Blog & Podcast

Attack of the Fear Monger

When I look at my job and what my role is as a career counselor, I would venture to guess that I spend a mere 25% of my time helping people figure our their ideal career.  The majority of my time (about 75%) is devoted to helping people find ways to overcome the little voice inside their heads whom I call The Fear Monger.

Not surprisingly as a career counselor, many people walk into my office and want me to help them figure out their ideal career. And I can do that, through a variety of avenues:  assessments, talk therapy, worksheets, etc we can begin to pinpoint what would make their heart sing.  For some people this is the easy part, they decide on a career and begin taking steps to move towards it and then The Fear Monger kicks in, the voice from deep inside them that says, “you can’t do THAT”. It is this voice that does everything in it’s power to keep them stuck, complacent and not living or working happier. Welcome to The Fear Monger, we all have one, it lives deep inside of us.  It only seems to raise its head and spew forth all it’s ugliness when we have tapped into our true calling, when we are on the right track and preparing to make changes that will allow us to live and work happier.  The sole job of The Fear Monger, it is to spread enough negative propaganda that we won’t go after our dreams.    Some common propaganda tactics of The Fear Monger are, “What will people think?”, “Who am I to do ____?”, ” I am too old, too young, too stupid, too underqualified, too overqualified”, “What if I fail?”  “What if I am a terrible at _____, then what will I do”,  and the list goes on and on.

A classic example of this pattern happened recently with a client.  At the very first session she shyly admitted that she wanted to become a nurse.  After engaging in discussion, analysis, assessments, research on a variety of careers and worksheets she decided she did really want to become a nurse.   One day she came in and announced, with a grin on her face, that she was done searching, she wanted to be a nurse. So we began discussing the next few action steps she would need to take to start nursing school.  She left my office, with a spring in her step totally excited.  The next week she comes in to my office, sits down and says “So I was looking at becoming a teacher” and I said “whoa, whoa, whoa, I thought you were going to look into nursing schools”. And she said “yes, but I don’t know if that is the right career for me, I think we should keep looking just to make sure”.  AH HA!  There it is–she had been attacked by her own Fear Monger.  Her Fear Monger wanted to keep her in check, in complacency, in searching mode.  Searching mode is safe, we can explore, check things out, learn about ourselves but when we start to venture into action steps our Fear Monger takes control.
Over the next few weeks I am going to be start fighting back against The Fear Monger propaganda and start to put to rest some of the common messages that The Fear Monger spews forth.  But for now, pay attention to your own Fear Monger.  When do you hear it most?  What is it’s favorite message?  How is it keeping you stuck in your life?
Thanks to Passionate Photo for the fear graffiti photo.