I might be biased, but I really do believe I have the greatest clients out there. Learning from my clients is probably the best part of my job as a coach. On many occasions, I too leave our conversations with my own list of “to-dos” – and writing this Thought Partner was one. 

Recently a client and I found ourselves in a pretty deep conversation regarding choice and its unwelcome traveling companion, fear. At the heart of our conversation, we discovered that the challenge my client was facing was not that they were unable to make a decision (this individual is a highly successful entrepreneur who has crafted the art of decisive decision-making) but they were unconsciously being stymied by the “what-ifs” of fear. 

We’ve all heard the acronym for fear – false evidence appearing real. What makes fear so insidious is that not only does it cripple our ability to make active positive choices, but it disguises itself as real while doing so. Dirty rotten scoundrel. 

After listening to a trail of “what-ifs”, I asked if we might pause the conversation and do a quick activity; and as aforementioned, since I have the greatest clients, we did just that. 

Below is both the activity we did together (and with permission) the corresponding responses. 

1. List the main fear that is in your head right now.
A. Fear of Failure

2. Has that fear served you in the past?
A. Yes, it motivated me to work hard and drive my business and myself

3. What is the fear of failure doing to you now?
A. It’s keeping me from spending time with my family, being happy, and creating a different life from the one I’m living now

4. What do you want to do?
A. I need to speak with my partner, finally execute my 4-day workweek strategy, and trust the team I have to perform the jobs I hired them to do

The feeling of fear is real.
The choices fear keeps us from making have very real effects on our lives and relationships. 

When we operate from a place of fear, we force ourselves to believe things that often aren’t true, and according to Mark Twain, rarely come to fruition:
“I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”

I mentioned my to-do was to write this Thought Partner; I failed to note that I too needed to complete this exercise that same day. 

Having done so, I encourage you to take a quiet moment and ask yourself these questions as well.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela