Facing Fear, Finding Your Courage


Facing Fear, Finding Your Courage 

February 26, 2019 


I have been doing a lot of reflection on Courage, these past few weeks. Finding Your Courage is inspired by family, friends, colleagues and clients in their everyday acts of courage. I want to honor their struggle – our collective struggle.

Change is a constant. Sometimes change happens to us. Sometimes we make change happen. Either way, change can evoke fear or courage, or both. Courage really starts with being aware of what we fear – and taking action anyway.  

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the resistance to fear and the mastery of fear, as Mark Twain so pungently observes.  

So let’s get practical now. We all want to be courageous. We have role models for courage in films and books and cartoons. And what does everyday courage really mean? What does everyday courage really look like?

Recently, I came across an article by Melanie Greenberg which helps us think about these questions. In her article, “The Six Attributes of Courage: Quotes and exercises to help you be your best and bravest self,” she provides a rich construct for the ways in which we demonstrate courage. This can help us understand and frame what courage means to us and how we demonstrate courage in our everyday lives. According to Dr. Greenberg, the six attributes of courage are: 

  1. Feeling Fear Yet Choosing to Act.
  2. Following Your Heart.
  3. Persevering in the Face of Adversity.
  4. Standing Up for What is Right.
  5. Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar.
  6. Facing Suffering With Dignity or Faith.

I wanted to share this article for a couple of reasons.1[https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201208/the-six-attributes-courage?eml.] First of all, she has a great compilation of quotes for each attribute of courage – and I love the power of words. Second, and most importantly, this construct brings out how change, fear, and courage are all inextricably intertwined:

  • Each attribute of courage is about how change happens --- to us or by us.
  • Each attribute of courage is about facing your fears.
  • Each attribute of courage is about taking action, in spite of your fear.

I invite you to take a few moments and reflect on your life, the lives of your loved ones and associates. All of us have had many of these opportunities to demonstrate courage.  

Life is challenging. The sudden loss of a loved one. A life turned upside down. Minor surgeries. Major surgeries. Life-threatening health issues. A dream that is calling you, when others are saying, “No way.” A mother who now needs the 24/7 care of an assisted living facility. Chronic and debilitating pain caused by previous accidents. Lay-offs, some temporary, some permanent, causing financial and food crises. Retirement, causing us to ask, “what’s next?’  New business ventures. New adventures. New babies – maybe even triplets. The list of life challenges goes on and on.

All our experiences are conditioning us to be courageous – to learn from our past and from others – and to become even more courageous the next time. It is called Life.

I trust in these few moments you will have recognized the courage that is deep inside of you. It is there in all of us.

Now, let’s switch from reflection to looking ahead, taking action and conditioning ourselves to have the grace and courage we will need to be our most courageous self, the next time we are called.  

What are the questions we need to ask ourselves, to challenge us, to motivate us. and to move forward? I will take a page from Brendon Burchard’s best seller, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, to be precise, page 288. Brendon closes the chapter, “High Performance Habit # 6: Demonstrate Courage” with these questions:

  •  What in my personal life have I avoided doing, which might involve hardship but just might improve my family’s life forever?
  • What could I do at work that would require stepping out on a limb but would also truly change things for the better and help people?
  • What decision could I make that would demonstrate a moral commitment to something higher than myself?
  • How could I bring myself to face a situation that usually makes me nervous or anxious?
  • What change could I make that scares me but will help someone I love?
  • What good thing could I walk away from to advance my life?
  • What have I wanted to say to those close to me, and when and how will I courageously declare the truth?
  • Who needs me, and who will I fight for the rest of this year?

These are deep questions. I invite you to print out these questions and ask them, from time-to-time – of yourself or someone you are mentoring. See how your answers change.

Your answers are one indication of how you live each day. How you live each day becomes how you live your life.  

Courage is one of my favorites in the series of 12 meetings in the Certified High Performance Coaching program, for several reasons. Courage is foundational to all of the high performance habits. It is highly correlated with all the other habits of high performance -- clarity, energy, necessity, productivity and influence. That is a fact – more than simply my opinion.

Dig deeply into what you fear. If you have no fear, then what is it holding you back? This is usually a good start.

As a Certified High Performance Coach, I work with you on Courage. This is part of a program which includes 12 meetings, covering each of the six habits of high performers and then goes deeper into the Pillars of High Performance -- Mastery of  Psychology, Physiology, Productivity, Persuasion, Presence and Purpose. A hallmark of this program is that we, the coaches, ask questions which you don’t often take the time to ask yourself.

You may want to delve further by reading Habits of High Performers. Terrific! It is a highly informative and a worth-while read. At the same time, would you rather read someone else’s story – or write your own story, working with a coach, like me?  

I am inspired by the courage I see and feel all around me. If you are still with me – I know you are courageous. You must be a high performer. Now, what is your next level?

I honor your struggle.


 Till next time, 




May you be happy now and always, Alison




  1. Melanie Greenberg, PhD., “The Six Attributes of Courage: Quotes and exercises to help you be your best and bravest self” , posted August 23, 2012, Psychology Today.
  2. Brendon Burchard, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that Way, Hay House, 2017.


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