It's OK Not to do What's Expected of You.

This post is me facing my own fears, I hope it encourages you to face yours too.

Like Comment

I used to be really worried about what people thought about me. 

I didn’t think I was, but I was. 

It didn’t show up in the obvious ways, I never cared if anyone had an issue with the way I dressed, how I did my hair or what tattoo’s I had. 

But, I did care about what they thought of who I am as a person and as a professional. 

I cared about if people thought I was a nice person, if they thought I was friendly, fun and approachable and if they thought I was good at what I did. 

I, like many other people have dealt with perfectionism. I’ve put pressure on myself to get things just right because I take pride in what I do and because I want other people to acknowledge it. 

Which is why when it came to starting my coaching business I had to confront a lot of my fears around being good enough, especially being “qualified” enough.

You see being a coach isn’t like being a Dr or a Physio or a Therapist, there aren’t required degrees and certifications involved. With careers like the ones mentioned above, that extensive training and regulated certification process is necessary and amazing. I mean, I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t wanna go to a Dr who hadn’t been formally trained. 

However, with my upbringing being one where certifications and formal higher education were recognised and respected as a sign of competence and highly regarded qualifications, it kinda freaked me out that as a coach I didn’t have, or need those things. 

So much anxiety about not being good enough came to the surface. What if people wouldn’t take me seriously or think I was a fraud?! 

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start a business as a coach with no training. I have trained and worked with some truly incredible coaches and mentors, I have read and continue to read a ton of books and I go to seminars and events as much as possible where I can continue to learn from some of the personal development industry’s leading experts. 

I feel like I am continuously learning and growing as a person and a coach and I’ve seen the results to back it up. 

But on some level I still felt weird about that whole qualifications thing. 

It was 95% my own insecurity and 5% comments I’d hear or read about the coaching industry. 

Ultimately it all came down to a fear of not being seen as good enough. 

The funny thing is that this belief I had about formal qualifications came from an external expectation from people and society about how life is supposed to be done, and my whole thing as a coach is about living authentically and not doing things that aren’t aligned to you just because it’s the thing that’s expected of you! 

I mean, come on! It was right there staring me in the face!! 

It’s funny because as coaches we often have to go through the fire ourselves and deal with all the stuff we coach on which just makes us better at helping our clients.

Having formal training is great and I’m not bashing it in the slightest, but what I love about learning freestyle and choosing to my mentors based on what feels aligned to me is that I never rely on one particular formula to coach people with. 

I feel so confident in my ability to adapt to each clients needs and coach them in a way that’s completely tailored to them and so far it’s working brilliantly!

I’ll explain it using a hairdressing metaphor (incase you didn’t know, I started out as a hairdresser).

If someone comes in with hair that has never ever been coloured before and they say, “I want my hair to be this colour” You can look back at your formal training and see exactly what to do. 

Incase you were wondering, this almost never happens. Most people will come in with years of home colouring experiments layered into their hair. What you see on the surface is completely different to what’s going on underneath and it’s only through looking at that person’s specific situation and your post-college experience and extra learning that you can move forward with a plan of action. 

Ultimately, if I was to go and get an official certification at this point it would only be because of an insecurity about what other people might think of me. 

I’d much rather continue to work with the best coaches and mentors around, read books by incredible people and attend workshops, seminars and events that really speak to me. 

When it comes to getting a certificate in anything, it’ll only be something that I choose to do because I see value in it for me and my clients, not because it’s what’s expected of me. 

Writing this article was set as a challenge for me by my coach because when you acknowledge a fear or insecurity and own it, it no longer owns you. 

So now I challenge you to tell me, what fear or insecurity is owning you right now and how are you going to take the power back?

Amy Shefik

Happiness Coach, The Fierce Flamingo

I help people navigate their way through the challenges and expectations of being a grown up in modern society, whilst building happiness, self-worth and having more fun.