6 Ways to Face Fear and Create Courage

I think we create courage only after we’ve been intimate with fear.

Have you ever felt fear?

I’ll bet you have.

CourageDoesNotAlwaysRoarIt can come from many directions: fear for the safety of our loved ones, fear of loss (job, spouse, health, home, reputation), fear of success or failure, fear of a change we’re unprepared for.

I don’t see myself as a courageous person. I just try to put one foot in front of the other and move forward in a positive direction. I try to do what needs to be done.

But there have been times, let me tell you, when I’ve been frozen in fear. I had to work hard to find the courage to take that next step. I discovered a few strategies that helped me pull through – some of them I’m using right now as we rebuild after the fire.

Maybe these ideas will help you too:

1. Consider the alternative. What are the other options available to you? Giving up and letting someone else carry the ball is one. Retreating back to your safe zone is another. Do either of those choices sound attractive? Will you be happy with yourself if you allow it to happen? Will it improve your condition or that of the people you care about?

2. Look to someone you admire. They’ve been through it. They haven’t gotten to where they are now without some sort of struggle. I guarantee it. Maybe it’s time you have a heart-to-heart talk with them. See if they’ll describe the tough times and how they survived. They probably won’t say anything you haven’t heard before, but just hearing their story may encourage you. If they can do it, you can muddle through too.

3. Imagine yourself wading through the mess and reaching one small goal. Taken alone it might not seem like much, but in looking back, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve gotten through. Visioning is powerful. The ability to see ourselves succeeding builds self-confidence and helps us muster up the courage to take that first step.

4. Document your accomplishments. I keep a “Breadcrumbs Book” where I’ve listed all the milestones from this past year. It helps when I’m tempted to let myself get overwhelmed at what still lies ahead. I can look back in my book and see how progress unfolded.

5. Rally the troops. There are more people rooting for you than you can imagine. Reach out to a few of your best advocates, closest family and friends. Ask them for help or just a listening ear when you need it. Sometimes, just talking it through is enough to relieve some pressure and get a few new ideas on how to cope. Holding it all inside won’t do you any good.

6. Value the pluses of patience. When we lost the house, advisers said, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I didn’t really understand the depth of that wisdom when I first heard it. But I know now that patience has been one of the biggest benefits of facing fear. Solutions don’t come quickly. I’ve had to learn to trust in the process and God to help us get to the other side.

I’m not blowing smoke at you. These past few years have been the hardest of my life. I’ve had to accept my challenges, consciously choose a positive path and try to create something good from each one of them. I believe that making the decision to improve your condition, even in some small way, is the best way to face fear.

Courage is indeed the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow.”

How have you persevered? What’s helped you put one foot in front of the other? Please share your suggestions in comments below.

Comments

  1. Really enjoyed this blog. Excellent points and advice.

    • Laura Benjamin says:

      Thanks Audrey. I’m glad it was helpful. I’m trying to turn my “trying times” into something of value for others. I appreciate your comment.

  2. Thanks for sharing Laura. I always enjoy reading your blog posts. The picture from your last post was shocking.

    I’m looking forward to visiting the new cabin and I’m anticipating that the hollyhocks will bloom again.

    I so agree with the power of patience. It’s a very difficult virtue to develop and most of us don’t develop it by choice. It just some how finds us as we age.

    • Laura Benjamin says:

      I appreciate your kind words, Liz. You’ve always been a great supporter and that means a lot. Can’t wait to have you see the new “cabin”!

  3. Courage is critical to believe in yourself. It is tied closely to confidence. Everyone has something to offer, and each person carries their own special talents. Courage does indeed start with small steps. Go for it! Remember you are always ready to try something. The time is now. Life is short. Nobody ever started out as the expert in something. They got there by focusing, taking small steps, and perseverance. Holding back and defeating oneself is no way forward. Rest, good food, faith and exercise help too. They fuel courage.

    • Laura Benjamin says:

      Words of wisdom, for sure, Eric! Thank you for your comment. I especially like the part about rest, good food, faith and exercise. We need to fortify ourselves if we are to turn those small steps into big leaps!