Client Wisdom: Fear.

Steps to overcome and remove fear

Fear. Fear at work. Fear in relationships. Fear with play. Fear.
Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of boring.
Fear of rejection. Fear of judgment. Fear of messy. Fear of Skynet. 
Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear.

My clients are so smart. Even with fear.

I’m sure you have heard “have no fear” or been pushed to get over fear quickly by others. Our culture teaches and pushes us towards this as, in my opinion, we are a culture striving for success and fear obviously prevents that.

However, fear and anxiety do more than that. Consider they prevent happiness, alignment, and inner peace.

“Fear is the emotional response to a specific stimulus (real or perceived) that poses an imminent threat, whereas anxiety is the anticipation of possible threats that are obscure and undefined.” — McLean Hospital

However, have no fear (use of words is intentional) as fear is a natural human emotion and one we can use wisely.

Fear is a topic that comes up often in coaching especially when I work with business owners and topics of fear of failure and fear of success keep popping up. This client session was no different.

In this session, my client wanted to talk about overcoming fears and in particular, she wanted to walk away with specific steps that she can confidently use to overcome fear in general and/or particular fears as needed.

Lovely agenda and a helpful one to work on!

I asked my client to go into the relationship she has towards fear.  We discussed her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of fear.

And then something really special and magical happened.

Purpose of fear.

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” — Karl Augustus Menninger

I asked my wise client to define her purpose of fear and I’m going to quote her:

“Scientifically it is there for protection and to keep us aware . Especially if in a risky situation and at that time you need to think about what’s happening and what you’re doing. If it’s something unfamiliar our body senses it and we need to use different parts of our brain to put into perspective what is happening. We need to process and recognize when to listen to this fear and recognize when to overcome it and not let it make the decision for me.”

Be still my heart. Calm down goosebumps.

Her definition and reasoning behind why we had fear was so beautifully spoken.

It’s funny, in life and especially in coaching, you often aren’t aware of what you say because you’re not making that connection between your knowledge and your capacity of action.

That disconnect is very common.

“Laughter is poison to fear.” — George R.R. Martin

So when I heard her speak of the purpose of fear I was in awe.  I actually had goosebumps.

I told her that her defined purpose of fear actually has actionable steps in it AND also talks about how to confidently overcome fear. She has the answers in her! It was so beautiful.

K[no]w fear, curious, education, laughter

Action Steps

So I’m going to break down what she said and have you learn from her wisdom on a way to have steps to confidently overcome fear.

1 Recognize that you have fear. It’s important to be able to identify that that is the emotion you’re psychologically and neurologically experiencing.

2. Become aware. Are you safe or are you in danger? This is where our brain is protecting us from the hungry lion that comes to attack. Basically, are you going to be eaten, maimed, homeless, etc. Become aware if this is a legitimate fear.

3. Assess the situation appropriately to the fear.

If this is a legitimate fear then run, hide, freeze, fight… whatever it is you need to do to stay safe, right?

If you are not in an unsafe situation, this is the time to shift out of the emotional brain and into the analytical brain. Put into perspective what is happening. Are you looking at the fearful situation only via the lens of negative potential outcomes? You have the capacity to change that, right? Instead, choose to view it through the lens of a positive potential outcome.

For example, you have a fear of failure with starting a new project. You are viewing this via fear and anxiety. Fear of being laughed at, fear of people not liking it, fear of getting it wrong. Can you see how that is viewing it via the lens of negative potential outcomes? At this time, you can choose to view the new project via the lens of positive potential outcomes. Examples: people will love the new project, people will like some of it and you have the opportunity to be more creative, you get to play and have fun with the creativity, you have the freedom of something fresh.

4. Recognize that you have the capacity to make the decision for you and not let fear make your decisions. Do you need to expand your social network? Do you need to “just do it” or K[no]w Fear so you can have fun? Do you need to use a different Search tool to get answers? Do you need to find someone who can guide you through the process, like a mentor? Do you need to sleep on something and resume at a later date when you have full creative mental capacity? (Consider fear is telling you to take a break so you can make a better decision later).

Sometimes your lack of sleep or too many choices can bring fear about.


“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” — James Stephens

Did this help you see fear from a different way?

Fear is a very natural thing that is a human component of life and it’s something that we can use to our advantage to keep us safe.

We can choose to not be stopped and bravely push forward when it is not serving us.

Consider what is on the other side of fear. Could you experience growth, opportunity, fun, or creativity? Do you get to learn from a mistake? Do you get to experience something blissful?

How does this relate to anxiety? When we are anxious we could use the same steps from above for anxiety. We can become aware that it is anxiety what we’re experiencing. We can switch by choice to our logical side by asking what is really happening right now, what are you doing right now? This allows us to see if there is something to do instead. Of course, listen when anxiety is appropriate, and honestly, that’s not that often.

Use these skills to know when anxiety and fear are not helping your day.

Share this post with others who can K[no]w the fun, happy, aligned side of Fear.