Extroverts/Introverts – fears plague us both regardless. Extroverts are those folk who get their energy from being in crowds, whereas this will drain an Introvert – we need alone time to recharge. We think of introverts as not being comfortable being “out there” speaking in front of crowds or speaking up in general. This was why I made the comment in a recent blog about being a coach and soon to be author. I promised to share in that blog how I had walked towards overcoming my fears to do so. I hope this will help you also.
First, I need to go back to where and why I declared “Yes” in the first place as I use this as my guiding light, my big “Why”. It is my motivation as I’m faced with my fears of “I can’t write, who will listen to me, who would want to buy this book, or how can I help those in grief, I don’t have what it takes” and then there are those challenging beliefs of “not being good enough, smart enough, knowledgeable enough”. Isn’t it always the way when you decide to step out of your comfort zone? It is either the niggling little voice in the head or your family or worse dear friends, that bring up the “what ifs”.
When these arise, I think back to that day. It was my first workshop at the Grief Coach Academy in Los Angeles. This was the session in the workshop where we were taken through an exercise called “Deathbed regrets”. When we had done our review, we got to share it with our partner. A story was then shared about a woman who had been faced with her own death at 75. Shortly after she realized she had been given a second a chance to live and decided that she was not going to waste one more moment living in fear. She went on to live an amazing 15 more years where she brought pleasure and joy to not only her own life and family but to so many others as well. When she died, 300 people attended her funeral. That was a testament to the lives she had gone on to touch.
This story really impacted me to the point of me having an Aha moment as we continued to discuss and share what we would do with our new understanding. This exercise was very emotional, such a revelation and brought me to tears. It was now or never. I didn’t want to die without trying. When the facilitator asked “did anyone want to share”? Someone surely would I thought. Suddenly the facilitator and everyone in the room were looking in my direction. My partner was pointing to me. Horrors, I was still sobbing, how could I get up and face the crowd and share what I had intimately shared with my partner? However, with gentle coaxing and encouraged by all, they got me to stand up and share. In that moment, it was as if in my declaration, my power returned and this would allow me to move forward with becoming a coach and future author. It was the possibilities in that moment where my strength to move forward and continue on comes from. Regardless of the outcome, what was the worst that could happen if it didn’t work out – what really was there to lose? There would be no deathbed regret.
That was my motivator, my declaration. This was and is a process. Each day brought new opportunities, new learning and new challenges to face my inadequacies and grow. I suddenly didn’t just announce “Yes” and voila, these magically happened. It is like riding a bike. The training wheels will come off when you feel comfortable. Instead of jumping into a Toast Master’s group which terrified me. I joined a business networking group instead. Each week, I get to practice speaking in from of 20 people, each time is done with a little more ease. So life, when you are open to it, will bring these opportunities for growth. We just need to stay present enough to look out for them.
I now look forward, albeit a little nervously, to coaching many people through their grief and helping them to “not get stuck”, thus contributing my part and being of service.
Just in case you are wondering. This is a little of what I shared with my partner. You will find it and more in my forthcoming book………….
With Dad’s death, I found myself questioning my own life and its meaning. As I moved on without his presence, everything seemed meaningless and confusing. During this time, I thought about how much time on Earth I may have left. Twenty to thirty years … Wow, I had never thought about my life in this manner before. How quickly this time would likely go by. Somehow this brought my life into perspective. Twenty to thirty years didn’t seem long at all. I thought to myself that I better start living and stop putting my dreams and goals off until tomorrow.
How quickly my fears arose. According to Freud, fear of death is universal to the human condition. This certainly didn’t bring me any comfort. We all are aware that we will die some day, but that is so far off in the future that we fail to think about that fateful day very much. With the death of someone close, your own demise suddenly seems plausible and real. My fear was pure resistance and wanting to run back to a time when I felt safe. According to Stephen Levine in his book A Year to Live, “Fear leans backward to the last safe moment, while desire leans forward toward the next possibility.”
Move forward to your desires regardless of being an introvert or extrovert. Please don’t allow a label or your fears to hold you back.