Launching a new business can feel a bit like competitive diving. Imagine climbing to the top of a ladder, and walking out to the very edge of the high dive board. The longer you stand there looking down, the more space you give fear to creep in.
Eventually you’ll need to take the leap. Swimmers practice this move over and over. But what about entrepreneurs? How do new coaches create the momentum necessary to push past their fears and take the leap into professional practice?
This is the moment where many aspiring coaches can become temporarily paralyzed. If that’s you, don’t sweat it! Almost every successful coach we know was once right where you are now.
Putting your coaching skills into practice means booking clients. Attracting clients requires business strategy, marketing, sales, and other activities that may be new to you. It can easily become overwhelming. Add a dash of imposter syndrome and you’ve got the perfect conditions for fear to arise.
If you’ve earned your coaching certification, but are experiencing some post-graduation jitters around launching your practice… we’ve got you! Uncertainty doesn’t have to hold you back. Read on for simple strategies to help tame your fears as you prepare to take flight.
Tips for Kicking Fear to the Curb
Recognize fear’s many disguises
Ever find yourself doing everything other than whatever it is that you’re supposed to be working on? If you’ve vowed to develop marketing content for your Instagram account, but find yourself folding another load of laundry instead… you might actually be flirting with fear.
We all get sidetracked now and again, but chronic procrastination often points to a mental barrier that needs addressing. You might not consciously realize you’re caught in the grip of fear until you start noticing a pattern around putting off tasks related to building your business.
If this sounds like you, the first step is simply to ask yourself: “Why do I keep putting this off?”
Nail down what you’re really worried about
Sometimes, we don’t have a clear idea of what our fear is really about. In order to move forward, you’ll need to break it down.
Can you figure out what it is that you’re actually afraid of? For some, it might be stage-fright related to posting personal stories and videos on social media. In that case, you may put off creating the content because you’re harboring a fear around how people might respond to what you share.
Identifying what you’re really afraid of is one of the first steps to overcoming it. Think about the areas where you may be holding back, or feeling intimidated. Ask yourself: what is it that I’m most concerned about?
Is it the judgement of others? Fear of failing? Not knowing how to talk about fees during a sales call with a prospective client? Once you’ve nailed down what you’re afraid of and why, you can begin to formulate strategies to overcome it.
Demote your inner control freak
The human mind has amazing capabilities, including the ability to manage for desired outcomes. This can serve us well, especially when it comes to setting and achieving big goals. But when fear takes the wheel, things can quickly spiral out of hand.
For many people, fear and control are strongly related. Think about it for a second. When we’re feeling nervous, most of us will experience a tightness somewhere in our bodies. We constrict. That happens within our thought processes as well. Our mind narrows in, attempting to stage manage the thing we’re afraid of. We try to figure it all out, controlling against all the possible negative outcomes.
Here’s the thing: life is uncertain. When it comes to launching a business there are many factors you simply can’t control. You’ll have to take some risks and see how it plays out.
So why dare it to begin with? Because going after your dreams is exhilarating! Truth is, having a life where everything turns out exactly as expected may not actually be what you really want anyway.
But don’t take our word for it alone - studies have shown that loosening our grip on control actually makes us happier.
Befriend your worst possible scenario
While it is good to focus on the positive, it’s also prudent to acknowledge those things that can potentially go wrong. When we think rationally about our worst case scenarios, we confront fear of failure head-on.
So go ahead, lay out what that looks like for you. It might be something along the lines of: “What if I quit my day job, launch a coaching practice, and don’t make enough to pay my rent?” Spin out as many “what if’s” as you need to… from the mundane to the ridiculous. This helps you logically assess risk, and mentally prepare yourself.
When you know what “disaster” looks like, and how likely it is to occur, you can prioritize where to focus your attention. For example, if what you fear most is not making enough money as a new coach to pay your bills, you could lay out how much savings you need as a “runway” safety net and put that in place before quitting your job.
One caveat here: exercise caution in how much time you devote to mapping out scenarios and preparing contingency plans. If you find yourself over-researching and dwelling on this beyond what it takes to make a simple business plan, you may be feeding your fear rather than befriending it. If this sounds like you, circle back to Tip 1 above: Overcoming Procrastination!
Fall in love with your best possible scenario
This is where we feel the fear, and do the scary/exhilarating thing anyway! When it comes to launching a coaching practice, vision and passion are critical. Inspiration is what propels us beyond our comfort zone and into peak performance.
When you’re battling fear, you need to clearly know what it is you’re fighting for. From that perspective, fear simply becomes a speed bump - something to navigate through as you move toward your ultimate destination.
Spend time dreaming into what you want to build as a coach. Imagine the impact you can make. What would it look like for you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams? How might your life be different? What would be possible for you and your clients?
Remind yourself again and again why you’re doing this. Sip the sweet nectar of possibility. Savor every small win you achieve along the way. Remember that you’ve got this one life, and you’re here to make the most of it. Fear can’t overpower you when you’re busy playing to win!
Know you may need to crawl before you can walk
Kids inherently know this. It’s only adults that expect to immediately master every new undertaking lest we be considered a failure.
Unsurprisingly, fear has a way of settling down once we give ourselves room to experiment and play. Rather than aspiring to be an overnight sensation, set yourself up for incremental forward motion .
Perhaps your first step was to get your coaching certification - that in itself is a giant move towards building a successful coaching business. Your next step after training is to develop your business strategy and roadmap. Lay out your major goals and tasks for the year ahead, and determine which you’ll tackle every quarter.
The key here is to keep going - just one or two actions a week can be enough if that’s all you have time for. No matter how small these steps may feel in the moment, consistent effort builds upon itself.
Ready To Leap?
If you’ve gotten stuck in the fear zone, we can help. Did you know that many coaches work with a business coach themselves, especially in the beginning? Just like Olympic divers benefit from continuous coaching, so too do successful entrepreneurs!
Mentorship and business coaching could well be the missing ingredient that will help you get your practice up and humming. JRNI Coaches can provide the support and accountability you need to do GREAT things. Co-create an action plan, get unstuck, and make real progress towards your goals. Come browse our selection of vetted, professional coaches to find the perfect match for you!