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Overcoming The Fear of Visibility as A Life Coach
Have you ever been told that in order to succeed, you'll have to "put yourself out there"? Make connections. Be memorable. Speak up. Showcase your skills. Exude confidence.
Yeah, we thought so.
While all these platitudes have their place, it's much easier said than done. Especially if you already have a tendency to shy away from the spotlight.
Rather than trying to fake it 'till you make it, here's what actually helps.
Start by uncovering where the underlying fear of being seen comes from.
For some, it might be stage-fright related to posting personal stories and videos on social media. In that case, you may be putting off creating the content because you’re harboring a fear around how people might respond to what you share.
Often, we may not have a clear idea at first of what the fear is really about. In order to move forward, you’ll need to get curious and find out!
Identifying what you’re really afraid of is the first step to overcoming it.
Think about the areas where you may be holding back, or feeling intimidated. Ask yourself: What is it that I’m most concerned about?
- Is it the judgement of others?
- Fear of failing?
- Not knowing how to talk about fees during a sales call with a prospective coaching client?
Once you’ve nailed down what you’re afraid of and why, you can begin to formulate strategies to overcome it. Here's a few principles that can help in the process:
#1 - There’s always going to be something that scares you
Many successful coaches got to where they are today through sheer grit. This means taking the road less traveled. Facing down challenges. And yes, conquering fears. The personal qualities that motivate us to thrive in spite of adversity are often the same ones that draw us into the coaching profession. If you were to ask any successful life coach if they’ve ever struggled with imposter syndrome, or were afraid to start their own business? Most will answer with a resounding “Hell yes!”
So what does it take to overcome those fears? Explore 6 Fears Every Aspiring Coach Must Face.
#2 - Embrace how you want to show up in the world
Doubt opens up a crack through which our fears can creep in. For this reason, it's important to really understand and be committed to the WHY behind that big, scary thing you want to do.
Let's say you are passionate about helping women rebuild their self esteem after going through divorce. Your own divorce put you through the wringer, so now you want to help make that process easier for others than it was for you. You're so passionate about this that you've decided to become a life coach. HOWEVER... you're nervous about the social media visibility that you think may be required to build your business.
Your ruminating mind will fixate on the fear - "What if people think what I have to say isn't worthwhile?" When it does, you've lost focus on the bigger picture: the people you most want to serve. To get out of the fear spiral, focus on your WHY. It'll help you muster up the courage necessary to face down that fear.
#3 - It doesn't have to be perfect
For many people, fear and control are strongly related. Think about it! When we’re feeling nervous, most of us will experience a tightness somewhere in our bodies. We constrict. That happens within our thought processes as well. Our mind narrows in, attempting to stage manage the thing we’re afraid of. We try to figure it all out, controlling against all the possible negative outcomes. In other words, we pursue perfection.
Here’s the thing: life is uncertain. When it comes to launching a coaching business, there are many factors you won't be able to control. You'll have to take some risks and see how it plays out. And this, friends, is actually a good thing. But don’t take our word for it alone - studies have shown that loosening our grip on control actually makes us happier.
#4 - Don't make it about you
Most of us are drawn to the coaching industry for a very simple reason: we want to help other people. Indulging fears to the point that you never leave the starting gate means that you are not helping others. Funny how that works, huh? We're also not helping ourselves.
When you're feeling the fear, try to imagine the outcome of your efforts instead. What will it look like when your client lands inside their desired future state? What will it feel like to know that YOU helped them make that transformation?
Wondering how you can work with clients to overcome THEIR fears? Read Tips for Coaching Clients Through Fear & Doubt
# 5 - Focus on what you’re truly good at
In the process of building your coaching business, you're going to get a lot of advice about what you "should" be doing. Some might say you've got to be on all social media platforms. Others, that what it takes is a punchy newsletter or a gorgeous, user-friendly website. If you're feeling pressured to do all the things, just stop right there.
Positive psychology invites us to focus on our strengths for a reason.
Identify those activities that you enjoy or know you're best at, and begin there. If you're a great writer but clam up when the video camera starts rolling, don't force yourself to make Instagram Reels just because some guru said so. WRITE. Then, when you're ready, you can stick your toe in the water on video... but only if you think it's important.
Want to learn how to tap into your strengths, and help your clients do the same? Check out How to Maximize Your Effectiveness in Business (and Life!) Using Your Character Strengths
#6 - Accept yourself, just as you are
One of the best ways we know to tackle the fear of being seen is to like what you see.
Practice radical self compassion. Celebrate your accomplishments, and go easier on yourself when you make mistakes. When you're feeling afraid, take the time to understand the fear. You don't need to muscle through it. Go gently, the way you would when encouraging a friend.
Want some help taming your inner critic? Listen as John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux model the "gremlin technique" on the podcast Gremlins! (And How to Quash Them)
Ready for the Spotlight?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like some partners in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.