A Fearless Woman Uncovers Hidden Fears
Fear is a funny thing. Sometimes it fills the entirety of your sensory experience. Other times it hides in plain sight, masquerading as generosity of spirit, love, or badassery.
Sometimes you think you’ve conquered it only to find it show up again months or years later as if for the first time.
I Was the Sum of All Fears
For most of my childhood, I lived in fear.
Fear of roller coasters.
Fear of skiing.
Fear of anything involving rapid, downward acceleration, really
Basically, fear of losing control.
Fear of making a fool of myself.
Fear of being teased.
Fear of failure.
Fear of not living up to expectations.
Basically, fear of what other people think.
Fear of not being seen.
Fear of not being met.
Basically fear of being unworthy of love.
My family context was one of anxiety, risk-aversion, people-pleasing, and perfectionism. A fertile breeding ground for the aforementioned fears. No one embodied these traits more than my mother. And because I was her firstborn, I absorbed them and made them my own.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
I can’t remember exactly when the shift happened but at some point during my young adulthood — I think when I hit puberty and started to do everything in my power to not be my mother — I started to break free.
Started to take baby steps towards conquering the fears that were holding me back, making me feel weak and invisible and stealing my joy.
Started my personal heroine’s journey of self-discovery.
This is the journey that led me to boldly announce to the world:
“I am a voice! A voice for personal transformation, for finding the joy within. My soul’s purpose in this lifetime is to share the wisdom gained through my experience with others to be a catalyst for their own journeys of self-healing.”Kate Greer, 2018
I wrote three Medium articles — I am…Contagious Vulnerability!; What’s On My Floordrobe — A Sea of Discarded Labels and Identities; and DREAM BIG! Reclaiming Your Golden Sphere of Potential — with the intention of starting a courageous and contagiously vulnerable conversation with the world. Sharing stories and wisdom from my life experiences to inspire others to keep going when all seems dark and hopeless — to give people the courage to continue the journey through their inner darkness to find the light, joy, and wisdom within.
So what happened?
After writing an article a week for three weeks, promoting those articles, and submitting them to aligned publications, I lost faith in my dream. I lost faith in myself. The idea of building a business around being a voice for personal transformation at 53 seemed too daunting. I gave up before I’d even tried very hard.
Fear Hides in the Strangest of Places
I started to seek out alternatives and eventually found a job that seemed super values-aligned — doing business development for an unconventional learning and development company whose mission was to catalyze transformation in organizations, building emotional intelligence, and create healthier humans where they congregate.
Never having done BD before, this role allowed me to feel like a fearless badass when I courageously dove into the unknown and rocked the role — blowing everyone away, most of all, me!
I was finally able to shed the outdated Silicon Valley product and user experience professional identity I’d been clinging to out of fear and updated my LinkedIn profile to fully embrace my true purpose—a transformation agent and catalyst unlocking human potential.
It felt amazing to stand in a professional and personal identity that truly fit me, one that captured my authentic self.
After a 3 month journey that was truly an epic and expansive experience, I was given the opportunity to participate in one of the company’s signature transformational experiences — fittingly called Prevail — which was all about fear and self-doubt.
I’ve been conquering fear and self-doubt since I was an adolescent. And by this point I considered myself to be pretty f*ing fearless. Fearless was one of the first things friends would name if asked to describe me. I thought the training would be interesting but honestly, I didn’t expect transformation.
Oh boy, was I wrong!
During the experience, we were challenged to dig deep and look for hidden fears. To identify actions we weren’t taking because of fear.
I sat there staring at a blank worksheet and couldn’t think of anything. Then during a 1:1 breakout with one of my colleagues, I realized that the way I love is rooted in fear. That my abundant generosity of spirit — one of my defining superpowers — was rooted in fear.
The Way I Love Was Rooted in Fear
In relationships with others — it used to be all relationships, now it’s primarily romantic partnerships where I show up this way — I pour so much time, energy, and love into the other person—into nurturing and maintaining the connection — because I fear that if I stop, the other person won’t show up for me…won’t fill the space…won’t meet me halfway.
At the core of this obsessive behavior is a big hidden fear — the fear that I’m not worthy of love.
Talk about a humbling and unexpected epiphany!
I thought that was my gift from the Prevail workshop.
Again, I was wrong.
The Gift of a Transformational Experience that Kept On Giving
I came back to California, poured myself back into work while continuing to process and integrate the learnings from my transformational group experience.
As I was telling my wise friend Bob Waterman about the latest evolution in my professional journey, he asked me a powerful question:
“If you’re wildly successful on this path, in 10 years what will you regret not having done?”Bob Waterman, Author “In Search of Excellence”
This question stopped me cold and I instantly realized that there was a second big hidden fear I wasn’t seeing.
My Professional Badassery Was Rooted in Fear
Despite the courage, resourcefulness, agility, and passion with which I embraced my new role, I was actually working and engaging from a place of fear — the fear that I don’t have what it takes to build my own dream and create a sustainable business on my own terms using all my superpowers. I was hiding in another entrepreneur’s container — albeit the most aligned one I’ve ever found — and building their dream because I was too afraid to create my own and to realize my soul’s purpose by leaning into the startup of me.
The answer was clear and as powerful as the question that prompted it — if I continued on the path I embarked on with this company last September, I would deeply regret not having built my own dream of being a powerful voice for transformation in the world.
It’s time for me to stop hiding and working from fear and embrace my soul’s purpose. It’s time for me to trust my innermost voices — to have faith in myself and faith in the universe!
Deja Vu All Over Again
Remember what I said earlier about thinking you’ve conquered a fear only to have it come back again years later as if for the very first time?
As I went back and re-read my earlier Medium articles and was shocked when I realized that I’d had the exact same epiphany—the one about hiding in other people’s containers out of fear I couldn’t successfully build my own dream — 16 months ago and used nearly the same language! ?♀️
I’d love to say that I’ve conquered this fear but in truth, I don’t think we ever really conquer our fears. We just redefine our relationship to them. Fear is actually a super useful tool. It shows us what we truly want and challenges us to overcome the resistance and push through it to the other side where all that we dream of awaits.
So here I am again. Ready to start (or rather resume) my courageous and contagiously vulnerable conversation with the world about personal transformation to be a catalyst for finding the joy within.
I have faith—in myself and the Universe — and I will Prevail!
I hope you’ll join me. ??
If you’re navigating fear on your personal hero or heroine’s journey, know that you’re not alone in the struggle to realize and manifest your authentic truth, that you can do this! And if you’re feeling like it would be helpful to have a partner, I’m here to support you on the courageous journey to move beyond fear and find the joy within.
If this post resonates with you, you can connect with me on Medium, Instagram, and LinkedIn or visit my website to learn more about Contagious Vulnerability and book time with me.