By Cheryl Crumb

I was coaching a colleague this past week, a talented woman of Chinese ancestry and upbringing and we were talking about designing her future.  She is at a wonderful age to pursue her dreams (….. I believe that all ages are appropriate for this mission), but she started talking about all the reasons why it might not work out.


We've all heard those little voices in our heads…..the ones that mutter, “you’re not good enough”, “why would anyone hire you?”, “why do you think you have talent?”  The voices, when we start paying attention to them, get stronger, louder and more seductive as our listening increases.  They often stop us from proceeding and encourage us to settle for something  that is totally easy  within our comfort zone. 


We discussed that it’s nothing more than a voice, one without credibility, that its words are not true, and that we ascribe a power to it out of proportion to reality.  We have the ability to banish it and substitute other voices, more positive that empower us.  We have total control to interrupt this internal malevolent siren.  We need to realize that courage is not the absence of fear; it’s taking action in spite of our fears. 


She admitted that she was always afraid to swim, that she nearly drowned as a child, and since then has stayed away from water, and kept her children away from water.  In that magical moment, making an internal decision, she looked at me and said, “I will take off my afraid”. 


Wow!  You never know when a flash of someone’s brilliance will smack you upside the head!  This visual simplicity gave me a new look at “Courage”. I pictured ripping it off, stomping on it, and throwing it away.   After our conversation, she felt stronger and I felt stronger.  She gave me  words and pictures to reach for when my own little voices choose to haunt me:   I see them on a T-shirt, on a wall, on the mirror, on my forehead:   “I will take off my afraid too!”

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