Welcome to the Life Lnxx Podcast where we encourage women to live their true diversity out loud, in whatever way makes you feel empowered and joyous! I am your host, Consuelo Crosby, and also the creator of this content. If you want to chat more about what we talk about on the show, please reach out to me on whatever platform you enjoy or on our website, at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X.
Today, we discover how to face fear and stay confidently strong in a lifetime. It will take understanding the difference between being courageous and being brave. The two are similar in outcome but far different in intention. That difference is what we are focusing on today because learning this life skill will help you lessen your own fear. You will be so empowered it will feel like you’re playing Whack-A-Mole on those fears. Fear will be an afterthought and action will occur in split second decision making. I am going to share the methodology here today so that you can begin practicing facing your fears, moving forward in your journey and perhaps, reaching a point of bravery.
But first, would love some feedback on our new intro. What do you think? Still kept the sassy music but wanted to get to the main chat sooner. We left the original intro on the episodes prior to this one, this one being number 30!, numero treinte, so if you get sentimental for it, you can always go back and take a listen. Or, if you’re new here, welcome! Take some extra time to listen to a previous episode and let us know your thoughts. Reach out to us on our social media @lifelnxx, and give us your best Double X stance!
LinkedIn Post on Being Brave
Today’s topic is very dear to me. It is the core of my existence, of how I got through the harsh teaching of life and even raised my daughters on this same elixir. I’ve been doing this so long that I can’t recall how it got started. Most likely from my upbringing. But, whatever the catalyst was for this mentality, I am grateful it took hold and got me through some really rough moments when I was all alone.
This was always going to be an episode but I was holding out for the perfect moment. Then I read a post on LInkedIn that made me take action. The post was also based on the topic of facing fearful situations but the takeaway was “choose to be brave”. Choose to be brave. I thought about it for a while. Reconsidering all the terrifying episodes in my life and wondering if I could have just chosen to face in the moment, to choose. I wondered if my split second decision making would have occurred if I first had to contemplate making that choice.
First, I considered some incidents that were solely in my control. The decision to get on my first roller coaster, or decision to go out on a glacier tour. No you know by now I’m addicted to glaciers and I absolutely love roller coasters, but that hesitancy in the beginning was real. These were totally off my radar and took some thinking to literally get on board. They were activities that seemed fun and had a lot of thrill to offer and I could see that people were doing them safely over and over again.
What is it like to be Courageous?
The choice to go ahead and try these things was more my decision to experience the thrill for myself, knowing that I would be fine. And, if I did need help, or I got the jitters, there were going to be plenty of people to help me out.
Honestly, I don’t see how I could choose to be brave if first I had to endure being afraid. My tendency would have been to leave the situation, or avoid it all together. If I’m scared of something, my first thought is not to choose to go towards it. There is hesitation because of the acknowledgement that fear is present.
This behavior doesn’t work in situations that require quick actions, or split second decision making. Bad things could happen by the time you “chose to be brave”. Imagine if first responders hesitated, or even everyday people who act like superheroes in the moment but they stop and think about it first. The presence of fear puts one’s self, the person hesitating to act, first rather than the person receiving assistance.
Guess what, ladies. This isn’t bravery. This is courage. Making a conscious decision to overcome fear is acting courageously. Deciding to help someone only after first considering how you would be affected is not choosing to be brave. It’s deciding to be courageous.
You literally can’t choose to be brave.
Difference Between Courage and Bravery
You think I might be splitting hairs now and that this isn’t important. But it is. Trust me, let’s go through this. The difference is huge and really valuable to understand so that you can overcome fear for your lifetime. Even if you weren’t born brave, you can learn to become brave, to not hesitate, when needing to act quickly. Wouldn’t that be the answer to a lot of what’s in front of you now?
By definition, bravery is the innate lack of fear towards anything, whether it’s an action or an object. Courage is when you hesitate because you know, you’re afraid. And you consider what to do next. Ultimately, with courage, you can persevere and face the things that make you afraid. Bravery is acting confidently, from your gut, in a split second because you are at peace with the consequence. There is no fear of being harmed. You are at peace with it.
There is no fear of being harmed. You are at peace with it. Now, this might sound hugely daunting and that’s okay. We need it all. Be brave. Deciding to push through past fear and be courageous, takes a lot of work and confidence in yourself to begin with.
Now, take a bit to consider that relative to the times you hesitate acting or straight out get frozen and refuse to act. It doesn’t always have to be a reaction to fear. It could be hesitancy in deciding who you want to be, how you want to represent, or wondering what would be best for you. Still, it’s fear that really gets you frozen and unable to act in time and that can snowball over a lifetime to the point of losing out which may cause regret.
It’s totally understandable. We all tend to have some occurrences in our youth that creates fear. Fear develops from either an actual experience or perhaps a projection on to something else, like spiders. Total shout out to a certain someone who’s reeeealy afraid of spiders. Our psyche takes on this behavior as a touchstone to judge our actions. Perhaps, even a way to bring control into our lives.
For instance, if you know you are afraid of spiders, then you know exactly what to do when one appears and you’re in control of yourself. Yell for help. Less is given to the act of fear and more is given to the knowledge of what to do. It actually appears to be an act of bravery. A way of acting spontaneously without hesitation.
But, unfortunately, screaming for someone to come kill a spider for you, or compassionately remove it, is rarely seen as an act of bravery. And not courageous either because you are not choosing to act on your fear. You are only choosing to protect yourself by remaining stuck.
Now, in a funny way, at least not for the spider, your true act of courage would be at least to take control of the situation yourself, get your sassy boots out and do away with a spider as you will.
I’m not encouraging any particular behavior. That’s courage.
How to Overcome Hesitation
So, what would it take to get unfrozen? How do you get over the hesitation? This can be so tricky. Like the focus of last week’s episode, changing behaviors has a lot to do with healing. Take some time to consider when you developed that fear and the context that the fear was created in. Now, if you don’t remember that’s okay, but consider now why you have that fear now that you’re in a place of good judgment and you can rationalize. What is it about that one thing that has you frozen?
Sometimes we have lingering memories of bad experiences that get projected onto anything unknown. A bad experience with a dog can absolutely cause fear of dogs that then gets projected onto other things, other unknowns, even people.
First you have to choose to become courageous. Yes, this is when you make the choice. How do you choose to be courageous, to overcome your fear, so that you can work on becoming brave? You begin to train yourself in choosing to face your fear with a rational mindset. Take some baby steps and act to change the behavior.
Let’s go back to the fear of spiders. Knowing that a spider is not poisonous and no threat to your health is a good rational step to consider. Perhaps, acknowledge that having a spider near you is unnerving but not the worst thing that can happen and truly aren’t in any danger. Then, realizing that most spiders are an ounce and you are at least 1900 times bigger than that spider gives you the upper hand. Ok. Now, you can choose to be courageous and act accordingly. Take care of the situation yourself.
Now think of the spider as your next job or a promotion or you go for something completely unknown to you. Imagine what a badass chica you would be at that moment. How proud you would be of yourself for overcoming that fear and acting courageously on it. If you can do that one, what fear could you whack off next? Again, baby steps, but take on the next one.
Take Baby Steps Towards Big Courage
Choosing to be courageous is a powerful life skill. Facing your fears empowers you to become confident in your abilities to rise above uncomfortable situations. Practicing courage will change your thought process and disrupt the tendency to hesitate. Remember that brain needs 30 days, practicing every day, before it can change its behavior.
If you need some structure on practicing every day, there is a great little book called, ‘Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You’. It’s a daily journal for the year, filled with prompts and quotes that encourage you to act in courage, outside of your comfort zone. The journal helps you realize how little we tend to mix up our days, cause disruption in our lives, and yet, how liberating it is to do something new and different, even though it’s scary.
But, the only way you can face your fears is to make the decision to let go first. One of my favorite quotes in the book is this: “Growth demands a temporary surrender of security” ; that’s by Gail Sheehy. That surrender of security is your choice to be courageous and place yourself in a vulnerable situation. Letting go of an outcome helps you become accustomed, if not comfortable, with the idea of being vulnerable. Being comfortable in vulnerability begins to eliminate fear altogether because you are no longer worried about yourself in situations that have an unknown outcome.
Ultimately, being courageous, getting comfortable with discomfort, can lead to asking for a raise or promotion with confidence, reaching out to make friends in new circles and making big life decisions that are admittedly scary, but you’re willing to take on. No more procrastination.
Imagine having the courage to walk into situations that used to unnerve you and confidently represent yourself to others to get what you want.
How Our Own Fear Affects Others
So, we’ve chatted about the difference in courage versus bravery. I’ve given some examples of acting courageously and why it’s important. On a personal note, here’s an example of how fear affects decision making for others that have nothing to do with your fear.
You’ve probably heard this thread often in our past episodes. My mother was such a courageous and empathetic woman her entire life. She worked so hard to help take care of her mother and siblings in her youth, but she never healed the pain of losing her father when she was 2 and so bravery was out of reach for her.
Unfortunately, coming here only compounded that underlying fear and so she needed me as her ally to endure the hardship. The fear of losing me, of something harmful happening to me, framed her parenting style. My mother made choices for me that addressed her fear rather than encouraging my independence.
I admittedly pushed back against this parenting style. My mom’s fear coupled with my brothers’ behavior was my rocket fuel to rise above my own fear. I went from being courageous to being brave because I realized how far behind I would be if I let their fears disrupt my journey. Talk about boundaries, ladies.
Finding compassion for those who aren’t brave
Still, once I had my own daughters, I understood her fear and it helped heal that pain. It takes a lot of bravery to raise your children to be independent and let go so they can make their own decisions and deal with their own consequences. For as much pain as you may feel, your mothers tend to feel it 1000 times more.
There’s more to this story in an article on our website at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X. The article describes the ridiculous situation I found myself in when I chose my journey over her parenting. It involves Patagonia, glaciers, abandonment of children and absolutely no communication.
My mom didn’t talk to me for 6 months. I was 44 years old. Aaaay, you know what I’m talking about here. Don’t mess with the mama. I hope you enjoy the story. Let me know if you experienced the same thing. Oh, Latina mothers. Ay-yay-yay! It makes me laugh now but seriously, in that moment, I had absolutely no courage and would have stayed in Argentina for a lifetime to avoid facing my mom in person.
Why We Need to Act Bravely
Still, at some point I needed to find my courage again. The best part of constantly practicing courage, of facing your fears, is the empowerment to no longer be worried about yourself first. Fear is actually worrying about yourself more than others. The fear of being hurt, rejected, leaving the planet or being left alone… all these can lead to hesitating and preventing you from moving forward in life.
When you surrender to an unknown outcome of a situation, you become fearless for yourself. Your brain has been taken out of the decision making process. You are free to make decisions from your gut, your soul, and do what is best for you now that you are unafraid of being hurt. Your brain could not have made that big leap, that big decision, because it was hooked on fear.
Now that you have no fear for yourself, you are more than courageous, you are brave. Bravery is the ultimate trait to act for others, even in frightening situations, because you have accepted an unknown outcome for yourself. Acting bravely triggers empathy and then compassion for others and with this skill set, there is no hesitation to do the right thing for the greater good.
Thankfully, there are many brave people on any given day, from strangers to co-workers to friends. Strangers defending others being bullied or threatened; co-workers speaking out on injustices and friends rushing to you in a moment’s notice.
Most of all, bravery is best found in leadership. Something largely missing in today’s society. Brave leadership seeks equity within businesses, ensuring equal and equitable pay and access to advancement. Bravery in government establishes trust through empathy and compassion, much like Jacinda Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She made difficult decisions during the pandemic that were intentional, strict yet best for the greater good even if her own popularity or support was threatened.
Stacy Abrams, persevering to fight against discrimination, to raise others into generational security at the risk of her own political career. For as much as we have brave leaders, we have fearful ones wanting to take them down. This is why we need to practice being brave. The more bravery we have in the world, the more we can dilute fear, create compassion, illuminate injustice and fight to protect each other. This is bravery.
How to Develop Bravery
So, just how do you develop life long skills of bravery, of being fearless for yourself and acting on behalf of others in a split second? You practice on each decision you make throughout your day. Disrupt your tendency to have the same answer based on the past or giving an easy automatic response. Try this new decision making process until it becomes a permanent habit, a natural response so you can act in a heartbeat. No hesitation, no regrets.
I call it the ‘Six Scenarios’. ‘Six Scenarios’ probably developed out of my upbringing, and I only recently coined the process when someone asked me how I act so quickly in unknown situations. And it took some time to break down because I honestly didn’t know it had become so natural to me.
This process helps you decide how to move through fear in a way that is honest with your capabilities; whether it’s physical, emotional, and so on. It considers what capacity you are in at the moment you need to act. Now, you need to start with an action that doesn’t need a split second decision or else it may cause more fear. Baby steps, remember?
‘Six Scenarios’ are visualizations that you create regarding a possible outcome from an unknown situation. Basically, a best case and worst case scenario as bookends and multiple scenarios in between. As you move through each scenario, you can play out how you feel in response to the possible outcome. The point is to stretch your courage as much as possible but not so much that you can’t handle the outcome or you regret it later.
In this way, you are facing your fears head on in the decision making process and comparing it to the possible gains and losses in overcoming those fears or hesitations. Practicing this over and over again helps you understand yourself relative to why you may hold back on a quick decision.
Learning to Make Quick Decisions
Let’s do an example of the Six Scenarios process. Consider something simple that you may hesitate over. Again, it is important to start with little steps. Perhaps getting a spontaneous invite to go out with a girlfriend. Totally understandable how this may have you hesitate. You may be exhausted from your day or already in your comfy clothes and fuzzy slippers and you don’t know how to respond right away. It would be so easy to say “no, I’m not available” or “oh, I wish I could”, but is that a real answer or an automatic response?
First consider the best case scenario for saying yes. You get all dressed up and have more fun than you imagined. You realize you weren’t tired, you’re bored, and the conversation of the night helps you feel validated. Woof! That’s a win!
Second, consider the worst case scenario for saying yes. You get all dressed up and your girlfriend’s late. You are hanging out alone, don’t know anybody and begin regretting leaving your house. The money spent for the ride and maybe a bevvie seem wasted and you are headed for regret.
But, is this really a loss? Well, that depends on what else is going on in your life. This is where the other scenarios come into play. Can you afford to lose money if you don’t enjoy yourself? Would going out make you too tired for the early morning meeting? What if you met someone fantastic, would you still be too tired? Did you get to wear an outfit that you were hoping to use one day?
Ok, you can see there are more than just six scenarios. And, you shouldn’t spend the night trying to create every single situation because most likely you won’t get a call back. But hopefully you can see that running through some main fear factors helps you frame your response. Is it fear or reality you are dealing with when you’re hesitating?
How You Come Up with An Action
Not having enough money is real and valid for declining. Telling your friend you can go the next week after you’ve saved some extra cash will help frame your relationship with her. Worrying about being too tired is a good fear to test out. After all, what’s the worst that could happen compared to the best that could happen? Worst thing, you sleep through your alarm and are late for a meeting. There will be a bazillion more meetings in your life. Best thing, you are exhausted from having the time of your life! How many more chances will you have for that?
There you have it. Your answer. You are going out because you have the money and you’re just unsure of your energy or whether you’ll have fun. So go out. If the worst thing that could happen is being too tired, well, welcome to life in the fun lane.
The pivotal point here in making decisions is two fold:
First, make a decision you can fully live with, no regrets or irresponsible behaviors. If you know you know you can’t live with a possible result, then wait for another chance. But, if a possible result is that another chance won’t come around, be able to live with that, too.
Second, once you make a decision, act on it with all your enthusiasm and gusto, leave nothing on the table. Put your hesitation at the door and surrender your security. Many times the outcome of our actions gets affected by our hesitations along the way so give your best try and enjoy the result regardless of outcome.
Ok, ladies. Practice the Six Scenarios to come up with quick decisions. Remember, no regrets one way or another. Be able to live with the outcome, even if it’s not what you had hoped for. We need leadership that is brave and will to act on behalf of others. Leaders who have faced their fears, used courage to get beyond them and realized that they have the ability to overcome self concern. Leaders who have pushed their boundaries by using the ‘Six Scenarios’ to test their ability to put others first. Be brave, be badass chicas!
We would love to see how your decisions played out with your Whack-A-Mole abilities to fight off fear, so tag us on Instagram or Twitter @LifeLnxx. Go after that promotion, that new job, a new location to live… Disrupt your known and face your unknowns.
Big shout out to our global audience. So grateful you are here with us every week and learning to support each other and keep our human touch. Welcome to our listeners in Centurion, South Africa! Until I get there in person, I am glad we share this moment together.
Step into your truth, ladies! Ciao!