Well-meaning people sometimes feel trapped by work place cultures that make it difficult for them to express what is most important to them—their heart, their soul and their vision for their world.

There aren’t always easy answers.  People need a paycheck and they have responsibilities.  Some anticipate retiring.  Major job changes seem unrealistic.

Often the change needs to come from inside the system, for the problem is not just the individual’s responsibility.  However, in my role as coach, I am usually being asked to work with the individual or team involved.  My input/perceptions about specific ways to improve specific workplace cultures are not always sought.

If you can’t express what’s important to you in your paid work because of a dysfunctional workplace culture, devoting time or developing passions outside of work can be helpful.  (Don’t define yourself by your job!)

However there can be an underlying spiritual issue if you consistently find yourself unable to express who you really are in important areas of your life.

Sociologist Parker Palmer (founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal) calls it the difference between feeling fear and being fear

Are you feeling fear, or are you “being fear”?

It’s normal and human to feel some fear about changing, or attempting something new or worrying about things that are out of your direct control, like a family member or friend’s illness.

But it’s unhealthy to live in paralyzing fear that starts or colors your entire day or week, that depresses your vital life energy, or that prevents you from making needed changes.

“Being fear” closes down options, lessens you, and prompts you to act in a much smaller way than your nature intends.

Purposeful action usually lessens fear.  There’s a lovely quote on Parker Palmer’s website:

“When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

To put it simply, feel the fear…and do it anyway.

If there’s any area where you are “being fear”, what’s one step you can take this week to move from “being fear” to simply “feeling fear”?

And if there’s nowhere in your life that you’re feeling or “being fear”, congratulations!

(Next week I’ll write about anticipation and excitement, the flip side of fear J)

May we pursue our paths, transforming fear into anticipation and action,

Best wishes,

Elizabeth