Courage Is Acting In Spite of Fear
“Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.”
― Anthony Robbins
I grew more in the eight years as a single mother than I did at any time in my earlier life. It was also a time when I felt the most vulnerable. There were so many things that I had not done before such as buying a car, a home and starting a new career that would have me in the public eye.
My first PR job included being a spokesperson for a hospital, which meant being in the news media often. A friend of mine once told me, “If you can do PR for a hospital, you can do anything.” Boy was she right. I was pulled into the ER for shocking emergencies, and I never knew when the news media would show up.
How did I deal with my fear? I faced my fear head on and learned everything I could about media relations. I turned my fear into a strength. I read everything I could get my hands on. I practiced. I became good at it. My counterpart at the large hospital told me that I always sounded articulate. Later I hired a media coach, and had him coach the executives of the hospital. I turned my fear and vulnerability into a strength.
In Debbie Ford’s book, Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence, she says, “ Every time we make a choice based in fear, we teach our minds to believe that we are helpless, hopeless, and powerless—three emotional states that leave us feeling like the victim. What do we need to be confident, to stand in all our strength, and to feel great about ourselves? We need to rebuild our confidence. And we must begin by improving our self-esteem.”
I gained more self-confidence during those eight years than ever before. I faced my fears head on and slowly learned to expand my comfort zone by doing new things. Yes I was afraid and vulnerable, but I kept going because I wanted more in my life.
The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means heart. I love that I have learned to be courageous. This is what I encourage my clients to do – take inspired action to become courageous. Learn to see yourself as resilient.
You can’t connect the dots of your life going forward but you sure can looking back. That is where you see the threads of courage, strength and resilience. When you see how much you’ve grown and where you’ve come from, it’s fuel to stretch your comfort zone even further. I know this for sure.
Joseph Campbell’s quote says it all for me, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about, and that’s what these clues help us to find within ourselves.”
How to Turn Fear Into Courage
- Step out of your comfort zone and do one thing new each week. This is one way to live a meaningful life. Ask yourself – what is one thing I’ve longed to do but haven’t tried yet? Do it – book it on your calendar and bring a friend. This is how I got my first Brazilian wax. My friend asked me to go along with her, and I tried it.
- Learn everything you can about what you are afraid of doing and take action.This is a key step in my book. Fear can make something so much bigger by thinking about it. My life is so much richer (in terms of meaning not dollars;) because I have gone after the quest of adventures and experiences.
- Make a list of your defining moments in your life in terms of when were you afraid but you went ahead and did it. Look for the times when you are most proud of yourself for doing something that you wanted to do. If you allow your mind to be in charge and you give in to the fear and self-talk, the wagon trail is circling and you are living a small life. Is that what you want?
- What story do you tell yourself that reinforces your fear? Do you tell others you are a fearful person? Do you tell them a story about how scary it is to do XYZ? If so, you are reinforcing the fear in your head. Decide not to put yourself in that category. Each moment is a time to start fresh. Tell yourself that you are a courageous person. Practice courage daily in small ways. Where the mind goes, the body follows.
Where and when have you practiced acts of courage in your life? Have they made you a stronger person?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.