Courage vs Fear – How to embrace both

“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

Can you be courageous and fearful at the same time?

According to Merriam-Webster, Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, preserve, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

And what does fear mean? Fear is an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. To be afraid.

So, the short answer is yes. You can be courageous and fearful at the same time, and the definition of courage says just that.

As a leader, let’s dive into how to embrace courage when facing fear. In this Forbes article, they explain how to manage fear in the following ways:

  • Understanding – Gaining an understanding of fear and what causes us to be afraid helps us deal with it. Name it and begin to take back your power.
  • Acceptance – Avoid the tendency to deny or judge fear; welcome the uncertainty. Understand the “why” in your fear in order to choose acceptance vs. resistance.
  • Action – Taking small steps when feeling fear is tapping into courage and building confidence in yourself. Focusing on acting when fearful and welcoming your curiosity is much more motivating than using fear as an excuse not to take action.

Being courageous doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear. It means you don’t allow the fear to hold you back and, instead, harness the courage inside of you.

As the remarkable Amelia Earhart said, “Use your fear, it can take you to the place where you store your courage.”

Fear is a natural emotion we all experience regardless of our title or status. So be kind to yourself and embrace courage when stepping into the unknown.