Hey Floral Manifesto readers,
Before I dive into all the feels, let me introduce myself. My name is Barbara Erochina and I’m an emotional wellness coach & speaker, wedding celebrant and creator of Be With: Cards for Self-Care. I’m also unapologetically queer, charmingly verbose and a total self-compassion evangelist. Expect posts from me about mental health & being a boss lady and drop me a line at email@example.com if you want to hear from me about a topic in that wheelhouse. Also, I’m on Instagram @bewithcards, so let’s be insta friends.
November will mark exactly one year of running my emotional wellness coaching practice, and the end of my IndieGoGo campaign for Be With: Cards for Self-Care. To say it’s been a wild ride of a year is to put it lightly. Being my own boss has called on more faith, willpower, creativity and courage than I’ve ever mustered before. So, in honour of Margeaux’s upcoming #BossyList launch which will feature badass boss babes, I want to talk about an uncomfortable reality that most of us would rather avoid – the fear that comes up when we step out and play big.
Here are three things I’ve learned about fear while building my business.
1) Feel the fear & do it anyways.
I think this is one of those annoying truisms that all of us know, but deep down really hope isn’t the case. Despite how many times I’ve had to look fear straight in its beady little eyeballs and move forward with the product launch/goal setting/loan request/insert other intimidating bosslady move here, it really doesn’t matter. Every single time I get comfortable with where I am and look ahead to the next intimidating step, I think to myself “Hmm, maybe I should just post on Instagram instead of booking that fundraising meeting?” The fear is always there (as is my resulting procrastination) but what has changed over time is my capacity to sit with my fear. In the past, when feelings of fear or fraudulence surfaced, I would quickly move away from whatever was making me uncomfortable and jump into something else. However, though most of us hope that fear will eventually subside and we’ll gallantly stroll into our next challenge with ease, the first step to tackling fear is to actually acknowledge its presence. When fear raises its little hot poker head, usually resulting in extra perspiration or obsessive Instagram scrolling, I’ve learned to acknowledge its arrival and give myself a moment to check in. I like to keep it pretty simple, and just ask myself two questions. What am I afraid of? And what support do I need?
2) The presence of fear shows you care.
When I first began seeing coaching clients, I would get the shakes right before they arrived, like a Chihuahua. As someone with a tendency towards catastrophizing, I began to worry this meant that I wasn’t adequately prepared in some way. Maybe I needed to go back to school again, or join a collective or take another business course? Perhaps I needed to meditate for half an hour before each client arrived or eat only green things on coaching days? Thankfully, I came to my senses and remembered wise advice I’d received years ago: when you’re thinking about something and feeling afraid, it just shows you care. It simply means you’ve invested your heart in whatever it is that scares you and that it matters to you. My shakes didn’t mean that I wasn’t right for this work. In fact, they actually pointed towards my care for my clients and my coaching practice.
3) Sometimes, fear is covering up anger.
I recently discovered that sometimes I go to a place of fear when what I actually feel deep down is anger. Like most women, I was not given permission to feel and express my anger while growing up. And so I literally never learned the skills of anger: how to feel fear and trace its triggers, how to process it and express it and eventually release it. Recently, I decided to book a session with a financial planner and found myself petrified to sit down and prepare the budgets required for the meeting. I kept telling myself it was because I was afraid of being unprofitable, but when I really dug deep I discovered a buried anger underneath the fear. I was angry at myself for not having gotten help earlier, angry at a capitalist system that creates a sense of scarcity and pits us against each other, making it tremendously difficult to ask for help. Worst of all, I was angry at having had to pay for my years at university, self fund my business, and make major purchases all without the financial help of family. Granted, that last one is especially hard to admit, primarily because I’m aware of my existing privilege. Yet just because I feel uncomfortable with the nature of my anger, that doesn’t make it any less legitimate. Admitting that I was angry about how little support I’ve received structurally allowed me to connect with my desire for more support right now. Knowing this, I’m able to be more proactive about reaching out for and accessing financial support from other generous sources, knowing it is crucial for my emotional and business health.
Having a healthy relationship with our fear isn’t easy, but it is both possible and necessary if we want to take leadership of our lives. Most of us dismiss our fear without asking it what it has to teach us, and often that is the first and most important step to unlocking our potential. Get to know your fear – it can point the way to go and the support we need to get there.Tags: anxiety, fear, feelings, mental health, therapy
This post was written by Barbara Erochina