Fear, Health Coaching and our Inner Critic

July 6, 2016
Inner Critic

The constant battle of Confidence vs Fear


What’s your question, the one that makes you squirm, the one you avoid at all costs, the one you try to dodge and dive out of the way, before it comes at you like a speeding train and stops you in your tracks?


For me, it is, it was ‘what do you do?’


I’ve spoken about this before, but this little question took months of counseling, coaching, coaxing, coercing, convincing, and every other ‘c’ adjective to get my head around. To turn my mind from the racing, anxious, nauseated place of fear-town into cool, calm and collected (woohoo, 3 more!).


We all have a question. That one that stops us in our tracks. The one that makes us feel uncomfortable. The one we just wish would piss off. Yours might be – why don’t you have kids? – why aren’t you married? – what do you believe in? – what are your hobbies? (no joke, that used to be mine, before ‘what do you do?’).


I think my fear circling around what I do began in my early twenties when I actively decided I didn’t want to do anything conventional. I dropped out of Uni, I packed my bags and went travelling. A lot of people in my life were pursuing careers, saving for houses and doing what felt right for them. For me, I wanted to be carefree, spend all my money on travelling, on adventure and not think for tomorrow.


And it was fantastic. And then at 24, I had a huge dose of ‘shit, what am I actually doing with my life’, and I went back to Uni and loved it.  But after graduating, I again found myself, not wanting to take that next step of what I thought I should be doing to find a job related to my degree., because it didn’t feel right for me.


So, I changed my mind again, I went against the grain, I did things a little differently, and at 27 I decided I wanted to study holistic health and nutrition. So I did, and here I am. I am a Health Coach.


I’ll say it again for the seats in the back:



So now when I get asked what do I do:  I start with ‘I’m a Health Coach’, I run a business with my mum, I blog and I also write.


Just writing it down feels good.  So I conquered that fear, I can now say with pride what I do.


But then came – ‘what’s a health coach?’


I wasn’t ready for that. I was not at all ready to have to explain this one statement that took all the coaching, counseling and coercing in the world to convince my inner critic and mind to believe in. So I stumbled, ah, it’s a, ummm, we coach people to better their health.


Really?! That was it! That was all I could come up with, a year of studying, a year of passion, and that’s how I explained it, I even lost interest in it.


The person receiving this uninspiring response naturally looked at me a little blank and unconvincingly said – ‘oh, sounds interesting’ – and swiftly walked away.


I stood there, deflated and defeated. All that confidence I had conjured swiftly picked up her bags and jumped on that speeding train outta there, to hang out with the cool kids who know how to be confident, I’m seeing Beyonce at the arrivals hall.


And could you blame my new found friend Confience?  Fear had just come to the party. And everyone loves fear, they’re such a hoot…said no one ever.  Fear’s that person who comes to the party a little too drunk, they push people around, they change the music, they eat all the food and they spill red wine on your carpet.


Nobody likes fear.

Confidence though, she’s sweet, she’s the girl everyone wants to be friends with.

Everybody likes confidence.

So now we have this dilemma, what do we do next when our confidence turns into fear?


Two options:

1. Start drinking alongside fear at the party, get a little too drunk , and let them bring all your harshest judgements, criticisms and comparisons to life.

Option 1 is common, we all have done this. You might be doing this now in some way. Option 1 is easy, it doesn’t involve much on our part, and it usually relies on us to do nothing. To let our inner critic (mine’s Nancy, it helps if you name her), take over, do all the talking and all we have to do is listen and believe her. It goes a little something like this:

+ See that guy cute there, yeah you’re not –insert any judgement word here – enough to talk to him. Don’t bother.

+ That job you want, really? You think you should apply for that?  They’ll see right through you, you’re not qualified enough for that, don’t even try.
+ What’s the point of eating well, go get takeaway, you’re not even worthy of feeling good.

+ Look at you standing in front of that mirror, if I don’t love your body, how will anyone else?

+ Look at that girl next to you in yoga class, she’s so much better than you

AGGHHHHH FEAR/NANCY/INNER CRITIC, whatever you call her is playing these stories into your head, over and over again. So option 1 is to join her, listen to her and buy into her stories.


Let’s see what’s behind door number 2 shall we.


2. Hear her, but don’t listen to her.

When she says you’re not good enough, hear her, but don’t listen to her. Don’t buy into the stories. Approach it with more inquisitiveness than anything, ask her, why are you telling me these stories, why are you keeping me playing small, why, why, why.


Try and find out why she’s saying what she is. Get to the cause of it. Has someone said something to you in the past that has kept you circling on his or her beliefs and buying into their stories? Or, has fear got you creating limiting beliefs because it doesn’t want you to take that giant, scary leap forward?


Fear is in all of us. You’re never alone, I assure you.  And usually the best things come from a place of fear.  It means we’re stepping out of the easy comfort zone.  We’re trying something new, we’re trying something daring, something great.  Something Nancy doesn’t want for us.  But all the best things in life come out of fear.  If it doesn’t scare the bejeebus out of you, dream bigger!


So I used to choose option 1, a lot of the time for, oh let’s say 25 years. It wasn’t until I had heard of this idea of our ego/inner critic/ mean girl/ Nancy that I started to really hear it. I started playing with this idea of option 2, hearing it but not listening to it, and not buying the stories she was selling me.


It just takes you to hear it, catch it and flip it around. Turn that fear into confidence, even if it’s for a glimmer of a second, that’s all you need to leave Nancy drinking at the party alone.


So my latest fear to date that I’ve been working through has been believing I am a Health Coach, and being a Health Coach.


Nancy: You’re not good enough, you don’t know enough, and you won’t be able to coach women
Me: I am, I do and I can
Nancy: You’re going to fail, and everyone will laugh at you
Me: Maybe I will fail, but everyone does (this is when I look for those fantastic collections of people who failed, fell down, but got back up and made it, or they became successful in their 40’s/50’s – J.K Rowling, Oprah, Liz Gilbert
Nancy: Yeah but you’re not Oprah
Me: Yeah? Watch me try


So it goes a little something like that.


This last week I put on my social media that I am offering free coaching sessions to anyone that wants to explore the following:

+ what is health coaching and what do I do

+ their inner critic

+ an hour to just openly chat, uninterrupted and completely listened to and supported

+ women who want to be able to stand in the mirror and completely fall in love with what they see and how they feel

+ your health, all aspects of it

+ anything else you’d love to talk about


I overcame a lot of fear to just begin and start coaching, and it feels incredible.


I’m being completely open and honest when I say I am a new coach, but I feel I still have plenty to offer, and hey if I didn’t start, I’d just be choosing option 1 and sitting with a bottle of wine in each hand, chatting to fear all day.


I’m still offering my complimentary coaching hour to anyone who would like to take me up on my offer, until the end of July.


If this feels right for you, or even shit scary, email me at hello@abbeylake.com.au.


I’d love to hear from you, I’d love to talk to you.


(This post was completely intended to explain to you what a health coach actually is, and although it didn’t quite come out of me today, stay tuned for all your questions to be answered next week. Or comment below or email me).


Until next week


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