Over the past few months, I've developed and run workshops and courses titled 'How to Fear Less'. The aim is to help those who attend my course understand fear and leave with practical tools and techniques that they can implement in their lives immediately.
How it all started...
Many people ask me, why fear? How did I come up to run these workshops? As always, there are a couple of answers to this.
Firstly, the more matter of fact version, is that I wanted to do a Nerd Night presentation. Nerd Night is an event consisting of rapid fire presentations (20 slides, 20 seconds each), where people can come and talk about topics that they are nerdy about. I was new to Phnom Penh and wanted to make connections, and thought this might be a platform on which to make them.
So during my brainstorm for topics, I landed on the topic of fear. It was highly relevant for me, having left behind the comforts and security of life in London to try something different. I quickly jotted down a rough outline for the talk and inspiration whispered in my ear that this was something that I could make into a course.
The Nerd Night talk went okay, although I struggled with the format a little. At the end of the presentation, I told the audience that if anyone was interested in attending a series of workshops on this topic, that they could sign up to a course on my website (I'd created a rough page on my website a few days before).
I wasn't sure if anyone would actually sign up, but I somehow found my first Fear Workshop participants there that night. I should add though, I didn't actually realise they'd signed up for it and they had to chase me down at another Nerd Night event months later to remind me to get it organised! Participants on board, I had to put together the actual content and exercises!
So that's the matter of fact version, which is true. What's also true, though, is that this was a long time coming. As you readers may know, I'd attended Escape the City's Escape Tribe a few years back. This 12 week course that I attended with 36 other frustrated professionals helped me to start my healing process of grief and also get unstuck in my life.
If you've ever watched the TV series 'Heroes', you'll be familiar with the idea that there are key moments in your life that can totally change the direction of your life. The characters in the show, like Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli (both of whom can time travel), study the timeline for moments such as this to "save the world". You may remember the phrase, "Save the cheerleader, save the world." For me, Escape was one of those pivotal moments.
Since I attended the Escape Tribe, I've seen my life dramatically change. And not just for me, but also for my tribe of 36 frustrated professionals. When I thought about the key difference between pre-Escape Tribe and now... what has turned these stuck people into a community of changemakers of CEOs, TEDx speakers, entrepreneurs and just generally more fulfilled individuals, I identified our relationship with fear as the main thing that had changed.
I'm a fearful person
I am a fearful person. I know everyone's afraid of stuff, but I've always been a particularly cautious one.
People are surprised, actually, when I tell them this, especially nowadays. "But you left all that security behind," they say. "I could never do that!"
The reality, though, is that I'm scared a lot of the time. About the big things, yes, like the fear of rejection, not fitting in, conflict, being judged. But also about the small things, like cats, bugs, swimming with fish and cockroaches (if there's a cockroach, my girlfriend has to catch it). I'm also afraid of speaking in front of groups, small or large. That's a killer, really, for people in my profession...
When I was growing up, I remember my parents teaching me and my brother how to cycle and how to roller blade. I always went very slowly. My brother and I would race and he'd beat me every time, because I was afraid of going all out, losing control and falling over.
I'm still that scared kid, deep inside. Let me rephrase. That scared kid is still inside of me. He exists. The only difference, if there is anything different about me now versus before, is that I'm no longer letting him call the shots. With the scared kid in check (and it takes a lot of work to soothe him sometimes, believe me!) I am more free to make the decisions and changes that I want to in my life. I see the world as a world full of possibilities and providence, rather than full of dangers.
My gift to share
I remember what it's like to hold back my opinions and my talents from the world, for fear of being wrong or judged. I was depriving myself of a full life. But not only that, I was also depriving the world of me. And I'm certain that there are people out there who need me to shine and not live a small life, so that they can also shine.
If me and my tribe of frustrated professionals (some who'd felt stuck for decades) can change and see the world and themselves differently, I believe others can too. By dissecting our own journeys, taking what I've learned both through the Escape experience, and through my own research over several years, I've collected a series of mindsets, tools and techniques that can help you make the same change in your life.
So that's what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. If you think you'll benefit from it, get in touch through my website. I also run workshops for companies and organisations (from large corporates to coworking spaces), so do also let me know if you think this might be of interest to your company.