A Coaching Power Tool By Maria Elena Patella, Transitional Coach, ITALY
Fear vs. Courage Keeping in Perfect Balance
In twenty years, you will not be disappointed by the things you have done, but by those you have not done. So, drop your moorings, get out of safe harbor and let the wind blow your sails. Explore. Dream. Find out. (Mark Twain)
My attitude to be authentic and to dare has allowed me over the years to face numerous challenges by completing objectives that initially might seem out of my reach.
The phrase: ‘’You will have a good future” still resonates vividly and is powerful today as it had come to me at the age of about ten during a game of volleyball ” Big ” against ” Little ” to highlight the willingness to always give the best and never give up.
At the age of twenty, with extreme curiosity, I separate myself from my family and my homeland to view landscapes until then imagined or printed on schoolbooks from the window of a moving train and experience firsthand the overwhelming frenzy of the great city. I had tuned into the frequencies of freedom. With the lively eyes of a child in front of a scenario of apparent novelty, fear and courage traveled arm in arm, keeping in perfect balance.
And with courage I accept the changes, with determination I oppose conformism, to face a fear I also try adrenaline sports and theater courses, with joy I savor the freshness of nature and with happiness return the smiles on the other side of the world.
I continue to dare as life pinches me unexpectedly, finding myself faced with important choices like any other being in this world of ours.
Suddenly total darkness.
As a wolf I find myself in sheep’s clothing almost without even realizing it … I’m afraid.
I’m blocked. I am desperately looking for a way out: I feel small, needy, unable to do it alone, I expect someone to pull me out, someone to solve my problems.
And at the same time, I feel that whoever wants to help me forces me to be dependent.
I don’t want to, and this makes me helpless and even more fearful because in certain situations it is difficult to let go of the child, I used to be …
What happens when fear blocks?
Fear vs. Courage Explanation
Our fears are much more numerous than the concrete dangers we run. We suffer much more for our imagination than for reality (Seneca)
Fear, along with sadness, joy, disgust, and anger, is one of the fundamental emotions of living beings: it warns of dangers by aiming for survival.
Faced with a danger, our body produces adrenaline, a hormone that prepares us for action from both a physical and psychological point of view.
It is the amygdala, a small structure of the brain, which manages emotions that analyzes every situation we live in looking for a real or imaginary threat.
“Is it something that can hurt me, that I don’t know, that I fear?”
If the answer is yes, an alarm bell sounds throughout the body.
Fear is a feeling that many experiences for a variety of reasons: losing your job, speaking in public, fear of making a mistake, fear of loving or being left by the person you love, fear of an important question or exam.
We can also be afraid because we meet someone who is not very recommendable, or we find ourselves in an unknown place that seems dangerous to us.
Fear does not depend on the dangers we encounter, but on what we think in certain situations.
It does not matter if we are faced with a threat, it matters how we consider that threat, it matters how much we consider it dangerous.
And when fear arises, we can choose not to face it, that is to remain in the “comfort zone”, or to challenge it, knowing that we could experience unpleasant sensations such as anxiety, tension, nervousness, etc.
Staying anchored to our habits can make us feel safer but, at the same time, our nature pushes us to dare, to go beyond the search for new stimuli, to live new experiences, and broaden our horizons.
Each of us feels fear in a certain way: for me, for example, it’s a big knot in my throat. At first, the knot is small, but the more time I pass without acting, the more the knot begins to grow, gradually taking my breath away … almost until I suffocate.
The more I mull over all the possible consequences, the more time I waste!
And the nervousness increases, the fear increases, I feel suffocated.
So, what can I do right away?
It is precisely in the discomfort that we bring out those extra resources that we have never extracted in other situations and that we doubted we had.
Just when we feel discomfort, but accept the challenge, we set in motion a growth process that will make us stronger and better.
The word courage (from the Latin coratĭcum or also corhabeo, adjective deriving from the compound word cŏr, cŏrdis ‘heart’ and from the verb habere ‘to have: to have a heart) is the virtue that causes one to face suffering, the danger, uncertainty, and intimidation.
Having courage, therefore, means listening to your heart, finding the strength to act, spurring action, doing precisely.
Fear vs. Courage Strength and Energy
Acting with courage means responsibility: respecting the word given to oneself.
Acting with courage also means living without regrets, with the awareness and serenity of having tried with all your strength and energy.
How is it possible to train for courage?
- Take a few minutes to yourself: on a sheet of paper, start answering these questions:
What are your fears?
What are they preventing you from doing?
If you address each of these fears, what can you achieve that is valuable and important?
- Brings attention back to the “here and now”, removing anxieties and fears that arise when our mind is projected to the future.
- Instinct speaks. Listen to it because it always knows what is right!
- Believe in yourself. “I can do it!”.
Other people have been able to do it, I can too!
- Give yourself very little time.
“… Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds (even less!) Of insane courage …”!
The tendency to postpone is linked to the deceptive feeling of relief that remains in the comfort zone.
- Change your habits. The more you break old habits, the more we create the basis for ‘a habit of courage’.
- Hold on. Whenever you step out of your comfort zone you will be uncomfortable but don’t come back right away. Wait, hold on!
- What else?
Experimenting With Courage Always Means Taking Risks
I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the victory over it. The brave man is not the one who is not afraid, but he is the one who conquers the fear of him. (N.Mandela)
We all have all the resources we need to deal with what happens to us, even if it’s ugly, we don’t like it or we don’t want it.
We can all get what we want and what makes us feel good.
Experimenting with courage always means taking risks. Every behavior, choice, and feeling that makes us experience something that we have not already experienced and of which we do not know the effects it will produce on us and relationships with reality and with others is a risk. Experimenting with courage means understanding our possibilities, our potential, and meeting our limits:
This is an exercise of great maturity and growth, as well as maturity and growth, are also knowing how to accept them. Courage is synonymous with progress. Without courage, even intelligence will not be useful.