“Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage."
~Anais Nin (author and diarist, 1903-1977)

Courage is defined in Miriam Webster’s dictionary as 1) “the quality of mind that enables one to encounter difficulties and danger with firmness or without fear; bravery” and 2) to have the courage of one’s convictions and to act consistently with one’s opinions.”

Being courageous does not occur without fear at all times. Courage can be frightening and exhilarating simultaneously. There are times when we act in spite of our fear and that is the stuff that makes us stronger.

While in college, I took a scuba diving class determined to become a certified diver. I loved the ocean and spent much time as a teenager "body surfing" the waves in Hawaii. I was quite comfortable in the ocean but did have a healthy respect for its powerful forces.

Body surfing and ocean diving are vastly different and I was to be tested. I had sucessfully completed the buddy free dive in the bay. I now had to solo dive to a minimum of 70 feet to become certified which required swimming out further into the ocean through a powerful current.

Once I got out far enough,I started descending but couldn’t see anything. The water was murky and black from a recent storm. My breathing was heavy and uneven. I was not relaxed and just wanted to shoot back up to the surface to see again. My fear was palatable and I began to panic. This in turn caused me to begin gasping for air even though I was on pure oxygen. Although the instructor was close this was not reassuring as visibility was zero. Then something brushed passed me and my mind raced and I could hear my heart beating faster as I thought of sharks. Even though I could not see what it was it didn't come back so I quickly figured it wasn't a shark. I was rattled and ready to abandon my dream of becoming certified when I heard a voice say, "you're okay, just breath slower." I then remembered that heavy, uneven breathing uses more oxygen. I had a long dive ahead of me and didn’t want to use up my air prematurely and risk the health consequences of ascending too quickly. I began to slow my breathing down as I continued to descend deeper into the dark.I felt calmer. Then,as if it were never dark at all,I saw the most beautiful sight. It became crystal clear, and I could see the instructor as well as colorful sea coral and small fish. I was very grateful! I went to on to have a fabulous dive, passed my class and felt a sense of accomplishment. Those few minutes of pure fear seemed a thing of the past.

Can you also recall at least one experience where you were up against yourself and chose to push through the fear? (Maybe you were guided by someone or had no choice and felt the fear and did it anyway) Most likely you've experienced many times of courage mixed with fear.

Continue to celebrate your accomplishments and continue to go past your fears and limitations. Your life will expand to mirror the courageous soul you truly are.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Certified Life Coach working with professional women who are in the process of becoming entrepreneurs, changing careers or who need support in their current position. I also support individuals with whatever goals or challenges they face. I enjoy working 1:1, but am available for group coaching sessions as well.

My background includes 30 years of combined experience in social work, mediation, counseling and advocacy. In these complimentary careers, I have supported many people with diverse backgrounds and needs. My services are strictly confidential and are held either in my home office or over the phone.

I love helping others reach their goals and re-discover the magic that makes them the unique person they truly are. We are all born with this magic and an understanding of our own inner wisdom. As we “grow up” and stop listening to our own inner voice and start listening to others instead we “forget” how magnificent we truly are. My approach is to listen to you and support you in re-discovering the you that you were meant to be.