can you notice how you are breathing is in this moment, has the fear quickened or slowed your breath? There is no judgement here at all, this is simply starting to get to know your fear a little bit, becoming aware of how it feels in your body
3.When Fear Arises Address It Directly
The final stage is to directly address it as you would an old acquaintance. You can even get a bit comical with yourself at this point. If you like you can name your fear, I spoke about Gabby earlier in the post. When I have moments of fear and self doubt I treat it as something to be addressed “Oh, so it’s you again, ok!”.
Give your fear a name and see what happens when you address it directly!
Choosing faith over fear means that you can crush self doubt and move ahead. Having faith gives you the hope that inspires you to take that next step and make that next move. Faith is the source that gives us energy to endure the long winter, and delight in the first blossoms of spring. It is the belief that tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities and a fresh new start. Choosing faith over fear lets you exhale and take in a new breath, and sometimes, all we ever need, is just a chance to start all over again.
I would love to know in the comments below, do you have any techniques you use to turn your fear around?
How satisfied are you with your life right now? And have you ever given any thought to what you would change, if anything, about your life? Have you ever pondered over what you want more of and what would you want less of in your life? For me, I wanted more connection. I wanted to move away from feeling isolated in the routine of my life. Not that there weren’t plenty of people around me every day; after all, being the fourteenth person in line at a local Dunkin Donuts every day was a definite reminder that I was not alone. I simply craved more joy, and I wanted to feel like I had a purpose beyond getting up in the morning, sitting in traffic and going to my office for eight to twelve hours a day.
Wanting something to be different, means you have to invite change into your life. That’s where I got stuck. You see, in my heart I wanted things to be different; but in my head, I liked the idea that I was comfortable. And I wasn’t quite sure what the outcome would be if I started shaking things up and messed with the status quo. I was running on auto pilot. It was much easier to ignore the whispers in my ear that told me there is so much more out there to life, and so many opportunities to find something that would get me excited and ignite the passion that I felt when I graduated from college years ago, and anticipated that greatness awaited.
It goes right back to knowing what we all know, which is “If you want something to be different in your life, you have to do something differently”. Trust me, creating change is not as scary as it sounds. In fact, discovering new passions or getting reacquainted with old ones can make huge a difference. Let’s just say it’s the difference between a hot chocolate Sunday and a granola bar. Both have their positive attributes, but boy, are they different.
If this resonates with you, then I invite you to begin making moves to find whatever it is you would like to have more of in your life. Feel free to embrace possibility or just take a look around the bend and notice the positive things that are waiting for you. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- With pen & pad, or your PC in front of you, write down all the things that you love doing. It doesn’t matter if they were things that you did when you were a kid, or when you were single, or when you were ten years younger. Just start making list of all the things that brought you joy. My list included, painting, traveling to new cities, learning a new language, discovering new book shops and finding more jazz festivals.
- Now that you have your list, give yourself a moment to embrace this new perspective, and to get clear on what you want. Think about what serves you in the best way, and what doesn’t. What’s in it for you?
- Get some support. Hire a coach. Hiring a coach can help you stay on track and create structures that keep you focused on pouring back into you. Creating positive change in your life can be challenging, whether you are choosing to lose twenty pounds or planning to run your first marathon. Having a good support structure in place will help you develop your plan, track your milestones and ultimately accomplish your goal.
- Change your behaviors and get started making moves. Take a look at your list and determine what steps you can take to get closer to creating the life you want. Figure out what daily habits you need to develop so that you can get more out of your day. And, even if it’s listening to your favorite music, watching less TV, spending more time outdoors, joining a yoga class , going on a camping trip, or getting together with a group of your favorite people, the idea is to find more joy, any way you can and embrace the changes that lead you there.
My name is Denise Harris, and I’m a life coach, who helps people get out of their heads and into finding more fulfillment and joy in life.