Anna Maria Locke

Using coaching as activism ...and facing my own white privilege

2017Anna Locke

I need to share something with you.

I don’t even know where to start so I’ll start from where I’m at right now.

I pride myself on "keeping it real" and sharing posts straight from the heart, in the messy trenches of life, and I've written lots of vulnerable posts that have stretched my comfort zone but this one makes me feel the most uncomfortable and is probably the hardest post I’ve ever written because in writing it I’m claiming my privilege and the fact that even though I want to change the world, I have an extremely limited, sheltered and narrow personal experience of the world.

At the same time, I can’t not write it, so here we go! Let’s get uncomfy together.

This is not necessarily a response to what happened in Charlottesville this week, although that definitely was a trigger. It’s a response to everything that’s happened not just in the last year, but my life up to this point, and our place in the bigger trajectory of human history.

I'm struggling to figure out what to say. I don't want to be one of those white female coaches who hides inside my privilege spouting platitudes like "choose love over fear!" or “good vibes only!”

I also don’t want to post random guilt-driven responses to the latest tragedy du jour in this carousel of horror and fear we’ve been riding just to make sure everyone on Facebook knows I’m a good person.

I refuse to stay silent BUT I don’t want to simply contribute to the noise.

I want my words and actions to feel aligned, empowered, and from my heart.

So here’s my heart today.

I have to start by releasing the elephant in the room: white privilege.

I'm a straight highly educated middle class white woman. We can't use labels to build walls between each other, but we also can't just ignore them and pretend everything is ok.

To me, white privilege means that I get to choose when and where to engage in the conversation and debate around social justice, race, inequality, etc. And I can’t lie. I LOVE reaping the benefits of my white privilege. I take it for granted. I surround myself with people who look like me, act like me, set goals like me, and were raised like me.


I know that's the question we're all asking ourselves.

When I get stuck in the labels, it’s easy to feel helpless, like my words and actions and story don’t count because compared to most people, I’ve had a sheltered and privileged life.

I’m not into protests or marches or signing petitions or calling my representatives or being on the front lines or being a social worker or volunteering at soup kitchens or the normal forms of activism. It’s not that I WON’T participate in these things, but as a sensitive introvert they just don’t feel like “me.” I feel guilty about this, like I’m a bad person...but honestly if I want to truly make a change I have to be that change on my own terms because I truly believe that the energy we bring to what we do matters just as much as the action itself.

But I’m also a woman living in a world where patriarchy has been the norm for thousands of years, and I feel like I was born at this time for a reason.

I strongly believe that life coaching is my ministry, my personal form of activism.

You can’t spread love until you love yourself, and I'm passionate about empowering other women to heal themselves from the inside out so they can feel whole and complete, because when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

And as we're healing ourselves we also have to shine our light into the world and recognize we’re all part of a bigger collective movement.

Three and a half years ago, I was called to coaching.

The door randomly happened to open through Beachbody, but underneath the health and fitness I was attracted to something deeper and bigger that I didn't even understand at the time.

My sister, uncle, and mother in law were called into ministry so I've heard a lot of ministers talk about what it was like to hear their "call" and I knew exactly what they were talking about because I felt it too.

It's this deep, spiritual and visceral compulsion that you can't NOT follow because it feels so right, even if you have no idea where it’s leading.

It made everything in my life start to click. It gave me a sense of purpose and validation.

Over the last 3.5 years I've worked with hundreds of women, have deepened my own personal development, became a life coach, and have been exploring my personal faith and spirituality.

I’ve immersed myself in learning about the rising feminine energy that's occurring in our world even as the darkness seems overpowering (because light and dark go together and the more powerful one is, so will the other be), and it's all starting to make more sense.

I’m starting to realize why I’m here, and why I’m doing this work.

And it freaking terrifies me. I'm literally shaking writing this.

I'm also on my period, which means physically my hormones are at their lowest, I have the most connection between my left/right brain (and masculine/feminine energy), and I have a level of detached unemotional clarity as I view my life and purpose in this world.

So these words are not an emotional rant, but are coming from my deepest heart.

I can't tell where my work will lead me, but I know for a fact I'm here .... we are here ... to serve a bigger purpose.

We're part of a collective movement of female empowerment that is rising to dismantle the patriarchy that’s controlled us all for the past thousands of years, to bring more balance and peace to the world.

I see the ideal future as a world where people of all genders, identities, races, cultures, and belief systems are integrated and regarded as equal.

Yeah this is prob unrealistic because our humanity dooms us to war and power struggles, but we can still elevate our collective consciousness.

And I see all the chaos and horrible stuff happening not as a sign that the world is going to shit, but as a sign that deep shifts are happening. As we refuse to stay silent, as we refuse to accept and perpetuate the status quo of inequality, the power structures that have been holding this inequality in place are naturally going to rise up and stage a final battle.

It might get worse before it gets better, but it’s not going to last.

And in the meantime, we have to be strong and endure and face ourselves where we stand.

And it's so so so so so so freaking important that I don’t let my white privilege keep me silent and small in in warm fuzzy bubble. I hate negativity and politics but I can't keep ignoring the realities that are happening in our world to "protect my energy.”

Yes, I have a sheltered one sided perspective, but don't we all? We ALL need to share our stories.

What I can do

I'm going to continue to explore my own thoughts and feelings on my mission and purpose, and how I can share my truth and use coaching as a platform for activism.

I’m going to keep messing up and falling short and failing over and over, but we have to keep going even when we feel scared and small and guilty.

I’m going to keep sharing my TRUTH on social media, instead of hiding inside my excuses and fears and comfort zone.

I’m going to continue to figure out what I believe, what I stand for, and then share that from a place of alignment and empowerment.

I can keep talking about all of this hard stuff.

I will keep exploring my personal beliefs and opening my eyes to hearing stories and experiences of other people who are different from me.

I will engage with the homeless people on the street instead of avoiding eye contact and feeling ashamed.

I will reach out to say hi to new people at church who are not white 30 somethings.

I'll continue to protect my energy and putting my self care first, but also staying engaged with what’s happening in the world.

I will commit to healing myself so I can be a source of positivity and light in my work and online.

My mom always says "to whom much is given, much is expected" and I have been given so much.

But for the first time I can take advantage of that instead of feeling guilty, powerless, and overwhelmed.

Through coaching I have a platform I can use to create a ripple of positive change while still honoring my own self care first, and I get to teach other women how to do the same.

If all of this triggers you or makes you feel uncomfortable, GOOD.

Let's lean into the discomfort and turn it into something beautiful, even if it's messy and imperfect.

Let’s force ourselves to engage with our privilege, go out of our comfort zone, amd see everyone with an open heart regardless of their race//gender identity//class//economic status//nationality.

Let's spread COMPASSION and love, beginning with the relationship we have with ourselves.

xo Anna

p.s. If you’re also a white woman in the coaching world, here is a great article to read if you've been feeling all the feels and are wondering what to do.

photo by Artistrie Co

What I learned from "The Art of Fear" (book review!)

2017Anna Locke

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

You’ve heard that quote, right?

It sounds inspiring, but what if your dreams are TOO big?

What if they scare you so much that you’re paralyzed with so much overwhelm and fear that you can’t take action to actually achieve them?

To an extent, that’s what’s been happening with my life over the last couple of years.

This post is half book review, half stream-of-conscious braindump of some thoughts and feelings that have been on my heart lately.

I’ve become an expert at dreaming, goal setting, visioning, planning, strategizing, and envisioning a crazy amazing and limitless future for myself.

But the problem is that I’m too good at dreaming, I always have been. My dreams have been an escape from reality.

Deep down it's hard for me to believe that I'm good enough or worthy of my dreams, so I procrastinate and keep myself in my comfort zone by gaining more education and training, making plans, and making sure that my next dream is JUST out of reach so I can always have something to work towards without actually giving myself permission to go for it and dive into the discomfort of taking emotional risks and facing my fears (of rejection, success, going out of my comfort zone).

Change is hard, even when it's good change!

Will I even like or recognize who I am once I arrive at where I want to be?

Will I like what I find?

Will I like the person I become?

Will other people like me?

Will I lose my friends or family…will they accept me if I change and grow?

I know that they accept me for who I am right now, so that must be good enough, right? But deep down I still want more. I know I’m made for more. I am not made to play small, to hide my gifts and talents, to limit myself and my potential by not “going for it.”

I want to listen to my HEART, not my head. But I have listened to my head my entire life, so I’m not really sure I can 100% trust my heart and intuition. That I can trust myself!

That’s why I was intrigued by this book, The Art of Fear.

Tagline: "Why conquering fear won't work and what to do instead."

YES PLEASE! Teach me the ways!

If I really want to create the life coaching business of my dreams, buy a house, raise kids, move somewhere with mountains, share my art with the world, write a book, start a charitable foundation with Ben (my ultimate dream is to be a philanthropist! Well, my real ultimate dream is to be the princess of a small and wealthy nation buttttt I already screwed that up by not being born or marrying into royalty, oops), I need to start taking action now.

Even though I am so far away from where I want to be and it’s messy and uncomfortable and awkward. I hate feeling like a beginner. I love control. I love knowing what I’m doing, feeling competent, and having a level of success underneath me. But it’s a catch 22because in order to gain the confidence I need to reach my dreams, I have to do the messy work NOW…

I’ve always been driven by fear. Not in a good way.

I am realizing that the fear never goes away (new levels, new devils!). So I am looking for new ways to deal with it.

I loved this book because it was a new perspective on how we hold ourselves back. The author, Kristen Ulmer, is a former extreme skier and "fear addict" who now teaches people the tools to build a healthy relationship with this complex emotion.

She doesn’t tell you how to overcome your fears, punch fear in the face, feel the fear and do it anyway...which was refreshing to me because I know that at least personally, fighting my fear just makes it more aggressive and that is what leads to panic attacks, no thanks!

I need a gentler approach.

I wanted to learn how to make fear my friend instead of my worst enemy that holds me back.

I know that personally, anxiety (for me) is generally unused creative energy. When I get caught in my head, I start overthinking and under-acting. Once I get into action, no matter what I’m doing the anxiety and fear goes away because my brain feels that I am doing something

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher to review with this post, but I feel like it was a sign from God because I NEEDED to read this book. It came at a perfect time.


  • Anyone who is tired of being controlled by their fear (or any other manifestation: anxiety, stress, overwhelm, anger, over-thinking, etc) and is ready to get emotionally uncomfortable and do the hard work to build a new relationship with themselves. Because in order to reach our potential (in life, love, relationships, career, everything!), we have to love and accept ourselves including our “negative” sides and darker emotions.
  • Soul searchers who want to discover their purpose and potential as a complete and whole-hearted human being.
  • If you love Brene Brown, Jen Sincero, Martha Beck, and similar authors.
  • If you want to get out of your head.


1. Everything we know about fear is wrong.

Our relationship with fear is the most important relationship of our lives, because it's the relationship we have with ourselves. 

Fear itself isn't the problem -- it's how we react or interpret it. Fear is an emotional and physical response produced by what Ulmer calls our "lizard brain," our amygdala, our oldest part of our brain in terms of evolutionary history. Our Lizard Brain is constantly on the lookout for anything that might kill us, and it can't distinguish the level of the threat so it sees mortal danger everywhere! It communicates by sending physical sensations of discomfort (aka FEAR), which trigger our fight or flight instinct.

This in itself is fine, except that our "thinking mind" creates stories around the feelings our Lizard Brain is sending. Our thinking mind is that voice inside our heads, basically who we believe ourselves to be. It's the furthest thing from our body and intuition, but it creates stories that shape who we are and create our perception of ourselves and reality.

The thing is that there is really no such thing as "good" or "bad" emotions, but if an emotion feels uncomfortable, we label it as "bad" and then do anything to shut it down, avoid it, try to let it go, or overcome it. But it will never go away unless we allow ourselves to feel and experience it fully!

The good news is that when we allow ourselves to feel our emotions (good and bad), they usually run their course in 10-90 seconds and then we're on to the next feeling.

Therefore, if you aren't actually in physical danger, practice feeling into your fear/anxiety/overwhelm/anger/stress and see what happens!

I've been practicing this and it honestly works.

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and notice the sensations in your body and where fear is showing up. Breathe through it, notice what's happening, remember that you are safe, and allow it to tell you what it wants to say and then move on.

2. Repressed fear causes all sorts of issues.

Because feeling our uncomfy feels is so hard, we’re pretty much all struggling with repressed fear.

Judging yourself or other people, blame, having an overactive crazy mind, not being able to sleep, stress and anxiety, mental or mood disorders, burnout, physical problems, feelings of unworthiness, all of these and pretty much any emotional hang-up comes from fear.

Suffering = discomfort x resistance

It’s not the discomfort itself that’s causing suffering, but our resistance to feeling the discomfort.

So even though it sounds counterproductive, accepting the discomfort and leaning into your fear is the only way to truly release it.

3. How to build a new relationship with fear and yourself

This was my favorite section of the book. All is not lost!

To build a healthy relationship with fear, it’s not about accepting our fear (because that leads to passivity), but about honoring it. Listen to what it is telling you, because it just wants to keep you safe.

Stop vilifying your inner critic and think of her like your no-BS bodyguard or best friend.

Let the fear give you the message, and then instead of immediately reacting or running away, respond wisely.

Do you feel anxious about a big presentation or interview at work? It’s ok – your fear just wants you to be prepared and do your best. So instead of getting in your head, channel that anxiety into focused energy so you deliver your presentation with an edge.

Because at the end of the day, that’s all that fear is. Energy.

If we use it to motivate us instead of paralyze us, we’ll go farther than we ever thought possible.

I have so many more thoughts on this book and this subject in general, but I’m going to let it all marinate and practice on myself.

That’s another important thing to remember: When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and expand, we’re going to then contract a little bit in response. So if you ever have a “vulnerability hangover” after a big day, don’t freak out, just give yourself time to grow into the new and bigger version of yourself that you’re becoming.

You are stronger than you think!

xo Anna

Wanna chat more about this topic? I’d love to jam with you! Click here to send me a note.

Grab a copy of The Art of Fear here!

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About The Art of Fear

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (June 13, 2017)

A revolutionary guide to acknowledging fear and developing the tools we need to build a healthy relationship with this confusing emotionand use it as a positive force in our lives.

We all feel fear. Yet we are often taught to ignore it, overcome it, push past it. But to what benefit?  This is the essential question that guides Kristen Ulmer’s remarkable exploration of our most misunderstood emotion in The Art of Fear.

Once recognized as the best extreme skier in the world (an honor she held for twelve years), Ulmer knows fear well. In this conversation-changing book, she argues that fear is not here to cause us problems—and that in fact, the only true issue we face with fear is our misguided reaction to it (not the fear itself).

Rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up, Ulmer starts by exploring why we’ve come to view it as a negative. From here, she unpacks fear and shows it to be just one of 10,000 voices that make up our reality, here to help us come alive alongside joy, love, and gratitude. Introducing a mindfulness tool called “Shift,” Ulmer teaches readers how to experience fear in a simpler, more authentic way, transforming our relationship with this emotion from that of a draining battle into one that’s in line with our true nature.

Influenced by Ulmer’s own complicated relationship with fear and her over 15 years as a mindset facilitator, The Art of Fear will reconstruct the way we react to and experience fear—empowering us to easily and permanently address the underlying cause of our fear-based problems, and setting us on course to live a happier, more expansive future.

Photo by Meaghan M. Golden

Photo by Meaghan M. Golden

About Kristen Ulmer

Kristen Ulmer is a facilitator who draws from her tenure as the best woman extreme skier in the world for twelve years and from thousands of hours facilitating clients on the subject of fear. Her work has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, Outside magazine, and many other publications. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Find out more about Kristen at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.


I was provided with a free copy of the book to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Mid-year update and goal review (plus a free workbook!)

2017Anna Locke

Well, here we are, well into July. 2017 is officially half over! This year is flying.

I feel like time is evaporating right in front of my eyes and if I let myself think about it late at night I start to freak out (aka last night) so I’m just trying to stay present and as grounded as possible and enjoy this season instead of trying to rush through to the next phase, because even though it's easier for me to always look at where I'm falling short or can be doing better, this season of life honestly rocks and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Or at least more accepting of who I am and who I'm becoming.

And it's important to celebrate what we can!

This is the time of year where the days and weeks start to blur together, in that busy/chill whirlwind. Ben is teaching summer school so our week days have been full of 12+ hour work days, hustle, froyo dates, and Netflix. Weekends are full of short getaways, relaxing at home, and doing our best to get out and enjoy summer in Chicago!

In terms of business, I’m not as far as I thought I’d be by now, but in terms of LIFE and my relationship with myself: I feel like a completely different person. Confident, excited, finding my groove.

Back in January I wrote “But I also know that I can do more and be more. I still feel like I've barely even scratched the surface of my own potential and have super huge visions and dreams for what I want to do and create.”

I made “open hearted” my word of the year and I’m still trying to embody that every day.

It's a strange season of life. Pre-kids, but post quarter life crisis.

I've done the big scary things like go to grad school, get married, move to the big city, survive unemployment, quit my job, start my own business, become a life coach, and stretch my comfort zone farther than I ever thought possible.

I'm no longer motivated or fueled by the desperate energy that comes when you feel like you aren't enough yet...when you know you have to climb onto the next rung of the ladder in order to feel like you've "made it."

I've done so much inner work to develop my self confidence and heal my insecurities, anxiety, and perfectionism, but at the same time I'm still learning what it's like to be on the other side as a (more or less) whole and mentally/emotionally healthy woman.

My mid-year update!

At the beginning of the year I decided to invest in a high-level business mastermind with a small group of other life and business coaches, which was the most money I’d ever spent on myself before outside of our wedding, but I’m so glad I did because I've gained so much.

  • Confidence in who I am and what I'm here on earth to do.
  • I feel like I am FINALLY exactly where I’m meant to be, instead of having that constant anxiety/FOMO feeling.

  • Connection with other inspiring and driven entrepreneurs who push and pull me to do scary things, and show me that it's ok to blaze my own trail. We're all safe. No one is gonna die if we share our truth.

  • Finally stepping out and establishing myself as a life coach for creative entrepreneurs who want to get out of fear and into flow.

  • Lotsssss of really great online business and marketing strategies that align with my values and vision! So fun.

  • Perspective. I know I've found my purpose and for the first time in my adult life can stop seeking. I'll always be learning, evolving, and growing, but I'm realizing that I'm in this for the rest of my life and there is absolutely no rush to do ALLTHETHINGS right now. I can take the deadlines and timelines off my goals and trust that if I feel aligned and just show up every day, everything will happen in the perfect timing.

  • Basically I want to be the coach and support system that I WISH I had 3 years ago, 2 years ago, when I was first getting started on my entrepreneur adventure.
  • I launched my first ever mini program, Fear & Flow! This was the most unexpectedly intense week, haha. Ironically given the content, it dredged up fears and insecurities I didn’t even know I had!


It’s so important to surround yourself with like minded people who can support and share your goals and dreams, especially during the phases where you're feeling extra vulnerable or testing your own boundaries.

Also include people who are a few steps ahead and will pull you!

I used to be intimidated by people who were older or more experienced than me but I’m learning how to take down my walls, see us as equals but just at different points of our journey.

Stop waiting on the sidelines and watching other people do the things you really want to do too. When you dive in, raise your own pedestal, and stop letting jealousy and fear hold you back, you'll become part of the conversation as an equal.


Read this book. Seriously. I'm going to share an entire post about it later this week, but it's completely changing my life.

Instead of letting fear (read: insecurities, doubt, anxiety) paralyze me, I'm learning how to frame these "negative" emotions in a neutral or even POSITIVE way and am turning my inner critic into my biggest cheerleader. She takes no shit, and I actually love her.


(because I've been lazy about keeping the blog updated)

  • I turned 30! Wow. It feels really great. Like I can stop striving and seeking and can just be ME.
  • I did the Ultimate Reset, a 21 day plant based cleanse, and learned a lot about my relationship with food and my body. Still a work in progress on that front.
  • I started a new health and wellness blog, Inspire Joy, as a place to share my fitness coaching business and went to Los Angeles by myself for a leadership conference!
  • In June I started running again and remembered why I love it so much. I had my dad make me a training plan for the Steamboat Classic, a 4 mile race in my home town over Father’s Day weekend. It had been a couple years since we ran and it was super fun (and humid) as usual!

To be completely honest, for the past few years my business has been my number one priority. I feel like I’m reaching a point where I’ve gained so much knowledge about online marketing, entrepreneurship, coaching, branding, ETC. that I can pause the incessant addiction for e-courses and learning and finally get to a place where I can TRUST MYSELF and the wisdom that is already inside of me.

The more I learn, the more I realize we have the answers inside of us all along!

I'm starting to feel like I can actually be a leader and do this thing. Create a thriving and abundant living by simply being myself and sharing what makes me happiest. Teaching women how to get out of their own way and do it too.


  • Travel!! Aside for a few weekend getaways and my trip to LA, this year has been relatively low key for me and I've been in hermit mode at home, but all that is about to change and I can't wait because I love traveling. This week I'm heading to New Orleans for our Beachbody coach summit, I'm going to TN/NC in August with Ben to visit his mom, Michigan in September to host a leadership retreat for my team, and Dallas in November for my 4th annual business conference, The Platinum Edge. 
  • Growing my life coaching business! There are so many ideas floating around my head. If you're interested in working together, book a free consult ASAP because my rates are only going up and I expect to be fully booked with a waitlist very soon!
  • Creating more freebies and e-books to share with you!
  • Sharing my creativity with the world! This has been on the back burner for a couple of years, but I am feeling the urge to start painting again.

I made this nursery art for my friend Deidre’s new baby Anna Pixley and it was SO FUN. I’m thinking of doing a whole alphabet and selling them as digital prints in the Etsy shop.

Let’s not even talk about my fabric stash…

  • Up-leveling like woah. No more hiding or playing small. I feel like the last six months have been preparing me for something big. I'm ready to step out and share everything I've learned with the world! :) Time to stop planning and start turning those visions into reality instead of being intimidated by myself, lol.

Exactly one year ago I wrote this post on growing pains as you move out of your comfort zone.

I’m realizing that the growing pains never go away, because if we’re constantly challenging ourselves to grow and expand into our potential, we’re always going to be finding new edges of our comfort zone.

But it’s like running! It always feels hard, but you get faster and stronger.

That’s where I’m at right now.

Stronger, more confident, more EXCITED than scared about what I’m creating and doing with my life.

The fear never goes away, but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. I know that I am so much stronger than my fear of failure/rejection/judgement.

Your mid-year review

I love writing and journaling, so here are some of my favorite prompts to get you started on your own mid-year review.

You can answer them in your journal or click here to download a pretty workbook to print out (and get monthly love bombs and updates from me)!

What were the biggest lessons you’ve learned this year so far?

How have you grown?

What have you accomplished or completed?

What projects are still in the works?

What or who are you grateful for?

What were your favorite memories?

What do you want to grow or improve upon?

Where do you want to be by the end of the year?

How do you want to feel?

What can you do in order to feel that way now?

And one last reminder. No matter where you are right now,





xo Anna