Wherever ‘out there’ is, it must be a very scary place indeed, as many coaches fear it more than anything else. For any coaches who share the same fear of ‘putting yourself out there’, the first thing I would suggest you do is to gain a lot more clarity on what your fear really is. ‘Out there’ is
so vague. I would suggest that in NLP terms, you’re generalising. Generalisation occurs when you look at one specific experience and use it to represent the whole class of experiences. The reason why I want to bring this to your attention first is that you can’t be scared of putting yourself ‘out
there’ if we haven’t properly defined what ‘out there’ is. What if ‘out there’ was a lovely beach in the Maldives with a private chef and unlimited cocktails? Would you be so scared to be going ‘out there’ then? The answer is likely no. Be careful of generalisation, it’s a shortcut the brain uses to
save time, but actually generalising can sometimes harm us just as much as it can help us. Being more specific with our fears, as well as our goals, allows us to tackle them more effectively.
Start by asking yourself what it is you’re really scared of and challenge yourself to dig much deeper below the surface to uncover the root cause of the fear. You will be amazed at how many layers there can be! If it’s okay with you, I’d like to make a few assumptions based on my experience
working with coaches and dig deeper with you right now. I’d hazard a guess that one of the scariest and overwhelming environments a Coach could hope to avoid is in the online playground. More specifically, social media, writing content, and dare I say it, doing Facebook lives! You are probably agreeing with me right now and starting to gain more clarity around the specifics of your fear of putting yourself out there. However, we are still only scratching the surface. Let me ask you a question: if the entire population dropped down dead, and you were the only person left on
earth, and you went live on Facebook with a grand total of zero live viewers, would this be scary? Ah-ha, so it’s not social media, the content, or even the Facebook lives that scare you – it’s the people watching! Now dig deeper, is it the type of people watching? Maybe strangers don’t bother
you, and it’s your friends you’re more worried about – or maybe the other way around? It could be any number of things from worrying you’re going to say the wrong thing, mumble your words, or maybe it’s the negative comments you may get? Whatever it is, I can tell you that we still have a lot
of digging to do, because these things are still just scratching the surface.
Because it’s not even those things that you’re scared of, it’s the way those
things will make you feel that is scary. We’ve all had times in our life when
we’ve been judged, embarrassed, disappointed, rejected or humiliated,
and they’ve probably been extremely painful and traumatic. If your brain
notices there is the possibility for you to feel that way again, it’s going to
avoid it at all costs, which is why we try to avoid putting ourselves in any
situation that could cause us pain: hence, not wanting to put yourself ‘out
However, we still have more layers to peel back. Why is it that being
judged or rejected feels so painful, you may ask yourself? It’s because
judgement, rejection, embarrassment, or any of these other emotions
trigger something much deeper within us, and aggravates our
insecurities by amplifying the negative things we feel about ourselves.
From working with a lot of people (including coaches, who unfortunately
are not immune to these psychological nuances), I’ve seen that the fear
that gets closer to the root cause usually comes from a projection of their
own relationship with themselves. A lot of people have hidden doubts
about their character, and often feel as though they’re ‘not good enough’
in some respect: not smart enough, not pretty enough, not funny enough,
or going back to the generalisation of NLP as I explained earlier, they just
don’t feel ‘enough’ full stop. Due to the lack of clarity around it, it can
sometimes unconsciously paralyse them. There’s more: when we don’t
feel enough, we also fear we won’t be loved; and I can assure you,
whether you admit it or not, everyone, including you, wants to be loved.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology
comprising a five-tier model of human needs. One of these five human
needs is the need to be loved and belong, they’re very closely linked,
which brings us down to an even more primal instinct. If you are not loved
you may not get a sense of belonging, and if you do not belong
somewhere, you are essentially an outcast – vulnerable and unsafe. And
if you start to feel unsafe, then you begin to fear death– and of course,
you are hard-wired to protect yourself and keep yourself alive. So, there
you have it: you don’t fear putting yourself out there, you fear for your
So, let’s look at what we have uncovered. We’ve drilled down: from being scared of putting yourself out there; to fear of social media; to fear of the people on social media; to the fear of making a mistake or having any form of negativity; to a fear of feeling judged, embarrassed, disappointed, rejected or humiliated; to the fear of not being enough; to the fear of not being loved; to the fear of not belonging; to the fear of being unsafe; to the fear of dying.
The problem for a lot of people, due to the lack of clarity around what is happening for them, is that it is easy to react to their emotions if they don’t fully understand them. Say, for example, the prospect of a Facebook live comes up. What most people’s awareness is focused on is looking
symptomatically. What I mean by that is they see the situation that is occurring on the surface, and believe they are scared by it. However, what they don’t realise is that a sequence of triggers has happened that penetrates the root cause of the fear itself.
I’ve got a shocking hard truth for you here: putting yourself out there is not scary. Facebook lives, social media, even your sweet old gran calling you a failure isn’t scary. They are simply surface level factors that trigger the illusion of fear within you. Your nan calling you a failure is just words.
Facebook live is just a piece of software. And many other things that most will deem to be scary are actually just complex innate projections of our own insecurities, our need for belonging and our primal instinct to protect ourselves and survive. Next time you find yourself fearing ‘putting
yourself out there’, I want you to remind yourself of this and laugh out loud. Tell yourself that there is nothing to be scared of and that you’re safe and loved, regardless of the outcome.
Another way to overcome the fear of the dreaded ‘putting yourself out there’ is to highlight and enhance the positive outcomes of the action you’re taking. Just like it’s easy to focus on the surface of the problem rather than the cause, it’s just as easy to focus on the here and now rather than
the impact of our actions further down the line. The things you do today will dramatically impact your future. If you allow yourself to stay stuck, and sit in a state of paralysis, then I’m sorry to say that your future will be bleak. However, if you show up, put yourself out there, and start to share
the value you have to offer with the world on a daily basis, I promise you, things a year or two from now will be incomparable. Can you imagine what my life would have looked like now if when I decided to start my coaching business a few years ago I allowed fear to influence my decisions?
Something I want you to be very aware of right now is that although fear seems overwhelmingly powerful sometimes, it’s just an illusion of power. Fear is only powerful if you acquiesce to it. Basically, once you see fear for what it really is – an emotion that is designed to keep us safe – and
don’t allow yourself to bow down to it, it loses its power over you. Just because something is scary, doesn’t mean you should not do it.
You essentially have two choices: Allow fear to overwhelm your decisions and sabotage your future; or tell it to fuck off, and go and make the impact in the world you really want to make whether you feel the fear or not.
Lewis Raymond Taylor
Founder of The Coaching Masters