In honor of the holiday, let’s talk fear.

I don’t mean the campy comedy-horror movie fear. (I saw parts of American Werewolf in London last night!). I mean the fear of the future.

You know, the gnawing 3 am, ‘what am I doing with my life?‘ kind of fear.

The fears that keep us awake at night are almost always anticipatory fears of the unknown. And they come in so many flavors!

If you’re like me, sometimes you end up playing a 3 am round of wackamole with your fears. Just as I manage to quell one version of a fear, another related variety will crop up.

Over the years, between dealing with my own fears, and coaching musicians through a variety of their fear-inducing-challenges, I’ve amassed a catalog I call . . .

The Big-Ass List of Fears. It’s a work in progress, so if you see any missing fears, send’em along!

Here are the biggies
fear of failure
fear of success
fear that our dream is unattainable
fear of being judged
fear of disappointing others
fear of disappointing ourselves
fear of not being good enough
fear that what we have to offer is not good enough
fear that what we do has no value
fear we won’t have made a difference
fear we will have wasted our lives

There’s also the more practical variety . . . 
fear that our lifestyle is not sustainable
fear that our freelance work will dry up
fear that we’ll go bankrupt and become homeless
fear that our latest project is impossible

And the specific career task fears . . . 
fear of networking
fear of negotiating a fee or salary
fear of spreadsheets
fear of budgeting
fear of dealing with our debt
fear of managing our time
fear of planning

And there’s also the fears related to our identity
fear of owning our success
fear of owning our mistakes and shortcomings
fear of our ambitions
fear of making changes that disrupt our sense of self
fear of becoming who we were meant to be

And of course there’s our everyday phobias (too many to include)
fear of dentists, snakes, werewolves, spiders, more

I’ve really been getting a crash course in fears lately, thanks to my amazing clients.

It’s so inspiring to work with artists who are willing to acknowledge their fears and do the work outside their comfort zones to move toward their goals.

Change can feel threatening. Taking on challenges — new ways of managing our time and energy—can be scary.

Here’s the thing: courage isn’t about being fearless. It’s about feeling the fear and not letting it stop you.

The truth is, the things we end up regretting are not the challenges we took on—it’s the challenges we didn’t take on.

That’s what I love about working with creative artists—they dare to put their best selves out into the world.

It all starts with acknowledging your fears. Naming the elephants in the room, and working out how to maneuver forward and past them.

This week: Eleanor Roosevelt recommended: “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Make it as small as you need, but do it. Make exercising your courage a daily habit: it strengthens the muscle we need to reach our desired future.

Want to talk about your goals and challenges and explore how coaching might work for you? Reach me at

As always, I’d love to get your comments, stories, and tips—and any career-related fears you want to unload!—I’m at

Get the deets on coaching HERE

all the best,



PS: Speaking of fears, I hope you’ve heard about COMPOSED: the documentary exploring the personal struggles of musicians who are experiencing performance anxiety and their coping mechanisms. Check it out:

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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