Fear can drive you, motivate you, slow you down, stop you in your tracks or push you to keep going, and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all had times of fear in our lives and certainly over the last couple of weeks.
When lockdown first hit, I, as with many of us, assumed it would be initially just a few weeks of working from home. As things escalated and became more serious, I remember the overwhelming sense of fear about leaving the house, my family, my business, my income, my clients.
Fear is a common topic of conversation with my clients. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not being seen. Fear of being seen. Fear of burnout. Fear of not being liked. Fear of letting people down. Fear of change. Fear of not changing. Fear of the known. Fear of the unknown. And much more besides.
This year I laid a lot of new foundations, got complete clarity on the work that I want to do, rebranded and relaunched a business and left the day to day side of The Chrysalis Crew that I’d started in 2014. New beginnings and whilst exciting, a lot of fear as I felt like I was starting all over again. And with that the fear of losing income and existing clients.
As I started to think about 2022 I set even bigger goals, created and refined new services and aimed high. Fear set in again. What if I fail? What if I make a fool of myself? What if nobody wants anything I’m offering? What if the money doesn’t come? And yet I knew that I had to keep going.
In November as my stepson’s Mum was admitted to hospital with an aneurysm, more fear. A very different kind. Worst case scenario’s, perhaps a very different life depending on the outcomes of the five hour operation she was about to endure, and a need to present and focused in a different way at home.
My Mum then received a positive COVID diagnosis, and the fear of this and her refusal to have the vaccine presented a mix of thoughts and feelings, a lot of fear and more of the unknown.
And then last Wednesday I woke, to a numbness in my face, no sight in my left eye and a paralysed left side of my face. My smile gone, my ability to talk and eat minimal, and once again the fear consumed me along with a head full of questions. A day in A&E, tests that could have highlighted something serious and that thankfully didn’t.
But the questions kept coming.
How long is temporary paralysis? When might things improve? What if things didn’t improve? How will I work when my face and my voice are my work and my brand? How will I complete the recordings of my new online programme? And at the same time, the previous fears of whether I’d look and sound ok on camera, and whether I’d be judged for my work we’re no longer there. The small things that I’d created in my mind into big things, now so insignificant. What matters is my work and the outcomes it provides, not my face, and not my smile.
As we continue to grow and things change around us, fear comes, we move through it, we grow and then as we step up another level the fear comes again. For me, fear comes up when I’m about to level up, and this time was no different. Would I hide behind the fear and not be seen, postponing all of my work, or would I feel the fear and do it anyway? The latter felt like THE only choice I had, and I’m going with it.
I don’t believe that we can avoid fear, and I believe there is a message in the fear for all of us and something for us all to learn as we create awareness around it, move through and keep growing. The same fear may no longer be present more than once, but fear will keep coming. And it’s for you to decide how you choose to react to it.
Do you feel it? Do you fight it? Do you ignore it? Or something else?
In 2013, Kelly had a successful leadership career, yet she was burned out, exhausted, and missing out on life with her family. Determined to enjoy the success that she had earned, she's learned to create a life of balance and boundaries that is also highly successful. Today, Kelly is founder of The Chrysalis Crew and Executive Coach at Kelly Swingler Ltd. She's helped women leaders all over the world to prevent and recover from burnout by becoming their own VIPs without giving up their careers or jeopardising their wellbeing.There Are No Rules!