I often have my clients do something that terrifies them. In the end, they always love me for it. I know that if they can do something that truly terrifies them, the growth and the mindset shift that occur from “I can’t possibly do that” to “If I can do that, I can do anything” is completely liberating and game-changing.
The Story of One High-Achiever
Let me give you an example. I have a client, and for this post, I’ll call her Anne. Anne was one of the youngest partners ever at her prestigious CPA firm in the Northwest. She worked incredibly hard to get to this place professionally and remained focused on being a top producer at the firm. (Perhaps you can relate).
For Anne, something was missing. Producing constantly began to feel monotonous. She realized she wanted more—to connect with her coworkers, mentor her team, and coach them into their next level of leadership. She began coaching her team while doing the rest of her work. This worked great until she realized she had fallen head over heels in love with coaching.
A Career Change
Without telling her partners, Anne pursued her coaching certification and slowly started to build a business in her off-hours. She was already working a solid 50-60 hours a week in her CPA firm, so she carved out early mornings (starting the day at 4:30 am) and weekend hours to work on her coaching business.
When I met Anne in early spring, she had just received her coaching certification and she was trying to launch her practice. But, she was stuck in the “busy.”
She had switched coaching focus twice, had redone her website at least two times, and wasn’t making any real money doing what she loved—coaching people. She was still working at the CPA firm, not loving it, and feeling guilty because her partners, the ones who had taken a chance on her early on, had no idea she was considering a complete career change.
Exploring Fear & Moving Past It
In one of our coaching sessions, I began to see more clearly what was holding her back from her dream of having a successful coaching practice.
Anne was terrified of what people might think of her leaving a successful career to launch this practice. When I started coaching her in April, she still hadn’t told her friends and family of her dream. Plus, her partners at the firm had no idea. It was no wonder her coaching practice wasn’t moving forward.
She was terrified to be vulnerable with her family and friends. She was also terrified to disappoint her partners. What would everyone think of her?
When you are fearful of something, the natural inclination is to avoid it. If you are terrified of heights, you don’t climb mountains. Coming clean with these two groups were Anne’s “heights,” and her dream of helping people through her coaching practice was the mountain.
And so we got to work. We explored why she was fearful of what people would think, we brought light to her fears, and we created new ways of thinking about them. I then challenged her to write about it on her blog. I encouraged her to share what she was writing on her social media. Be open, be vulnerable, be transparent.
Her first post caused quite a stir. Not in a negative way, but it was definitely out of the norm for her to share so openly. Friends and family commented. And we coached on it.
And then, here is what happened: from that one vulnerable post, Anne began to get new clients. She started to grow her business (after almost a year of trying).
As she realized how powerful it could be to share your personal experiences, she started doing more of it. And her business continued to gain traction.
Next up, Anne had to tell her partners that she wanted to cut back on hours to work on her coaching practice more. She had wanted to have this conversation with them for over a year, but she put it off over and over again. And so we coached and coached, and as her business grew, she also became more and more confident.
Finally, she told her partners about her coaching practice. And a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders. No, they weren’t happy, but she’s learning to be okay with that. The fear was mostly gone, and she could move forward with her dreams.
Conquering Fears & Growing Confidence
Anne expected to feel better after opening up, but what she DIDN’T expect was the huge growth in her business. She has been averaging one new client each week, and she is feeling great about helping more and more people through her practice. Her vision for the future is clear. She is conquering her fears one by one and growing her confidence even further.
The other day, I asked Anne what she feared the most right now. The list was different than it was in April, so we picked a new fear and made a plan to tackle it.
She now knows what she has to do to reach her goals—she has to continue to tackle one fear at a time. Even though she is terrified, the growth she has experienced on the other side of fear is real and measurable. She’s beginning to believe that nothing can hold her back from reaching her dreams.
What Do You Fear?
What is keeping you from achieving your dreams? Make a list. Tackle your fears, and nothing can hold you back. Know that I am here if you need help. Grab a spot on my calendar or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.