Power Tool: Equanimity vs. Apprehension

Bret Perko_Coaching_ToolA Coaching Power Tool Created by Bret Perko

The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything:  the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself. – Bill Murray

Most people would probably agree with Mr. Murray’s advice on relaxing your way to higher performance.  There is only one problem, and it’s a big one.  The majority of people are plagued by constant worry and anxiety about what might go wrong in life.

  • What if I lose my job?
  • What if I get sick?
  • What if my spouse leaves me?
  • What if I don’t get the promotion?
  • What if I don’t make good grades in school?

And on and on and on. Many find it almost impossible to truly relax, much less to stay that way for any length of time.


The anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.

Many clients come to coaching with the apprehension around many aspects of life, and they desperately seek relief. The coach knows it is impossible to eliminate apprehension from one’s life.  There will always be some degree of stress over a deadline at work.  There will always be some worry while we wait to get our test results back from the doctor.  Some anxiety will be present when we give an important presentation.  However, undue apprehension won’t help us meet the deadline, or ensure good test results, or enable us to nail our presentation.  Also, apprehension over a prolonged time leads to mental, emotional, and physical health issues.

What might be possible if the client could bring more relaxation to their life and work?  What if the client could shift from the lens of apprehension to one of more positivity about the future and what might happen?


Mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.

Equanimity has been described as a “smoothness” toward one’s view of life.  Equanimity evokes the image of the sage perspective.  Someone who can see the churning waters, but not get caught up in the waves of anxiety.  Someone who can stay above the fray, and not worry about, or fear, the future.

When the client can shift from a state of apprehension to one of equanimity, they will see their situation with more clarity.  They will gain confidence in their ability to handle whatever they are dealing with.  They will have a more balanced view of their circumstances and how to deal with them.

Coaching Application

Partner with your client to help them uncover what underlying beliefs are fueling the negative stories they are telling themselves.  Help your client see the possibility that their apprehension has become a habitual reaction to many situations.  Work with your client to help them put space between an event that might trigger fear or anxiety and their response to that event.

  • What might be causing you to judge this situation as bad?
  • What might be triggering the fear or anxiety?
  • What might be another way to look at this situation?
  • When you face a situation that causes apprehension, what might be another way to initially react?
  • What might you do to give yourself space before responding to a potential trigger?

Equanimity is not about gaining control.  We have little control over most aspects of life.  Rather, equanimity is about viewing whatever happens, and whatever we think might happen, with calmness and smoothness.


  • What coaching situations may cause you to feel apprehension?
  • What might you do before a coaching session to help you get into a state of equanimity?

Original source: https://coachcampus.com/coach-portfolios/power-tools/bret-perko-equanimity-vs-apprehension/

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