kimpayne logo white

Don’t be a scaredy-cat

She is beautiful.

She turns heads and melts hearts.

She is ferociously independent, obsessively curious, and brave beyond imagination.

She approaches challenges head-on, leaps from absurd heights, and lands on her feet no matter what.

She prances around like she owns the world, is immaculately groomed, and wears only the finest luxurious silky white fur coat.

She spends her days being pampered, eating, drinking, daydreaming, and sleeping. And she only does what pleases her, with no regard for anyone else.

What a life!

And they say she has nine of them.

She is my cat, Coconut.

The flip side of this glamourous sought-after cat life is that she’s riddled with the classic feline reputation of a scaredy-cat. Suffering from perpetual fear, Coconut is startled by the slightest sound, a closing door, a fallen bowl, a visitor, or a loud gust of wind. She’s petrified of it all. Her instinct is to run and hide, which means she’s in a constant state of alertness (even when asleep) ready to flee for cover at any moment.

What a life.

Fear may be the reason cats have nine of them.

In some respects, our lives are not that dissimilar.

We appear to have it all together. From the outside, we have a glamorous, seamlessly easy life where much of what we need and want, we have, or we can get.

We have an undeniable confidence and have been spared from the limitations or fears plaguing others.

We’re decorated in the glory of past achievements and success and live an enviable life.

Or so it seems.

Yet behind the scenes, underneath it all, we too can be scaredy-cats.

We’re afraid, and we run and hide. It’s not practical, it’s not sensible and it’s not useful. Yet we do it.

All it does is hold us back and prevent us from doing, being, or having all we want and all we can be.

That’s a problem.

I see it every day working with successful professional clients, and it shows up in my life. It’s like we’re wearing a mask to disguise who we really are.
There’s the part of us we show the world. The side we want others to see.

And then there’s the real us, the one who knows what’s really going on inside.

They are not the same.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

In her book, The Loudest Guest, Dr Amy Silver dives into our relationship with fear and shares that as valuable as fear is in protecting us, it can also limit our impact and overall happiness.

Fear can keep you stuck in a job that bores you senseless and silences you from sharing your opinion or speaking to an audience. It can stop you from asking for what you want or giving a speech to celebrate your best friend’s birthday.

It can lead you to shying away from an awkward but necessary conversation, saying yes when you mean no, undercharging valuable clients, or delaying your dreams and playing a smaller game than you’re destined for.

For some, fear is feeling like you’re not good enough, worthy, or deserving.

Or it’s being so consumed with other’s opinions that you always play it safe.

Whatever the case, we’re smart cookies; we know what needs to be done, but we don’t do it.

Instead, we avoid, procrastinate, make up excuses, or justify our in-action only to regret it.

It holds us back from what’s possible in our lives. We become the passenger, not the driver. We play the support role rather than take the lead in the story of our own life.

I know this too well.

A few months ago, at dinner, a dear friend asked me what my biggest fear was. I blurted out, “my biggest fear is not living up to my potential.”

Those words, my own words, leapt out of my mouth and jabbed me straight in the heart.

I felt them deeply and took this as a sign to act. I’ve got big dreams for my life and my work, and it’s time to get out of my own way.

To put a stop to where fear is winning and step up into what I know is possible.

It’s interesting how when you put it out there, the right people come, and necessary decisions get made.

So, with a new coach on board, a mindset shift, and the support I need, I’m doing my darndest to ensure that pursuing my dreams will never become a regret.

How about you?

Where do you see this in your life?

What’s holding you back?

What are you afraid of, big or small?

Where are you letting fear win and take control rather than the other way around?

Les Brown, motivational extraordinaire, said: “If you’re not willing to risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot be your best. If you cannot be your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else is there?”

I’d do anything to help Coconut realise that thunder is safe, and our house guests are not a threat.

Most of what she fears won’t harm her (and it’s never about her self-worth or feeling inadequate).

There’s no value in being a scaredy-cat like Coconut.

We’ve got one life (not nine), so it’s worth exploring how fear can be your friend, not a foe.

Want a regular dose of inspiration delivered, with love, to your inbox?