What to do when you’re afraid to take action.

Cat hiding under a blanket with face visible.

It felt like a fire blanket had been put over my head, extinguishing the anticipation of beginning something new. 

I felt heavy, hemmed in, a bit twitchy. 

I knew these symptoms well – this was not going to work. 

It was January but I decided a walk at the end of the day would help me process what I was feeling whilst giving me some space to think about my next step. 

As I walked my usual route in the cold (and quite possibly in the rain), I began to work through options, tuning into which made me feel better.  By the time I got home I had decided what I wanted to do.  Crisis averted.

But by the end of the following day, I changed my mind, turning 180 degrees to head in the originally intended direction.

For the first time I realised that what I thought was my intuition kicking in to help me make a sound decision, was actually fear.

Fear had been masquerading as intuition.

I almost want to write that again – it has been such a profound insight for me, and I’m all for a bit of what is probably unnecessary emphasis. 

Let me return to add a bit more colour to that drab Winter’s day.

I was attending the first module of my coaching training. 

I had spent the 10 months prior with life coaching wafting about as a career possibility for further exploration. At first I dismissed it as a viable option because I like telling people what to do and I’m impatient.  Two excellent coaching qualities, not.  Then when I had chats with a number of different coaches the focus on working as a coach with corporates really didn’t appeal. But however much I pushed it down I couldn’t completely dismiss the idea of coaching.  I eventually gave in and researched training schools, narrowed it down to 2-3 I liked and chatted with people who had attended them. Finally I made my choice, handed over the money and waited for the training to begin.

That first day I was not feeling it, it was the heaviness that got me. 

I didn’t want to feel like that and I interpreted it as a symptom of what I was doing not being ‘right’

Once I discovered my get out clause during my walk I felt much better (fear has a habit of searching for these) but I decided to complete the second day as a sanity check. 

It was in the afternoon when we started to give coaching a go that my stifled mojo found some air and I watched myself (with a degree of incredulity, it must be said) start to realise what had been at play.

I think I can get away with saying it again, and this time in italics: fear had been masquerading as intuition.

Needless to say, I went on to complete the training and earn my diploma (just in case you were wondering). 

Since my revelation, fear and intuition seem to be fighting it out as new challenges arise.  I’m not sure who the overall winner will be, but I’m trying to push through when the feelings of wanting to retreat arise. 

I need to practise following my intuition so I can build trust in it.  I think I can recognise its voice; it’s much smaller and calmer than fear and anchored somewhere in my stomach like the roots of a tree.  I feel more grounded when I can tune into it.  

Fear feels very differently.  It races through my torso, into my face and sometimes my wrists, prickling me and demanding all my attention and energy. 

I have my suspicions that they actually co-exist but I’m hoping that in 10 years’ time I will have collected enough data so I can calm fear when intuition is in charge and even enjoy the ride and possibly have a new adventure or two.

Time will tell.

I shall leave you now but not without a question for you to ponder in the coming week: where might intuition be masquerading as fear for you?

Managed to get a hattrick, just.

Photo by unknown on Canva.