The Connection Between Fear and Courage – Dottie Herman

The Connection Between Fear and Courage

The Connection Between Fear and Courage

“Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not the absence of fear”

-Mark Twain

Mark Twain is famous for writing his classic novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But he wrote this famous quote in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, in 1894.

Courage and fear are often viewed as opposite experiences. However, they are actually intrinsically related. How? Fear is a common and natural feeling. Courage is derived from being able to overcome those feelings. Courageous people feel fear, but they are able to manage and overcome their fear so that it does not stop them from moving through it. Many find that their fear fuels their ambition, often using it to navigate whatever they are facing and finding a way to take the appropriate actions to achieve their goal.

Living with less FEAR has been one of my greatest assets throughout my life and career and has truly allowed me to live more. It has opened more doors than any other skill or trade and has proven fruitful time and time again. When you live with less fear, you are free to start over, begin anew without the emotional blocks of your past standing in your way. And when you finally let go of those barricades, it’s like hitting the reset button on your career, relationships, health and every other area of your life that has been bound by fear. If you have had to face fear yourself, you know what it can do to you. Some people have been fired from a job they thought they’d be in for life, even spoken to a Wrongful Termination Lawyer to deal with the aftermath, however, this fear can propel them forward into areas they never thought they would be able to get to.

In 2019, I wrote a blog about courage and the influence Brene Brown has had on me about this topic. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, its on my website Brené Brown is a five time New York Times bestselling author and University of Houston research professor who specializes in studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. All of her books explore the relationship of courage and vulnerability, both, she believes are great strengths. (I happen to agree!) Brown believes that “you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore…embrace the suck.

During The Call to Courage, Brown talks about how to choose courage over comfort, something that felt so timely given the state of fear and uncertainty in the world. Through incredible storytelling, humor and depth she explains the greatest value of courage and vulnerability, saying “The key to whole-hearted living is vulnerability.” Courage, according to Brown, is measured by how vulnerable you are. It’s choosing to put courage over comfort each and every day. Sounds hard, but there are so many good reasons to try it.
What’s the payoff?

According to Brown, choosing courage and vulnerability opens you up to love, joy, belonging and closer to living at our highest and best level. It forces us to live authentic, which can have an exponential impact on everything we do, who we surround ourselves with and how we choose to respond to whatever life throws our way.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that just about every time I was rejected in business, it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t about me or even about my work.

It was always about someone else’s fear.

Did you catch what I just said?

Rejection is about someone else’s fear.

Everyone lives in a fearful world…

A worrisome world of what if….

What if I take on this listing and it doesn’t sell? What if I do the work, but still won’t earn my commission? What if I risk losing my job?

I’ve seen this a lot, especially in real estate.

People won’t take a risk because they’re afraid of the scenarios they’ve created-most of which likely don’t even exist…these make-believe stories they tell themselves-over and over.

They personalize it. Rationalize it and come up with all sorts of reasons they should of should not take action. They freeze in their fear and refuse to make a move.

Whenever I was faced with rejection throughout my career, I turned it into a challenge instead of a defeat. I found ways to work around the no, and turn it into a yes. I understood that for the most part, it wasn’t about me. It was about someone else’s fear. We’ve all been there. Whether it was being turned down for a dream listing, losing out on a new opportunity, receiving a rejection letter from a bank or even a crush who doesn’t feel the same way about you. I say, “learn from it!” And I don’t mean learn how to be better next time. Because chances are, unless you completely choked during your listing presentation or coughed up dinner all over your date’s lap, the rejection wasn’t your fault. It’s where someone else is in their own life. The match (whether professional, creative, academic or romantic) simply wasn’t meant to be.

It’s really that simple.

Don’t dwell on it, don’t regret it.

Just move on.

Eventually another door will open, and it will be the door you were meant to walk through all along.

Tell me about a time you overcame rejection by working through your fear? How did you find the courage to keep going?



  1. diamond says:

    thank you i think you just change my life .

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