One of the things I love about Life Coaching is that it helps a person make an impact on their life right now. Unlike therapy or counseling, it isn’t necessary to know the whole story and all of the “why’s” in order to start taking steps forward.
I want to make it clear right now that I do NOT think life coaching should take the place of therapy/counseling. Some people may need one or the other, some people may want to have both. It is an individual’s choice to make sure their specific needs are being met. Life coaching isn’t about delving into past traumas or childhood experiences to discover why we act or feel the way we do. It is simply about coming up with a motivating plan to move forward from where you currently are.
That being said, life coaching does require a person to be vulnerable and honest. This can be really hard when talking about fears and insecurities, especially if you haven’t already been working your way through them.
My big fear is to live an unfulfilling life. A life with little emotional connection, no big-life talks, no exciting new experiences or travels to different places. A life where I am stuck in a comfortable but boring day job, feeling like I don’t make a difference in the world. A life where I don’t have a purpose. Essentially, I am just waiting to die because I’ve given up hope that life can be bright and inspiring and full.
The thing about my fear is that I have already lived it. I was trapped in a job, a relationship, a life that felt suffocating. I was filled with anxiety over the thought of never having something more meaningful to me. That is why I quit my job, ended a five-year relationship, and moved to a different state to start over. I had to leave behind the comforts of home and embrace the unknown in the hopes that things would work out for the better. And, so far they have.
I recently learned a new definition of fear in class:
How do we overcome fear?
F- face it
E- express it
A- acknowledge it
R- release it
One way of facing and expressing your fear is by turning it into a metaphor. Speaking of something metaphorically is sometimes easier than openly discussing a painful fear, and it can bring objectivity to a situation. Also, in your metaphor, you are entirely in control. You can overcome any roadblock that is set in your path.
My fear feels like a room with no doors. I’m in the room alone, and it is pretty threadbare. One entire wall is made of glass and I can see out into the world. People are constantly passing by, but they don’t pay attention to my little room. I try to get their attention but they can’t hear me. They are participating in life. They are making a difference in the world through work that they’re passionate about. They are embracing relationships and friendships fully and basking in the love they are giving and receiving. They are traveling, trying new things, finding new hobbies, new likes and dislikes, new ideas.
My room is isolating and uninspiring, but it is safe. I can’t be hurt by others. I can’t fail or disappoint myself or others. I want to go outside, I want to live in the light, but I’m so worried I won’t be good enough, I won’t succeed, I won’t bring anything important to the world. What if I enter the light and fail? What if I am a burden to those around me? What if they were better off when I stayed in the shadows?
Still, my heart longs for adventure. I can’t stop thinking about what I might achieve. “Maybe I could succeed,” I whisper to myself, and a small crack appears in the glass.
“I have stories that others might relate to.” A snapping sound as another crack appears.
“I’ll never know unless I try.”
My voice slightly louder, I say, “I’m a good listener. I’m thoughtful and caring. Others could benefit from having me around.”
“Why shouldn’t I be happy? Why shouldn’t I dream big dreams?”
“I’m holding myself back in this room. I’m playing small. I’m hiding from potential happiness and success.”
Taking a step back, I see the web of cracks connecting all over the glass. It seems precariously balanced, like one wrong move would send it shattering into a million pieces.
“My voice is powerful,” I say louder.
The glass shakes, every so slightly.
Suddenly, I am so sure of myself. “I am powerful!” I shout. “I have the power to create any life I want!”
With this final declaration, the glass bursts into tiny, glittering pieces clattering to the ground. The dividing wall between myself and the world is gone. It is up to me what I do next. I step forward and feel the warm sunlight hit my skin. I smell the fresh, clean air. I hear laughter in the distance. My heart is so full.
Looking over my shoulder, I see my small, dark room. Sunlight is streaming through the opening, brightening the corners. It doesn’t seem so threatening anymore. I turn back to the sun and take a step forward into the unknown.
When I started speaking this metaphor to my classmates, I had no idea what was going to come out. I knew I felt trapped, but hadn’t realized the feelings of isolation and looking out at others. I sure as hell didn’t know my voice would be the tool I used to free myself. But with my eyes closed, deep in the visualization of my metaphor, I just knew. I knew that the power was inside of me. I just had to be brave enough to use it.
What is your fear? What is it holding you back from? If you turned your fear into a metaphor, how would you smash it?