When is the last time you felt fully human? Really alive?

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Fully Human. This is my mantra for 2021.

Covid has been the great leveler.  No one is exempt. Life is unfolding on our screens. Illness, death, injustice, social uprising, divisive politics. We feel the contagion of Fear with a capital F, over so many things we can’t control.

In coaching conversations with clients, we aren’t talking about strategy, or adapting business models:  we’re talking about emotional turmoil and what it all means — for them, their loved ones, and the people they lead.

Fear feeds more fear

I’ve been thinking about the lower case fears that keep us from being fully human – and over which we have some choice.

  • We don’t ask for help because we fear seeming incompetent or weak.

  • We don’t have hard conversations because we fear negative reactions.

  • We don’t ask for what we need because we fear we’ll be seen as selfish.

  • We don’t speak up because we are afraid of rejection.

Trying to protect ourselves, we build psychological boxes to keep the fears out. We mentally replay scenes and conversations, revise what we should have said or done, worry about the next time. It’s exhausting.

To be fully human is to move past our fears, to break down the boxes so we can see new possibilities and choices. I know when I’ve taken even small steps to move past my fears, I’ve gained energy and I feel more alive.

–When I decided to read a good book and call for take-out instead of preparing the usual home-cooked dinner for my family, I saw that no one got annoyed or felt deprived.

–When I asked colleagues for help instead of trying to do everything myself, I discovered they were happy to pitch in. Work got done faster. Relationships deepened. I felt greater ease.

–I get anxious about my writing.  Will this article, story, or even this newsletter convey something useful?  I’m surprised to find it’s energizing to risk rejection.  Every now and then, I even get a “Thanks, that article really helped me” and I feel great about that.

Being fully human starts with listening to ourselves

My pledge this year is to move beyond my lower case fears – to live, speak, and act in ways that make me feel more fully human.

What does “fully human” mean to you?  To find out, use this reflective prompt each day for a week:

  • When did I feel “fully human” today? How did “fully human” show up in my physical body energetically and emotionally? What actions did I take that made me feel fully human?  How can I get more of that?

  • When did fear crop up?  What was/am I afraid of?  What did it feel like in my body? How do I want to show up instead?

By force or by choice, we are seeking new ways to live, work, and thrive.  We can choose to let fear limit us, or we can live more fearlessly and flourish.

–Is fear of rejection keeping you stuck? Get inspired by this entertaining Ted Talk from Jia Jiang.

–When do I feel fully human?  When I’m dancing.  If you need to shake off 2020, here’s one of my favorite T-Swift injections.

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