Releasing Fears, Uncovering Courage


This is a guest post by Melissa Heisler.  She is a Stress Reduction Expert.  She is also the host of the Empowerment Show weekly podcast.  You can find and follow her on her It's My Life, Inc. website or at @ItsMyLifeInc on Twitter.


What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!” – Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz


Image courtesy of Tiverylucky /

I remember one day during college walking the quad with the theatre faculty.  We were coming back from an event with the dean.  Professor Ludwig mentioned in passing, “I think we should start talking about having a student direct a main stage play.”  Without a thought I said, “I’ll do it.  Let me be the first.”  Pretty gutsy, huh?  Think it took much courage?   

I did not think about it.  I did not talk myself into having the strength to respond.  I did not spend days justifying why they should allow a student to direct and why that student should be me.  I did not summon courage from the mountain tops. Directing this play was what I was meant to do.  I was ready in my theatrical skills.  I was ready in my ability to manage others.  I had seven years of preparation for this moment.  It was my dream.  It did not take courage.  All it took was me getting out of my own way.

Merriam-Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”  Courage is the ability to look past fear and do what is right.  Courage is to continue on without focusing on the obstacles.  Courage is not something we manufacture then use.  True courage is a state created by releasing our self-created fears.

Fear is a verb, the action of being afraid.  Afraid is to be “filled with concern or regret over an unwanted situation.”   To be afraid is to feel concerned about the situation.  Being afraid is an adjective.  It is a description of how we are feeling. Moreover,  feelings can be changed.  To embody courage one simply needs to remove the feeling of fear so they can act.

When it comes to your dreams what fears have you put in the way?  What are your concerns about reaching your dreams? What do you think will or won’t happen?  What are you afraid will happen if you take a step toward your dream?  Make a list.

Now look at that list.  For each item note if your fear is 100% true provable in court.  For each item that can be proven, mark it as OBSTACLE.  For each item that is not provable, mark it as FEAR.

For each FEAR, write down three reasons why the opposite could be true or three examples of how this fear was not true in the past or is not true now.

For each OBSTACLE, write down three action steps you can use to overcome the obstacle.


Here is an example:

If I ask for a raise, I will be fired.  FEAR.  Susie just asked for a raise and was not fired.  I may not get a raise, but asking is no grounds for termination.  I will not get a raise if I do not ask.  

I want to move into the project manager position, but I do not have the skills.  OBSTACLE.  I can reach out to Jane, who is currently in the position and see what she recommendations to make a change.  I can tell my boss about my desire and create a plan to improve my project management skills in my current position. I can take the Project Management Certification courses.      

Use this process to identify and work through true obstacles and release the fears holding you back.  And in no time, you will find you have the courage to make your dreams come true.


Question: Anything holding you back?

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