Day 24: How I Overcame My Biggest Fear

A Lack of Decision Paralyzed Me

At the time, I had been in a relationship with a man for eight years—in France. I was traveling back and forth regularly while doing a lot of work in the United States. Although I had applied for a green card, he was not ready to move to the US, not even considering the opportunity! (Today he is my fiancé, and we have been together for 17 years in total, so this story has a happy ending.)

When my green card arrived, I realized I had a very difficult and complex choice to make. It was overwhelming, however, and I spent a lot of time weighing my options and going in circles. Do I choose him and continue the life we had built in France? Or do I follow my dream and move to the US permanently? You could say I was paralyzed with all my options and potential outcomes.

Because it was such a complicated decision, I was getting coaching at the time, following my job loss. Although I thought I knew the value of coaching, it turned out that having the support of a coach to help me figure out this huge decision made all the difference. While I spun my wheels, she helped me to understand that I could actually have both the man and the new country. I could make things work!

Meanwhile, my physical paralysis had slowly come on. For a couple of months I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out why I couldn’t walk. Nobody could figure out what was going on. There was no physical reason for it.

As you may have guessed, the fear, the emotions and the mental exhaustion that I was experiencing in my internal debate—about what I should do and what I could do, what I would lose and what I would gain—seriously impacted my health.

I want to encourage any of you who are experiencing exhaustion due to an internal conflict or a difficult decision, to seek someone to support you from the outside. Don’t stay stuck in a place where you can’t see a solution. One solution will manifest at a time.

What happened was very simple. My executive coach and I had a conversation with my fiancé. I told him this was my dream and that I would love to be able to explore living here for a few months or a few years to see how this would work out. He was open to it! We agreed to visit each other every six weeks.

And it did work out. When he came to visit me here, he realized that this could be an opportunity for him as well, not only to learn English but to develop new skills and explore a new culture.

Fast forward 10 years: we are still in the US. He moved here when he was able to get his own green card, four years after I moved here, and we have been very happy.

A Second Opinion Is Indispensable

That fear affected me very deeply, and I never want to find myself in that position again—actually paralyzed by fear. I dearly hope that if you are experiencing this degree of stress, or you are fearful of a great decision you must make in your life, please do consult with others. Check in with your friends. Or consult with a coach—of course working with a professional coach can help. Coaches have been trained for exactly this kind of situation, and often have years of experience helping people move through decisions with ease.

However you choose to get help, do make sure you are supported. When you support you, the universe will support you too.

I wanted to share here how a frightening period of indecision impacted my health and may be affecting your own health. And I wanted you to know that you often have the solution inside of you already. Though it may not feel like it, emotions can be managed and I hope you saw in my case how so much can shift by firmly making the decision.

Several years ago, I learned how to push through fears by walking through one of the biggest that I have experienced in my life—one that actually physically paralyzed me for a couple of months.

In 2005, I was let go from an organization that didn’t feel I was in alignment with its values any longer because I refused to do something that was illegal (so they were correct!) Though I had been very successful there—one of their top performers and the only female at this executive-level position—I decided that I would not fight. And, though it is never pleasant to lose your job, I managed all right through that ordeal.

A few weeks later, I received notification that my green card was approved. That was good news on many levels, yet this is when fear struck, and struck hard. Not only had I just lost everything (it seemed) my career, status and income, I was facing a new and extremely difficult decision to make about whether to move or not.

When I made my choice, in fact, my symptoms almost entirely disappeared. It took only a few days for me to be able to walk again, to wake up in the morning and be able to actively live my life again. I hope this insight has been useful to you.

If you want to share your stories about monumental or difficult decisions you’ve made, I’d love to hear them in the comments. And if I can support you in making decisions easier, please contact me. Have a wonderful day.

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