Sherri Fella: Make fear, excitement your friends to help you grow

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sherri fellaMy littlest niece is learning how to walk. She takes a few steps, falls, gets back up and goes a little farther. My youngest nephew is doing the same. He learned to walk 16 years ago, but due to a car accident over the holidays, he is learning to walk in a different way. As their aunt, I wish I could help them go a little faster with less pain, and yet I know even if I could do those things, I would take away a big part of their learning. It isn’t my work to do—it is theirs.

My work in 2019 is to learn to walk a different way as well. New learning and insights from this past year will cause me to approach much about 2019 very differently. Several surprises at the end of the year—both professional and personal, both positive and not so much—have combined to create an opportunity for change and infinite possibilities in 2019.

I am excited and scared about all of it. Like my niece and nephew, I have lots of support and lots of guidance around me. I know that, even with that circle to cheer me on, the path is mine to walk. The work is mine to do. Both internally and externally.

Life has this beautiful forcing function that I usually appreciate only after it is done forcing whatever change it thinks I need. While the change is upon me, it doesn’t feel so great. I am a natural learner at heart so I can lean deeply into my curiosity to find excitement and energy for change, and I am also human and feel as much fear as I do excitement in times of change.

The fear for me isn’t always from the same source. Sometimes it is fear of failure. Sometimes it is fear of disappointing someone. Sometimes it is fear of picking the wrong choice for me. Whatever the fear, it is there. And now in my fifth decade on this planet, I have learned to make friends with that fear. To know that, when it is there, in whatever form, I am on the right path. That fear is a data point that change is ahead and with change comes learning. And learning is always a step forward.

Whether you are a 1-year-old learning to walk for the first time, a 17-year-old learning to walk through pain, or a 50-year-old learning to walk through change, every step forward matters. And in 2019, I want to be even more intentional about every step. Not cautious. Intentional.

My intention for 2019 is to embrace change and challenge and to dive deep into my development and into differences that create deep learning opportunities. And I want to embrace and dive with my heart wide open and my head present.

I know I will learn externally from the cohorts of advanced women leaders and women business owners, from all-male executive teams from around the world, and from countless executive coaching clients—each with their own unique learning edges and differences. Immersive experiences like these never fail to teach me the complexities that come with our differences, and the huge benefits that result if we can just be still and listen to one another. Listening so deeply that the other person can shift our view, perspective and stance and broaden our learning.

I have chosen to dive deeply into my own development through experiences like 1440 Multiversity, Master Coaching Supervision, The International Women’s Summit, and the Dare to Lead Facilitator Certification. These, coupled with launching a blog and a podcast, will all stretch me beyond my current experience.

Am I excited? Hell yes. Am I scared? Hell yes. Will I learn? Absolutely. And yes my friends, “excitement” and “fear” are both fully present for the ride and will be there for every step forward. And backward.

Every step will matter. Every step is an opportunity to learn and to celebrate. It is an opportunity to fall and get back up again. First the fear, then the growth. That’s my path. That’s my work. And I cannot wait to see what emerges.•


Fella is a certified executive coach and co-founder of Bloombase LLC. She can be reached at

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