Interview: 8 coaches you need to meet

April 25, 2011

As I thought about interviews for this month of starting new things, I realized there were two types of people from whom I really wanted to hear: those who have lots of experience starting new things, and those who *help* lots of people start new things. These aren’t always mutually exclusive, but treated in isolation, they give voice to different and enlightening sides of experience.

Last week we heard from 8 entrepreneurs, so today we’ll hear from 8 life coaches.

I’m thrilled to hear from these women! These are soulful, dynamic coaches whose work is transforming our world in significant ways. They all offer one-on-one coaching, in addition to the quality information, encouragements, classes, interviews, and advice they provide on the web.

If you’re dreaming about starting something new, or floundering a bit in any life arena, one of these women might be just the person to help shift your life season to spring.

Today, each of them (alphabetically below) answers the following question:

What key advice do you think people most need to hear and believe when they’re facing fear at the start of new things?

Bridget Pilloud is an intuitive, a spiritual mechanic and a life-shifter. She works with people all over the world to help them feel better and enact positive change in their lives. She can be found at and on Twitter. (Kristin’s note: Bridget offers a free guided meditation so relevant to this interview. It’s titled Working With Fear, and can be listened to here.)

Bridget’s Answer:

Fear at the start of a new thing is normal. Often, people think that if they are feeling fear at the start of a new thing, that something is wrong.

Fear is information, a sign that the new thing is important and that part of you is changing in response to the new thing. When a client of mine realizes this, it helps her honor what she is doing and to be aware of the changes within her.

The key advice that I give when someone is feeling fear is to feel that emotion without trying to fix it. To just let the feeling express itself. When you do this, your spirit is able to process the feeling, which enables you to understand it and to allow it to ebb out of you.

This makes space for you to move forward with the new thing.

What you might initially describe as fear is usually several emotions tangled together. When you feel it, and observe your feeling, you can start paying attention to the other emotions as well: emotions like excitement, anxiety and wonder. These feelings also form and inform your new thing.

Feel your feelings. Don’t try to think them. And Move Forward.

Britt Bravo Britt Bravo is a blogger, podcaster, and social media coach who believes using social media should be fun. She’s also a creative career consultant who loves to help people discover their joyful work, and make the time to do it. She loves to collage, bake cupcakes, write letters, interview big visionaries, and bring groups of people together, online and offline. You can learn more about her at, and on her blog, her podcast, Twitter, and Facebook.

Britt’s Answer:

I’ve always wanted to grow tomatoes, but I’ve been afraid I’d kill them. Turns out my neighbor wanted to grow tomatoes too, so last weekend we went to the farmers’ market to buy some plants, and learn how to grow them. Your fears about starting something new may be related to a larger goal than growing tomatoes, but the same 5 tips apply:

1. Educate yourself

The woman we bought the plants from, as well as fellow customers, gave us all kinds of tips about which plants to buy, and how to take care of them.

2. Take small steps

I bought two tomato plants; my neighbor bought one. If they grow well, we’ll plant more.

3. Get a buddy

It was more fun learning about tomatoes with my neighbor than it would have been to do it alone. Plus, we can support each other as our tomatoes grow.

4. Accept that there will be the obstacles

When I checked in on my plants this morning, snails had already eaten a bunch of leaves. Now I need to go back to tip #1 and learn about snail prevention!

5. Embrace the process

Life’s too short to not take steps towards your dreams, even if it’s just to grow juicy, delicious, sun-ripened tomatoes (: There are no guarantees that you’ll achieve your goals, but you’ll definitely learn something about yourself in the process, so enjoy it. Have fun!

Chris Zydel, MA, founder of Creative Juices Arts, has over 32 years of experience as a compassionate and soulful creativity guide. Through her classes, workshops and training programs she has devoted herself to providing the support, guidance and inspiration that allows her many students to connect with the sacred force of creativity that lives inside of us all. Visit her website at

Chris’s Answer:

I think the main thing that people need to remember when they are feeling fear about beginning something new is that it is perfectly normal to feel that way. And even something that is to be expected. Taking steps towards what you’ve never done before always means you’re venturing into the unknown. And our little lizard brains don’t trust ANYTHING that is unfamiliar. Different is always perceived as dangerous.

What gets folks into trouble is thinking that the fear means something is really wrong. And that they should wait until they don’t feel the fear before they start the new thing. Which is never going to happen. If you wait to feel unafraid you won’t ever actually DO the things you want to accomplish or create. Fear is always related to taking action. It’s usually not too scary to spend time fantasizing about your project or making endless plans. But the fear arises when the rubber is about to meet the road. Fear is just part of the territory when you you are forging a new path. And at this point in my life, while I’m still not enlightened enough to completely welcome it, I’ve come to appreciate fear as an indicator that I’m on the right track.

Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach and the founder of Jamie Ridler Studios. From coaching to workshops, from podcasting to blogging, Jamie’s work helps women find the confidence and courage to discover and express their creative selves so they can be the star they are. Her offerings can be found at her website,, Twitter, Facebook, and her podcast series, Creative Living with Jamie.

Jamie’s Answer:

Hi, beautiful. Here you are, standing on the verge of something new, something that quite possibly could be amazing, life-changing even. It’s an adventure. That thump-thump-thump of your heart tells you so. And every adventure needs a hero, right? That’s you. Yes, you. You can do this.

See, here’s what I know. Your world expands each and every time you step into something new. And that alone is worth the risk. But there’s more. You’ll expand too. You’ll gain new skills, discover new strengths, find new guides, be amazed by new experiences, have new ideas, see new possibilities, discover new opportunities and yes, face new challenges.

But in that heart of yours is all the bravery you’ll ever need. And in your toolkit are rich resources that will help along the way. And when you step into this adventure, you’ll discover you’re more than you ever imagined. Trust yourself.

You can do this.

Kate Swoboda is a life coach, teacher, and writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She supports women from around the world in making powerful choices and rocking out their lives (side note: this involves a lot of courageous laughter, love, acceptance, and not taking ourselves too seriously). She’s the author of four e-programs and creator of the Courageous Play and Create Stillness retreats. When she’s not writing, coaching,or leading retreats in Italy and San Francisco, she can be found sipping chai in libraries, buffing up on her Italian, taking photographs, or getting all bendy-stretchy on the yoga mat. Learn more at, or check out

Kate’s Answer:

The fear of failure is what dominates so much of our thinking at the outset of any new venture—whether that venture is something tangible like weight loss or starting a business, or a life shift such as self-acceptance or having more patience with others. We worry that “we can’t really change; it won’t work out.” The most helpful thing one can do at that point is to drop down into presence and surrender to simply BEing their journey. It might work out according to some pre-determined plan, or it might not—either way, BE a being, and BE your journey. Surrender to the what-is-ness of your life, and be open to all that you might learn from simply BEing where you are, and there’s no way you can lose in the face of that. It’s freedom to surrender to BEing, which is practicing acceptance.

This is warrior work when fear is running the show. To do it, one needs to slow down and get present, so that they can notice when they’re slipping out of that acceptance and into attachment to a result. In the face of that, I advocate a lot of courage, breathing, and practicing stillness.

Kendra Thornbury helps soul-centered women & evolutionary leaders create spiritual and financial freedom so that they have a greater impact & make more money….all while being true to who they are! She provides proven methods and time-tested systems that empowers clients to translate their soul’s calling into a thriving business that makes a real difference in the world.

Known for her ability to blend spirituality with business and soul with money, Kendra E Thornbury, MA, is an internationally highly acclaimed coach, spiritual guide, speaker, facilitator, author, humanitarian and entrepreneur. Visit her at

Kendra’s Answer:

Congratulations! Something new is being born through you right now.

A dream.
A project.
A vision.
A business.
A new way of being.

The impulse of life is to grow!

Rather than stay in the tempting “safety” of the way things have been, you have courageously said yes to that next step, that new bud of life emerging in you.


And with this yes, you may notice some fear stirring.

What advice can I share about your fear?

1) Do not believe your fear.

Fears are just responses to thoughts. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they believe their fears. They think they are “true”.

Recognize that most fears are just fabrications of your mind based on past pain or future projections.

Take a few moment to identify what thoughts you have that lead to your fears. Then, consciously choose new and supportive thoughts to replace them.

2) Feel the fear.

Get comfortable with just feeling what is. Usually we run away from feelings. It doesn’t work!

So just feel. The irony is that when you really let yourself feel, the feelings change.

Expand your capacity to be with the fear. Breath. Just let it be. Watch how it shifts as you hold presence (rather than make it bad and resist it).

3) Keep going even with fear.

It’s so sad how people stop their dreams, their joy, their prosperity because they feel fear about that new next step.

They believe their fear is an indication that they “shouldn’t” move forward, or that they are not really prepared, or that there is too much threat in the change.

No! Do not let fear stop your life.

Recognize it’s there and just keep going. Let the impulse of life live.

Tara Gentile empowers artists of all sorts to produce and profit from their passion. She pushes past your comfort & convention to dig into your power of ease & independence. She can be found at She is also the editor of Scoutie Girl, a daily digital zine where creatives connect, converse, and commune.


Tara’s Answer:

Successful, innovative people don’t start things thinking they’ve got it all figured out. In fact, they start things understanding that any expectations they have will likely be turned on end. Beginning new things can be scary but that sense of fear is only exaggerated by feeling like you actually need to know what you’re doing and what to expect.

Figuring it out as you go is liberating and often leads to better-than-imagined results!

The key piece of preparation you need is understanding the what & why of your desires – not the how.

Tara Sophia Mohr is a writer and coach. A regular contributor to Huffington Post, she writes the blog Wise Living. Click HERE to receive her free Goals Guide, “Turning Your Goals Upside Down and Inside Out (To Get What You Really Want).”


Tara’s Answer:

Remember that fear is, quite often, a signal that you are on a great track. It means you are stretching out of your comfort zone, risking failure or criticism. It means you are really doing something.

Remember that you are hardwired to have irrational fears. Over tens of thousands of years, our brains evolved to be highly sensitive to any possible danger, because in the wilderness, perceiving any possible threat was crucial for survival. Now hear you are, safe on your couch, and your brain’s danger alert system is misfiring all the time. Being aware of the biology and history at play in our fear can help us take it less seriously.

There are lots of simple tools for quieting fear. Use them. Three of my favorites are:

  • Follow your fear through to the endgame. Whatever worst-case scenario you are freaking out about, ask yourself, “If that happened, then what would I do? How would I cope?” You’ll find a surprising calm, and resourcefulness within when you follow your fears to the endgame.
  • Act! I love Angeles Arrien’s words, “action absorbs anxiety.” If needed, use supports like a buddy, a coach, a deadline, an incentive to get over fear paralysis and into action. Acting reduces fear.
  • Spiritual practice. Feeling loved reduces fear. Feeling strong reduces fear. Call upon a power greater than yourself, do lovingkindness meditation, pray, or do an activity like hiking or painting that connects you to love and strength.

My heart-felt thanks to all the interviewees! I come away from reading your thoughts feeling soothed and more courageous, both. Thank you for your nourishing words here, and for the work you do every day to help people live beyond fear. Our world is so much better for it!!

This month’s theme at Trust Tending is starting new things (description here). Click here to view past themes and to see a working list of themes to come.
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9 comments   |   Filed in: Interviews   |   Tags: ,   |  


  1. Thanks for this post, Kristin! All are amazing coaches with wonderful advice. Of all the advice,tho, I like this the best: ‘action absorbs anxiety.’ I’ve found that is true for me although I’ve never expressed it quite that way. When I feel anxious and vaguely restless about projects, issues,goals, whatever, I find if I do something that requires a bit of activity on my part it seems to shift/change the energy. It might be as simple as getting up and playing a CD in a different music style than I’m currently listening to. Or I might simply put everything away and go for a walk. The absolute worst thing for me to do is to turn on the TV and let my mind be numbed! Make the body move a bit, tap your toes to a different beat, engage your mind is something else…all help me diffuse anxiety and get back on track.

    Comment by Evelyn — April 26, 2011 @ 12:10 am
  2. Thanks for both these posts, Kristin! Great idea, great information, wonderful people!

    Just like you….

    Comment by Christa — April 26, 2011 @ 4:03 am
  3. Evalyn, LOVE your reflection here! The do-ability of it is wonderful! – you’re not saying “go take a leap off an imagined cliff”…you’re saying “play a different CD; take a walk; etc.”. LOVE that!! Thank you!

    Christa, thank YOU too!! :)

    Comment by Kristin — April 26, 2011 @ 6:34 am
  4. Thank you for sharing this collection of wonderful coaches, Kristin. I’m eager to read more about them and so appreciate their willingness to share here!

    Comment by JC — April 26, 2011 @ 12:56 pm
  5. JC, I so appreciate them too! Glad you enjoyed meeting them!

    Comment by Kristin — April 26, 2011 @ 1:40 pm
  6. Thanks so much Kristin, this really helped me today. Six months ago I barely knew what life coaching was, but when I began working with a coach my life started to turn around in amazing ways. Good coaches are such a blessing in this crazy world!

    Your site here is beautiful. Love the artwork and layout. :) So glad to have found you!

    Comment by Laurie — April 26, 2011 @ 2:53 pm
  7. Laurie, so glad to meet you! And yes, isn’t it so strange how whole *worlds* of help and ideas are out there that we haven’t even heard of?? Good coaches are definitely a light in our world!

    Comment by Kristin — April 26, 2011 @ 5:30 pm
  8. Thanks for sharing advice from all these great women. It’s great to know that fear is normal and it is a sign that things are happening.

    Comment by Jill — April 27, 2011 @ 2:19 am
  9. Jill, in my household we often have a toast at dinner time whenever there’s something to celebrate, and your comment here has me daydreaming about toasting fear! Wouldn’t that be a neat way to use its energy in a positive way? In effect, to say, “Yay me! I’m moving toward something I care about!”

    Comment by Kristin — April 27, 2011 @ 6:40 am

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