I’m SO excited to have my friend Kat Koh guest posting while I’m away on my honeymoon! You might remember her from my post, A Drink To Reduce Inflammation, Boost Energy & More as she is the co-founder of Golden Chai, but she is ALSO a Creativity Coach and has an awesome article to share on overcoming fear. Whether or not you realize it, fear affects us all in so many ways. I find for myself, entrepreneurship has been one constant journey of overcoming fears, but for you it could be moving on from a bad relationship or leaving a job you don’t like. I see fear as so important because it can be a chronic source of stress, if not treated properly. Over to you, Kat…
Back in 2012, I was living in New York City and listening to Alec Baldwin’s podcast “Here’s the Thing” on the bus. That day his guest was Robert Lustig, famous UCSF pediatric endocrinologist and anti-sugar crusader. It was a fantastic interview, and I was shocked by how sugar has made its way into almost every single food at the grocery store. I swore to start a low-glycemic diet the next day. Unfortunately, because two of my patterns are extremism and perfectionism, I spent a week on a cancer-survivor diet of brown rice and steamed veggies. I know, sustainable, right? That round failed, and so did many more. I now eat low-glycemic 85% of the time. However, it was only possible because I finally addressed the huge fears holding me back from my health goal.
First off, I apologize. “Fear” is an overused word, isn’t? And because we call everything “fear”, it leaves you with no idea how to start fighting back.
Maybe you’ve been trying for months to revamp your diet with more veggies and fiber, finally start that creative project, get your small business off the ground, or train for a half-marathon. Sometimes, as soon as the idea strikes, fear does too.
So let’s get specific. How do you recognize that fear is holding you back?
Fear is terrifyingly sophisticated. It has a closet full of disguises and masks. Here are just some of the behaviours that can be boiled down to fear:
I know, it’s a heavy list. But it’s important to be honest with yourself. Eternally delaying the new diet, telling your partner you went to the gym when you didn’t, crafting unsustainable goals, feeling jealous of your friend who posts her healthy meals on Instagram, and making excuses for yourself all stem from fear. And feeling fear is natural! Of course you feel it, you’re a real person.
And you can. You just have to push past the fear first.
Fear puts tension in your tissues and causes damage to you on a cellular level. Emotionally, it puts your fight or flight response on a harmful hair trigger, and totally shuts down your creativity.
My research and practice as a coach has shown me that fear and anxiety are swift, ruthless killers of creativity and dreams. Whatever you want to accomplish, fear will kill it inside you if you let it. Many of my clients have big aspirations that scare them, and it’s truly awesome. They come to me to help them overcome that fear and get their best work out in the world. If you want to find your element, be in your element, level-up your work, or shake up your field, I can help you do all that. But what I really want is for you to arm yourself with the 7-step process up there — use it and edit it to make it your own, because the world needs you to do the work you’re meant to do.
Kat Koh is a creativity coach, writer, entrepreneur, educator, and curatorbased in San Francisco. She is a student of the work of: Elizabeth Gilbert, Marie Forleo, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., Elena Brower, Dr. Danny Penman and J. Mark G. Williams, Ph.D. In the past, she served as co-director of the Adobe Books Backroom Gallery in San Francisco and held curatorial positions at the San Jose Museum of Art, U.S. Pavilion at the 2012 Venice International Architecture Biennale, MoMA, and the Brooklyn Museum. She holds a masters in art history and is a proud dropout of the Ph.D. program at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.