Before becoming a full time coach I used to work in the corporate arena, traveling around as a project management consultant. I went into companies at all levels of seniority and had to engage them in the right way to ensure that there was rapport, respect and trust. I haven't been inside an office for around three years now, and now it feels strange to think about being in that environment. When an opportunity came up to talk to BBC Worldwide about coaching and career development part of me said "Go, Go, Go!" while another part said, "Blimey Steve, you haven't done anything like this in ages, what if you can't do it anymore?." I noticed that some fear was creeping in and that if I didn't do something it could easily hold me back. I remembered Nancy's simple exercise and asked myself the question, "What would I do if I wasn't afraid?" I wrote down some answers,
If I wasn't afraid I'd-
...go and do it anyway
...be able to pull all that experience that I've got together and make great use of it
...go along, just be myself and trust that it will all happen in the right way
And there were many more. What happened instantly is that I felt like I was back in the driver's seat, not sitting in the back whining about how badly the car was being driven. It connected me again with the things that the fear had trodden over, the things that I know I've got, the things I know I can do. It gave me a real sense of freedom and choice.
Here's what I want you to do.
1. Think of the areas in your life where you want some kind of breakthrough or advancement. Write each of them down. They might be things like relationship, work, finances, confidence, etc. or they might be more specific.
2. For each of them ask yourself, "What would I do if I wasn't afraid?" Don't worry about whether you're actually afraid or not, don't worry about how big the fear is, just put yourself in a place where there is no fear and look at what you'd be able to do.
3. Come up with at least six answers for each area.
What comes out of this exercise isn't necessarily a to-do list - you're not obliged to carry out the ideas that you've written down. What often happens with this exercise is that you simply start doing one of your ideas naturally anyway, without wondering which one to act upon. It's a really simple and powerful tool to remember, and you can do it as often as you like to put yourself back in the driver's seat. Pretty soon you're acknowledging your fears and living beyond them.
Steve Errey is a life coach based in the UK who works with singles and couples on their fulfilment. He coaches people around the world via telephone on different parts of their lives, with particular focus and experience in relationships, careers, confidence and self-esteem.
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