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The Power Of Brave Choices: How To Shift From Fear To Fearlessly Courageous Being brave can often be easier said than done. Here's practical strategies and advice on the "how" of being brave.

By Mark Sephton Edited by Aby Thomas

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When I think of the word "brave," I often think of the movie Braveheart. It came out in 1995, and it remains one of my favorite films to this day. The film is about showing up to a cause you believe in, and putting all of you on the line, simply because your conviction is deeper and stronger than any fear, threat, or danger.

This idea of being brave has been a concept that has been showing up consistently in my life. While being brave can be summed up in many ways, for me, it means taking action, even if you're fearful, doubtful, hesitant, and scared. If you want to keep personally and professionally growing, you have to be courageous and brave. Most importantly, if you want to make an impact on the world, you first have to make an impact on yourself. Each of us has to hold ourselves accountable in our lives, thoughts, and actions.

Still, the idea of being brave can seem daunting. For instance, historically, I have had a fear of blood, and I've often fainted during a blood test, or when I accidentally cut myself. (I've even tried hypnotherapy to curb it!) It's not been an easy conquest, but when your health needs to be evaluated, blood tests aren't an option. As I'm in my 40s, the need to be proactive and have a lifestyle of prevention versus cure is paramount to me. So, even though I don't like blood, I have needed to be brave. My goal of preventing health issues is what I consider to be one of my Braveheart-level convictions that outweighs my fear of blood work. It's what gives me courage, and every time, the reward is greater than the fear.

I often find it helpful to reframe bravery as choosing love over fear. Love is the opposite of fear. When we make choices out of love, they will distinguish the arrows of fear that can hinder us moving forward. Sometimes, being brave is walking away from a relationship or friendship, or a life or work situation that isn't serving you. You know what you want and need, and you can no longer just drift because you are thinking about too many what-ifs and buts. In such situations, you simply have to be brave.

Being brave, of course, can often be easier said than done. I caught up with Anna Daphna for some inspiration as well as practical strategies and advice on the "how" of being brave. Anna is an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), executive, and high performance coach, as well as a mentor and psychologist. She supports individuals of all backgrounds and professions in their goals, and also specializes in supporting those who are neurodivergent. Excerpts from my conversation with her:

Anna Daphna, Online ADHD and Executive Function Coach. Source: Anna Daphna

Anna, how has the word "brave" been relevant to your own journey and self-discovery?

Bravery is the cornerstone of personal growth. It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone, and face the unknown. It's what sets apart those who dream big, and those who make their dreams a reality.

I have experienced this firsthand. With only a small amount of money, I took the leap and left my hometown in Greece to study in London. It was a challenging journey, but I stayed committed to my beliefs and my long-term vision. I took risks, pushed beyond my limits, and today, I am proud to say I have built a successful company that exceeds my wildest dreams. Bravery is not just about facing physical challenges, but also about standing up for our values, taking calculated risks, and embracing new perspectives. By embracing bravery, we empower ourselves to grow and reach new heights in life.

Related: Rewriting Your Story: What To Do When The Meaning We Give To Things Is Unhelpful

Why is it important that we are brave versus allowing fear to drive our choices and decisions?

Fear limits, bravery liberates. Fear can be a crippling force that holds us back from reaching our goals. When fear drives our choices and decisions, it can prevent us from taking risks and pursuing growth opportunities. By allowing fear to dictate our actions, we limit ourselves and limit what we are capable of achieving.

On the other hand, bravery empowers us to make bold decisions, stand up to our values and face challenges head-on. This can lead to new experiences, new perspectives, a deeper understanding of ourselves, and, ultimately, a foundation of success.

How have you specifically helped clients to be brave and courageous despite crippling fear?

As a coach and psychologist, I empower my clients to overcome fear and cultivate bravery through a determined mindset, and a willingness to embrace new experiences. Together, we reframe fear as excitement or a challenge, identify limiting beliefs, and acknowledge past successes.

By keeping a success journal, practicing mindfulness, taking small steps, and surrounding themselves with a supportive network, my clients are able to tap into their confidence, inner resources, and limitless potential. With a clear mind, increased confidence, and a range of resources at their disposal, they tackle challenges with courage, and make empowering decisions that drive growth and self-discovery.

Bravery becomes the spark that ignites personal growth. It's the courage to take the road less travelled, step out of your comfort zone, and pursue your dreams, despite fear. By embracing bravery, you will unlock limitless potential and self-discovery. Courage is the journey through the heart. A heart-led person is a person who moves through the heart center, and in the courage energy.

As a coach and psychologist, how do you respond to someone who's so trapped in a fearful state that they can't make healthy and reasonable decisions?

Clients come to me because of their ADHD or other neurodiversity. It is important to establish if there are any underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, and develop a comprehensive coaching programme that may include therapy and medication on top of coaching. It is also important to determine if there are any other medical or lifestyle issues involved, such as lack of high-quality sleep, poor diet or hydration, lack of sports or sunshine, vitamin deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances.

I prioritize active listening and building trust with my clients, creating a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings. Together, we uncover the root causes, and understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors. Then, we explore coping skills using a holistic approach, combining both top-down and bottom-up therapies. I strive to empower individuals to overcome their fears, and make healthy decisions by unlocking their bravery one step at a time, and transforming fear into courage.

How can we change our state of fear into a state of bravery and courage?

My approach to coaching is holistic, and I believe in the effectiveness of both bottom-up and top-down therapies. Bottom-up therapy addresses physical symptoms by regulating the body's nervous system, while top-down therapy focuses on changing negative thought patterns and beliefs. Both approaches have proven results, and the best approach depends on the individual's specific needs and preferences. A combination of both can also be used for a comprehensive, holistic approach to mental health. There are various therapies available to help regulate the nervous system and reduce symptoms of anxiety and fear, such as mindfulness-based therapies, cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, somatic therapies, biofeedback, sound therapy, eclectic, synthetic, integrative therapy, coaching, and more. By being present, controlling thoughts and emotions, and taking daily steps outside of one's comfort zone through techniques like somatic experiencing, deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and cognitive reframing, change can be achieved.

Related: Stuck In Over-Analysis? Here's How You Can Find Your Sweet Spot (And Stay In The Present Moment)

Mark Sephton

Entrepreneur, Mentor, and Business Coach

Mark Sephton is a personal mentor to entrepreneurs. His mission to help others has seen him break into global markets while working with startups and millionaire entrepreneurs around the world.

Mark’s love for entrepreneurship has been expressed through serving as a podcast host for Brainz Magazine. When not on the mic, Mark is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, and a speaker for corporate events, entrepreneurship summits, and major conferences worldwide.

His expertise in personal and professional development has positioned him as an expert in the industry, resulting in transformational experiences for audiences, clients, and businesses alike. Drawing from personal experiences, Mark has taken the essence of what he has experienced and built a business that helps draw out the magnificent potential that every person beholds using his GPS system to highlight blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies.

He is also the author of three personal development books Inside Job, Plot Twist, and his latest book, Mark of a Man, launching on November 30, 2021.

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