What's in your way? (The answer is fear)

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

Hey, so we're squeaking through with another post on barriers just before we slide into September.

Wait--what? September?! How'd that happen? It's fall? Yes, yes it is. I know this is true, because pumpkin spice lattés are back at Starbucks. Just for the record, autumn is my favourite time of year and pumpkin spice lattés (and pumpkin-spice anything, really, for that matter) are my favourite, too.

But I digress (but if you want to give me a pumpkin spice latté, I'm accepting them. Just saying.).

There are some hard things about being a coach. I'm not complaining, just sharing. The thing that's really hard is when we see clients, or potential clients, get scared and abandon their possibility. It's hard to watch people shie away from what they want, and from their power to create it. To create walls, barriers and circumstances that get in their way. I know this pattern really well, not just because I've worked with lots of people and see it all the time, but because in addition to being a coach, I am also a human (what?!) and can do the same thing from time to time.

To be honest, when I say, "from time to time," I mean I do this more often than I'd like to, that's for sure. And what's worse is that once you have some insight to distinguish what you're doing to sabotage yourself, you can't not see it. Just like I can't not see it in clients. That's what makes it hard. When you can see the fear AND what's on the other side of it, which is often the part the client can't see.

What's on the other side of the fear, past the wall, is the treasure. On the other side must be something pretty amazing, otherwise you wouldn't care so much. You wouldn't need to build a wall of fear that tells you that the stakes are too high.

We all create barriers, perceiving impossibility and building it out of fear. Yep, fear. That's all it is. The impossible thing isn't actually impossible unless we say so, and thus, make it so (if you just thought of Captain Picard, know that I think you are very, very cool).

Our fears become our walls. We make it that way.

Sometimes, we'll even build our barriers long before we "need" them. I've noticed in clients it's avoiding calling back or responding to emails. It's hiding. This hiding also shows up in lots of different ways, like not creating plans, projects or goals. Well, at least, that's often how it shows up in me: I've long had a trick (I'm so clever) of not looking at, planning for, moving towards and certainly not saying out loud, what I really wanted, because then what if I didn't get it? Obviously, it would be the end of the world.

All my hiding and self-made barriers didn't stop me from complaining about being where I didn't want to be, or having what I didn't want to have, though. Like it was all a grand accident that landed me where I was, as opposed to my choices (even when I thought I wasn't making any, but in so doing, was choosing, but blindly) that took me down the road I didn't want to travel. How very [un]empowered of me.

So you see, I get it. I really, really do. And that's what a coach can help with. It's surely what my coach helps me with: Reminding me of what I want and supporting me to create it. Being a stand for me getting what I want out of this life (the only one I'll get). Especially when I get scared or tired of trying so hard.

Last weekend, I swam across a lake with some friends, because we can. It's an annual thing and this was my first year joining the swimmers. A funny thing happened in the middle (apart from the discussion of how the lake may or may not be inhabited by evil spirits, which is clearly a great thing to discuss whilst traversing it): It felt like no matter how hard I kicked, I was no closer to the opposite shore and no farther from the dock I'd left. It seemed that way for a long time. I got tired. I wondered if it was worth it. I wondered if I'd make it.

I made it. And I'm so glad I did it. I felt strong and it was fun. I'll do it again next year, too. There was a great lesson in the middle of that lake, out where I couldn't touch and there were no ropes, no sides of the pool to hang onto when I got tired. I pushed through the fear (which showed up as fatigue) because I had to. There was literally no other choice, at least no other choice that I accepted as an option.


The thing is, life does just happen. It'll happen, no matter what you choose. But honestly? Life is full of circumstances and events and happenings. Some things might actually stand in your way, but that doesn't mean you can't move around them, under them, over them or through them. The rest of it? Those barriers you build yourself? Imagine if you stopped putting so much energy into building walls and started building ladders and bridges, instead.

Sometimes, a blog post writes itself, because it's something you needed to read. And I needed this today. I hope it serves you, too.

Take a look: Where are you building walls? What's on the other side, just past the fear?

If you get up, nice and close, and peek through the crack in your wall (and there's always a crack--that's where the light comes through), what can you see?

"That's how the light gets in." And out.