I’m always reminding people: just because I understand how fear works, doesn’t mean that I no longer experience it.

Also, trying to never experience fear is a huge waste of time.

It’s because of those two truths that I can tell you that I’m training for… a half-Ironman.

1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike, and then a half-marathon (13.1 miles of running).

Oh, and–I’m totally afraid.

What Fear Says To The Courage Expert

You’re not an athlete.
You’ll just get injured.
You hate swimming; why bother?
You’re probably going to get injured.
You’re the slowest swimmer in master’s swim class.
You’re the slowest cyclist on group rides.
You haven’t even put the clip pedals on your bike, yet.
It’s not like you’re a real triathlete.
You HATE swimming, and it’s cold, so why bother?
You don’t even know how to change a bike tire.
Why do you keep getting cold in the pool? No one else gets cold.
Oh, and–you’re probably going to get injured.

Swap any of those out for your own Big Life Thing–writing a book, changing careers, deciding to have another baby, selling everything you own and traveling, no longer people pleasing.

The voices will be some variation of Why bother? You’re not good at this, anyway; It won’t be worth the work; You’ll look foolish.

The idea of “fearless” is bullshit. Courage isn’t the elimination of fear. It’s the integration of fear. It’s the integration of feeling fear, diving in anyway, and transforming.

If you’re afraid, you’re actually…normal. (If you hang out on Instagram, find me at @katecourageous . I routinely use the hashtag, #courageousnotfearless).

Ideas That Haggle

How do you know the signs to keep going, despite the voices of fear that you can’t or that there’s no point? You keep going when an idea haggles at you and just won’t quit.

“Ideas ‘haggle’ at you, Kate? What’s that?”

When an idea is haggling at you, things like this happen:

– You want to write a book, and then out of nowhere your co-worker mentions that she’s decided she wants to write a book. Then you see something on TV about someone who writes a book. Then you read an interview with a writer who says that she wanted to write a book for a whole decade before she finally did, and something in you thinks, “Huh, this published writer who’s getting all of this attention–she wanted it for a long time, just like me?”

– You want to change careers, and someone brings up their cousin who is running a career change workshop. You keep thinking about it. You look at the date when the workshop is being held on your calendar, and you keep resisting scheduling an appointment on that date. For some reason, every single time you look at that particular Saturday, you’re thinking of that workshop.

– You want to stop people pleasing–you’ve read a book about it or talked it through with your therapist or coach. And suddenly, all around you, people are more demanding than EVER before. It’s driving you nuts, because you had hoped to have just a few casual opportunities to practice saying “No” as a complete sentence, and now they are everywhere. Then the thought occurs to you that maybe, this isn’t an accident. Maybe this is the call to rise.

So in other words, whether it’s a desire to do a thing (like write a book), or change your life’s circumstances (like changing careers), or embrace a new way of being (like no longer people-pleasing), things will keep popping up in your life, reminding you of this thing that you want.

Also, if you’ve always wanted to do a triathlon but told yourself that you can’t, and then this post is popping up in your inbox or a Facebook feed, consider that your sign.

When You Aren’t Sure You Can

I am moving forward on this, even though I’m not sure that I can. I get sore from a training session and worry that I’ll get injured. I think about how much more work there is to do, and wonder how I’ll ever get there.

Not being sure that you can, is no reason not to.

Not being sure that you can, might be THE reason why it’s a really great idea.

Speaking of Instagram, that’s the place to go for workout pics with little updates on my progress: Instagram.com/katecourageous.