Conquering Our Fears

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two days ago, we celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday although he died in 2013. Mandela spent twenty seven years in prison, arrested for his fight against the white-only government that established apartheid, a system of extreme racial segregation in South Africa. He is widely regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice.

Frequently we think of folks who accomplish heroic deeds as fearless but my guess is, as Mandela suggests, these heroes are as afraid as the rest of us. The difference is they feel the fear and do it anyway. I read this line many years ago and have repeated it often to myself when I’m feeling unwarranted fear. It bears repeating….feel the fear and do it anyway.

Affirmation: I can triumph over my fears.

Coaching questions: What causes you unwarranted fear (some fear is positive of course–healthy fear keeps us alive)? Remember a time you conquered a fear.  How did you feel?


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