Monday, July 18, 2011

Not Letting Fear Decide

I recently discovered that I make far too many decisions out of fear. Once I realized this, I could see it everywhere. Opportunities present themselves and many time I have let fear decide what I do with the opportunity.

Last month I completed my first course on my way to becoming a Co-Active Coach. It was painful. The teaching set-up consisted of 26 chairs in a circle, and we were all put on the spot at least a couple of times, in front of the whole group. Not my idea of fun. Not even my idea of comfortable. But do you know what? I lived in the feeling of fear all the way through the weekend and was proud of myself for sticking with it and pretty much forcing myself to go through it. I didn't give up, or throw in the towel. I didn't let fear decide.

At the course I, along with the other participants, considered our options going forward. There would be a few more courses to take before we could be certified. That's when fear kicked in again. It began with me thinking that, as an introvert, perhaps this method of teaching "just wasn't for me" and maybe I needed to consider another school with more of a lecture-style format. But as I sat with this idea, and as the weekend unfolded and I was stretched and pushed beyond my limits, I began to wonder if maybe this uncomfortable learning method was actually really good for me.

I spoke to one of the volunteer assistants at the course, presenting my dilemma, and after a bit of discussion, and realizing that fear was at the base of my indecision, he simply asked, "Are you deciding or are you letting fear decide?"

I have signed up for the next course in October. Yes, I'm terrified, but I am bigger than my fear. I will do it and no doubt emerge stretched beyond my limits once again. One of the instructors asked the class at one point during the weekend, "If you are bigger than your fear, what does that look like?" I can only imagine and can't wait to find out!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Finding Your Fit

During my visit to Playa del Carmen, Mexico last April, I began most of my nights with a glass of wine at a local bar, di Vino, located on the corner of 5th Avenue and calle 12. It was usually the place to meet up with friends to start the evening. If truth be told, we met there specifically because of our favourite bartender, Juan. You can read my previous blog post on Juan - who he is, what he’s accomplished, and why he’s so special.

So an update. Juan began his response to my “como estas?“ one night in the way only Juan can: “Have you ever waken up in the morning and the sun is shining so much brighter, the birds are singing so much sweeter, and life just seems so much richer?” Honestly, I thought Juan had the “don’t worry, be happy” mantra figured out already. Always smiling and happy, how could Juan be even more happy? Juan didn’t let me in to his secret to his new-found happiness that night, but the following night he spilled the beans. Seems that Juan had started a new part-time job that involved selling. It was a new opportunity, a new challenge. He was loving it. “You know,” he said sort of sheepishly, “I think I’m a really good salesperson.” He said it in a way that said he hadn’t known. “Of course you are!” I responded, surprised he didn't know this already. “Why do you think I come to this bar? Why do you think people from all over the world stop in here? It’s because of you.” About a month ago I saw an update on Facebook from Juan that he would be soon leaving his job at di Vino to “share the love worldwide.” I wondered if he realized he was already sharing his love worldwide, each time he served a drink to a Mexican local or to the tourists from all over the world?

There were two things I took from Juan during this trip. First, when you are presented with a good opportunity, take it. I got the feeling Juan didn’t know at the beginning of this new venture that he would be successful, but I bet he suspected he may be. Go ahead and take that leap you've been pondering and see what happens. Life really is sweeter when you're doing what you are meant to do. And secondly, often our gifts to the world are so natural to us and so a part of who we are, we are unable to see them as being special. Juan was surprised that selling came so easy to him, but it had been easy to him all along, just in other ways. Consider your gifts and contributions (who you are) as being special and unique to you, and use them to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. In seizing opportunities and using our gifts, we find our fit.