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What abyss do you want to face?

On the one side an abyss towards Italy, on the other the glacier in France, part of the Mont Blanc massif. Ten months ago I moved to the French Alps with my boyfriend. Here, I have not only had the luxury of living in beautiful surroundings, but also of increasing opportunities to push my limits. Where a few years ago I climbed a two-meter high boulder (climbing) wall with trembling legs, I am now on an alpine climbing route at an altitude of 3500 meters. With that abyss next to me.

I look at the next step I am about to take with my crampons into a ledge of snow. I clamp my hands around a cold granite boulder. And breathe in the fresh, thin mountain air. Slowly shifting my balance from my left leg to my right. The fear is still present. But I can handle it differently. And despite the fear I still do the things I want to do.

What I found extremely interesting in my coaching training is the effect of exposure to what you are afraid of. This appears – evidence-based – to work very well. So I try it out. After bouldering I first climb walls of 10 meters with a rope. Slowly I go higher and higher, each time crossing the limit of my comfort zone just a tiny bit, until I do climbing routes of more than 100 meters. A mountaineering course helps me to feel more used to moving in snowy terrain. When I get too scared to go, I practice falling and arresting myself from sliding down until I feel confident enough. One step higher each time. And there I am on this beautiful route!

Does this work for every type of fear? If you start with exposure in the right circumstances and from a stable basis, the fear usually gets extinguished, or you avoid the fearful situation less. Even if the fear does not go away, you can also learn to do what is important to you despite that fear. And learn to accept the experience of lack of control. In my coaching clients who dared to face their fears – fear of trying a new career move, fear of standing up for themselves – I also saw their self-confidence grow.

I am going to try it again myself, exposure. See if it also works for my fear of making myself more visible online. Through stories about my view on coaching. What if I am not satisfied with the result? What if you don't like it or if I don't get any responses? I'm going to face that abyss.

What abyss do you want to face?


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