Category: Inspirational/Motivational


How to Overcome Your Fear of Risk and Improve Your Life


Risk is something that can instill fear in all of us. The risk of rejection, the risk of failure, and so on and so on.

My clients often express fear of starting something new in their careers. My friends are sometimes afraid of making a major life change. I too have experienced fear of certain risks.

I’ve had several people say to me they admire the fact that I wasn’t afraid to risk traveling to the other side of the world by myself, risk ending a sub-par relationship, or risk starting my own business.

I never said I wasn’t afraid to do those things. There was some fear involved in all those things because each of them came with certain risks.

It wasn’t about being unafraid.

It was about pushing through and overcoming the fears in order to get to something better in my life.


7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Risk and Improve Your Life

A couple of years ago I read an article entitled “7 Ways to Control Your Fear and Advance Your Career” by bestselling author Harvey Mackay.

The seven things he outlined can be applied to any area of your life, not just your career.

I’d like to expand on the seven things he mentioned, but I’m going to slightly change the order of them.


1. Try new things.

Yes, you’ve heard me say that more than once. But, it’s always worth repeating.

Why? Because there are always new things to try.

And you never know what new thing is going to become the thing that gets you over your fears and improves your life until you try.

Mackay says,

“There is only one thing worse than a quitter, and that is someone who is afraid to begin…Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic. Think about it.”

Trying new things will lessen future fears, build your confidence, and increase your ability to handle future risks.

So, let me ask you the same question Darius Rucker is asking in his recent hit song,

When was the last time you did something for the first time?


2. Review your risks

If taking future risks will help you overcome your fear and build your confidence, then certainly any past risks you’ve taken and fears you’ve already faced have built a certain level of confidence in you.

Spend some time reviewing all the times you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone or done something you were afraid of.

What was the result?

How did you feel after you did it?

Even if it failed, what was the biggest lesson you learned from it?

What was successful about the experience?

How did it help you overcome fear?

Chances are the outcome wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be and most of the risks you took turned out to be okay.

Mackay says,

“Figure out what made them work. Can you duplicate those decisions that led to success and apply them to other situations?”


3. Explore your memories

Since you’re already looking back, take some time to also look back over your life and career to explore what exactly instills fear in you.

What do those situations look like?

What are their common denominators?

What happened when you were afraid to do something but did it anyway?


4. Look at your responsibilities

Regardless of your age, marital status, work situation, etc., you have a lot of priorities and responsibilities in your life.

Sometimes I think my friends who are married with children assume I’m not as busy as them or don’t have as many responsibilities, but it’s not true. I just have a different set of responsibilities and pressures.

As a single person who owns and runs her own business, I have a lot of pressures on me to get everything done without the help of a partner (or children old enough to earn an allowance). All the household responsibilities fall on me, and all the finances and expenses are covered by only one income.

It’s my name and reputation that’s at stake when something goes wrong in the business. The business is sometimes like a baby in that, on some days, it’s a never-ending 24–7 job.

Your challenges might be the same or might be totally different.

You can’t compare your situation to someone else’s because it’s likely you’ll be comparing apples to oranges.

Just look at your own responsibilities.

Which ones make you feel afraid or anxious?

Why are you afraid of them?

Keep digging and ask “why” until you’ve discovered the root of your fear.


5. Construct a worst-case scenario

Mackay says,

“When a certain situation makes you nervous, try to think of the worst thing that could realistically happen. Chances are the reality won’t be as devastating as you think, and examining the possibilities ahead of time will prepare you to avoid the potential pitfalls.”

Yes, I agree, it is good to do this.

However, if you’re the type of person who already has a bad habit of immediately going to the worst-case scenario, I suggest limiting the amount of time you spend constructing the worst-case scenario.

Instead, spend your energy shifting your focus, as described in #6.


6. Shift your focus

After you construct a worst-case scenario, you want to shift your focus to potential best-case scenarios.

Think about all the possible benefits and positive by-products of facing your fear.

By focusing on the potential positive outcomes, you reduce your anxiety and worry less.

7. Expect your fears to occasionally resurface

Mackay says to accept the fact that there will still be times when you feel fear or a lack of control.

This is true. There are still things that cause me to panic or become afraid. But because I’ve faced my fears in the past, new fears don’t have as strong of a grip on me now days.

Prepare yourself as best you can (by using the tips above and the ones in the related posts listed below) to handle potential risks that may cause anxiety or fear.

Mackay’s Moral:

“Don’t let your fears get in your head — get ahead of your fears.”


Once you begin to overcome some of your fears, you’ll be eager and ready to set more goals for yourself.

And if you want to not just set goals but achieve them, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. When you do you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

Related Posts:

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Sunday Inspiration: What’s Your Life Assignment?

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“For this reason I was born.” Jn 18:37 NIV

When you know what your God-given assignment in life is, and that God is on your side, you become virtually unstoppable.

Will you make mistakes? Sure, but God loves you enough to correct you, redirect you, and get you back on track.

“How do I go about discovering my life assignment?” you ask.

Here are fourteen helpful questions to ask yourself:

(1) What desires have been living in me most of my life?

(2) What motivates me to work hard and be productive?

(3) What keeps me going forward when I’m worn out?

(4) What makes me refuse to quit when I meet with resistance?

(5) What do I do that doesn’t seem like work?

(6) What do I do that brings a positive response and support from people?

(7) What am I doing or what’s happening in my life when doors seem to open automatically and effortlessly?

(8) What do wise leaders and godly counselors think about my work?

(9) What makes me feel good about being who I am?

(10) What makes my creative juices flow?

(11) What am I willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish it?

(12) What am I doing that I’d be proud to offer for God’s approval?

(13) What would I do without being paid for it if I could afford to?

(14) What would I be willing to withstand Satan on in order to accomplish?

Prayerfully consider these fourteen questions, and they will shed light on your God-given assignment in life.

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/fourteen-questions-about-your-assignment

13 Life and Career Lessons Uncovered in an Unexpected Way


The weather is finally getting warmer! For me, this means it’s the beginning of stand up paddle boarding season.

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paNASH owner Lori Bumgarner with QuickBlade owner Jim Terrell

Just last week I had the opportunity to train with former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell, also owner of Quickblade Paddles.

He taught me advanced level paddle techniques so I can increase my speed and perfect my paddle stroke.

If it’s not already obvious, stand up paddling (SUP) is one of my passions.

In fact, I love it so much, I’ve found a way to incorporate it into my passion and career coaching business.


How, you might ask?

Well, every paddle season, I take my clients out for a beginner SUP lesson. This is easy to do since I have two paddle boards and have previous experience teaching beginners.

The purpose of taking clients out paddle boarding is to get them out of their regular environment which gives them a different perspective on their current situation.

It also melts away their current stresses and rejuvenates their thought process.


The session starts with about 20 minutes of basic SUP instruction for them to start feeling comfortable on a board.

At first they’re worried about falling off the board into the water. It’s all they can think about as they attempt to stand up on the board for the first time.

paNASH client

Once they start to get the hang of it, we begin our typical career coaching discussion to go over the client’s current needs as we paddle down the river.


When we head back toward the harbor, I usually ask the client,

“When was the last time you thought about falling in the water?”

They suddenly realize they haven’t thought about it all. It’s kind of like a light bulb moment where they realize they accomplished something they weren’t sure they’d be able to do.

At that moment I can see a huge boost in their confidence.

They begin noticing all the nature surrounding them and realize how much the water has calmed them from their worries and stresses about their career troubles.

That’s when they usually say to me,

“This was wonderful. It was just what I needed. And it was fun!”


I love to hear that from my clients.

What they don’t expect though are all the parallels between the beginner SUP lesson and the life and career lessons from our coaching sessions.

At the end of the paddle session, I give my clients a copy of those lessons for them to keep and to remember.

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© paNASH | not available for republication


13 LIFE AND CAREER LESSONS FROM SUP

SUP: Always be safe – use proper equipment, stay out of boat traffic, know when to return to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Prepare and plan for potential life and career bumps and crises.


SUP: Select correct fit for board size and paddle length.

Life and Career: Understand the importance of fit for career choice.


SUP: Hold the paddle correctly.

Life and Career: Use the tools you’ve been given to succeed correctly.


SUP: Place your hands on the paddle at 90 degree angles, keeping elbows/arms straight, allowing you to dig the paddle deeper into the water. (Biggest mistake for beginners: Not putting their paddle in the water deep enough.)

Life and Career: Reach further and dig deeper. You will learn more about yourself.


SUP: Keep your paddle close to the board’s rails so you can paddle straight.

Life and Career: Keep close to your core values to stay on the straight and narrow path.


SUP: A wider stance on the board makes the board more stable.

Life and Career: A wider network and a wider set of skills equals a more stable career.


SUP: Keep your head up and yours eyes straight ahead when standing up. (Don’t look down, look straight ahead.)

Life and Career: Keep your eye on the horizon. Don’t look down and don’t look back.


SUP: Once up, you will stabilize as soon as you put your paddle into the water.

Life and Career: You have to stand up and risk feeling insecure before you can feel secure again. A little fear, discomfort and unstableness can be a good thing.


SUP: If you fall, you should fall away from the board. Get back on the board in the middle from the side, never from the back of the board.

Life and Career: If you fall, get back up. There’s no need to start all over. Just pick up in the middle where you left off.


SUP: Stay on the sides of the river (10–20 yards from river bank), do not cross in front of boats or barges, and do not paddle in middle of river when there’s boat traffic.

Life and Career: Stay out of the middle of unnecessary drama.


SUP: Pay attention to the river’s current – when it’s stronger, go upstream first so you won’t be too fatigued coming back.

Life and Career: When feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to deal with the bigger/tougher issues first so you won’t have to exert too much energy when you’re already tired at the end of a task.


SUP: Handle wake by paddling straight into the waves or return to your knees to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Face challenges head on, and know how to pick your battles.


SUP: Pay attention to headwinds and tailwinds. Tailwinds are easier; headwinds are good training to make you a stronger paddler when done safely.

Life and Career: Struggle doesn’t always equal failure, and ease doesn’t always equal success.


One of the reasons why I love sports and recreational activities like SUP so much is because of all the life lessons they provide us.

What are your passions? What life lessons have you gained from them? Please respond and share!

Related Posts

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Sunday Inspiration: It’s Time to Move On!

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Let us go on…and become mature in our understanding.” Heb 6:1 NLT

Is what worked in the past not working for you now?

Maybe it’s a job you’ve outgrown, or a relationship you need to reexamine, or a method you need to change.

Regardless of what it is, don’t become so settled that you can’t let go and move on when you need to.

They say the hermit crab looks for a shell that fits him, and lives there until he outgrows it. At that point he has to scurry along the ocean floor and find a bigger one—a process that repeats itself throughout his entire life.

So here’s the question: Are you clinging to something that no longer fits you just because it’s easy and familiar?

David said,

“You…freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress” (Ps 4:1 AMPC).

You must be willing to move out of your comfort zone and deal with a little “distress.” That’s what makes you grow.

Patience and persistence are admirable qualities, but they don’t work in situations you’ve outgrown.

Instead of “hanging in” and trying harder, at certain points in life you have to stop and ask yourself,

“Is this situation good for me?”

If you’re not sure, ask God for “an understanding heart so that [you] can…know the difference between right and wrong” (1Ki 3:9 NLT).

And when He tells you what to do—do it—even though at first it won’t feel comfortable.

When God says it’s time to move on, it’s because there’s another shell out there designed to fit you even better.

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/its-time-to-move-on

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we all got when we were children.

My own answers to that question were all over the place and would change pretty frequently.

In trying to remember what my answers were, I’m sure I probably said any of the following on any given day: a teacher, an author, a businesswoman, an artist, etc.

But the only one I distinctly remember being the most sure about was a fashion designer. That was after my grandmother gave me some Fashion Plates for Christmas one year.

 

I loved my fashion plates and enjoyed the creativity of them. They made me want to learn how to really sketch clothing designs by hand. 

Ask yourself:

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be?


So when I got to high school I decided to take art all four years to learn how to sketch. 

That is until I got into my first year of art where I ditched the idea of becoming a fashion designer (or an artist) after my art teacher made my life a living a hell. 

She was such a rigid woman, too rigid to be teaching anything that’s supposed to be creative. Her teaching methods and personality made me never want to take another art class again.

Ask yourself:

Has there ever been a person or an experience in your life that was so negative it turned you off from what you wanted to be when you grew up? How did that affect you?


So next I looked to the subject I was enjoying the most at the time…beginner-level Spanish. I really loved it and thought I’d like to eventually major in foreign languages once I got to college. 

But then came Spanish II, which was really difficult for me, much more than Spanish 1 where I was making all A’s.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever lacked the skill or ability to be the thing you wanted to be when you grew up? How did you shift your focus?


Finally, I discovered psychology…which changed everything for me.

I found psychology so interesting, and my understanding of it came naturally to me. It was becoming my passion.

Ask yourself:

What comes naturally to you? What are you passionate about?


But when I announced to my family I was going to study psychology as my college major, they weren’t as enthusiastic about it as I was.

I kept hearing, 

“Oh, how in the world are you going to make any money with THAT kind of degree?”

My dad said I should major in business (his passion)…because I’d make more money.

My mother said I should be a nurse…because I’d make more money.

Even my brother chimed in and said I should be an accountant because, again,… I’d make more money.

Ask yourself:

Did anyone ever try to discourage you from becoming what you wanted to grow up to be? How did you respond?


So why didn’t I listen to any of my family members? Several reasons:

  1. I can’t stand the site of blood. And I can’t stand the smell of a hospital. Hearing people talk about their surgeries or ailments literally makes my skin crawl.
  2. I’m completely bored with math and number crunching. While other people find numbers fun and fascinating, I do not.
  3. Business didn’t interest me at the time. At least not enough for me to have done well in business classes.
  4. I get good grades when I’m studying something I find interesting. If I’m the one who has to take the classes and do the homework, the material has to keep me awake.
  5. Loving what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why choosing a career path that paid well over choosing one I loved was important to my parents. 

They were both born in the late 1930s, still early enough to have felt some of the long-term effects of the Great Depression. 

Their parents drilled into them the importance of being financially secure in the event of another depression, so they were just doing what they thought was best for me by trying to encourage me into fields considered more lucrative.

My brother is a lot older than me. In fact, he’s closer in age to my dad’s generation than he is to mine. Therefore, his mentality has also been “get a job that pays well regardless of whether you like it.”

Ask yourself:

Is there something you’re passionate about even though it may not make you a lot of money? Which is more important to you?


I stood firm in my decision to major in psychology (and minor in sociology), did well in all my psychology classes, and made the dean’s list several times.

It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year that I knew what I wanted to do with my degree.

That summer I had been an orientation leader at my alma mater and had also been working the previous two years in the Provost’s office as a student worker.

I loved the college atmosphere, loved working with incoming students, and had developed a strong understanding of the organizational structure of a university.

I decided to ask my Dean of Students how do I get a job like his? (This was my first time conducing an informational interview and had no idea at the time that was what it was called.)

He explained I would need a master’s degree in a field I had no previous idea existed. I started researching graduate programs in higher education administration and student personnel services. 

Ask yourself:

Have you explored a career path that was previously unknown to you? What is it? What have you learned about it? What else do you want to learn about it?

The more I found out, the more I realized my psychology degree was the best foundation for what I would study in graduate school. 

In fact, much of what I learned in grad school was just an extension from undergrad.

Unlike my fellow grad students who came from other majors like finance and business, I already had familiarity with a lot of the theories and material.


Once I had decided on higher education as a career path, I still had to narrow down what area of higher ed I wanted to go into. 

My degree was readying me for so many possibilities.

I could go into financial aid, housing/residential living, Greek life, admissions, orientation, career services, academic advising, first-year programs, student activities, study abroad, international student services, and on and on.

Ask yourself:

Do you sometimes have so many career options or career interests you find it hard to narrow down your choices? 

I narrowed my choices down into three areas based on the ones that interested me most: orientation programs, freshman year experience programs, and career services. 

I delved into those three areas by gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work and special projects while finishing my degree.

It was while volunteering in the university’s career center I knew I wanted to help students figure out what they wanted to be “when they grew up” based on their own interests and passions instead of their parents’ wishes.

Ask yourself:

Has a previous personal experience inspired you to a career helping others facing the same experience?


After earning my masters, I went on to be a college career adviser at various universities and even held the title of director of career services at one time. 

I also got to teach some college level courses.

I loved what I did. 

My job even allowed me to use my creative side in developing career-related programs for my students.

But when my creativity began to be stifled, I decided to make a bit of a career change and started my own image consulting business (click here to read the story on how that happened).

Ask yourself:

Have you ever felt so stifled or burned out in your career you knew you were ready for a change?


For 8 years I worked independently as an image consultant but in that time I also continued to do career coaching on the side. 

The image consulting fed my childhood interest in fashion since it included some wardrobe styling work. 

And I even became an author when I released my first book, an Amazon #1 bestseller about image and style.

Then, after 8 years of image consulting, I was ready for another career change, but also a bit of a return to my roots.

I became an independent career coach with a focus on helping people discover and pursue their passions.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever had a yearning to go back to something you once did before?


It’s an interesting story how I shifted my image consulting business back to a career coaching focus (click here to read that story).

I knew I wanted to go back to career coaching but I had two requirements for myself:

  1. I still wanted to work for myself, so I avoided applying for jobs at college career centers. Instead I re-structured my business’s mission.
  2. I wanted to work with people going through mid-career transitions with a focus on helping them pursue their passions and the things they once wanted to be when they grew up.

My background and own personal experiences have served me well in accomplishing those two goals. 

Ask yourself:

What are some of your career goals? What are some of your “must haves” for your work? How has your background prepared you for your goals?


Unlike most other career coaches, I didn’t just decide to be a career coach after having worked in another industry. Career coaching has been part of my entire career.

It has evolved out of a combination of childhood interests, natural gifts and talents, and passion. 

And it has taken some exciting twists and turns along the way.

I’m thankful there’s been more than just one way to pursue my passion. 

I’m also thankful my current situation allows me to combine some of my other passions like writing and stand up paddle boarding with my work as a career coach. 

And I love helping others find unique and creative ways to pursue and combine all the passions they have, helping them become some of the things they always wanted to be when they grew up.

Ask yourself:

What are some ways you can pursue your own passions? How can you combine your passions? What steps will you take next to do so?

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to help you start taking the next steps to becoming what you want to be when you grow up (again)!

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