Podcast: Why This Leadership Expert and Former Aviator Says 'Courage is Just Fear That Held On One Minute Longer'

Do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Podcast: Why This Leadership Expert and Former Aviator Says 'Courage is Just Fear That Held On One Minute Longer'
Image credit: Lissa Young

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2 min read

How Success Happens is a podcast featuring polar explorers, authors, ultra marathoners, artists and more to better understand what connects dreaming and doing. Linda Lacina, Entrepreneur.com's managing editor, guides these chats so anyone can understand the traits that underpin achievement and what fuels the decisions to push us forward. Listen below or click here to read more shownotes.


As a young girl, Lissa Young hadn't always planned to attend West Point, fly a massive Chinook cargo helicopter, run rescue missions in the Denali mountains or lift a rhinoceros out of the Everglades. She also never thought she’d help build a rum distillery or get a doctorate at Harvard.

But she has done all these things -- and more -- in part because of courage, a trait she discovered she had in spades while at West Point, a school she attended after her godmother urged her to be part of an institution that was about “what’s real, what matters and what lasts.”

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West Point, or the U.S. Military Academy, transformed her in a number of ways, kicking off a 16-year career in the military as an army aviator and professor of leadership. From an early age, she became comfortable being uncomfortable and pushing limits past what she thought was possible.

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That courage helped her throughout her life -- from being asked to leave the military thanks to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, hawking air traffic control systems in the Middle East, applying to Harvard after being rejected by 20 other schools and rebuilding her life as an academic in her 40s. She’d go on to shape her own doctoral program and even return to West Point, this time as a civilian, teaching a class she developed on entrepreneurial leadership. 

Says Young, “Courage is just fear that held on a minute longer.” Learn more about how she managed that courage in this week’s podcast.

Related: Conversation is the Most Underused Innovation Tool

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