Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Gently Lean Into Fear


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

Is fear holding you back from achieving your dreams, tasting happiness, or living a satisfying life?

If you feel afraid, I understand.  For many reasons – from trauma to Catholic school – fear became my signature state.  On top of that, according to Ayurvedic medicine, people with a particular constitution actually possess the genetic potential to create fear.  Count me in that category.

I know that fear runs strong and deep not just for me but for many of us.  It manifests not just as terror, but as a palette of emotional states and stuck places like procrastination, frustration, low self-esteem, self-doubt, a lack of confidence, and more.  What can we do?

Your True Self Awaits You

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke has said that our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.  As apprehensive as you may feel, like Rilke, you may also have a deep intuition that your true self patiently awaits you on the other side of trepidation.

When I’ve taken a risk, my fears have rarely came true.  Instead, I’ve had fun, made new connections, felt seen, heard, and connected, and expanded my confidence.  All along, I was the one conjuring up illusions of disaster – just paper tigers as ferocious as they seemed.

Through taking small steps, I’ve discovered my own way to melt fear.  When I gently lean into fear, it might feel like an earthquake at first, but soon enough the fear dissolves and goodness happens.

At the same time, I respect my boundaries and limits. 

I know that fear has penetrated the innermost essence of my cells.  I don’t push too hard or too fast.  I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to.  I gently lean into fear.  That’s my heart advice for transforming fear.

30 Days to Bold

It’s not necessarily easy or even necessary to befriend fear on your own.  In fact, it’s more fun if you are in good company and feels safer with expert support.  So today, I would like to introduce you to my friend Tess Marshall. Tess is a “courage coach” and she has created a new course called 30 Days to Bold to help people overcome their fears.  If you are afraid but feel ready to start moving through your fear, this course may be ideal for you.

In addition to sharing her wisdom on working through fear, I’ve also asked Tess to share her heart advice for people who have experienced traumatic stress.

Welcome Tess.  I’m so happy you are here.  Please tell us about yourself.

Tess_0485rz-210x300Tess:  I currently work as a writer, speaker, and courage coach. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and had a private practice in Michigan for 10 years. I love to guide and  inspire people to overcome their fears and live-out-loud.  I write at The Bold Life, for an amazing and growing community, that I love dearly.  My work has allowed me to reach people all over the world.

My passion is to help others grow through their fears and take the action needed to create and live a meaningful and inspired life. I’ve written three books and created a brand new course, 30 Days to Bold.

How did you become so bold?

Tess:  I grew up on a produce farm with nine siblings. We were all very competitive for our parents love and attention. It was speak up or lose out. We also began working in the fields and at the Farmer’s Market as young children.  At the market, we learned how to sell and turn our customers into friends! We became experts in sales by age 13! That’s a childhood of bold action.

My biggest challenge, thus far, was getting married and pregnant when I was 17, a senior in high school. Our only plan was “love!” I was the mom to four little girls at age 22. My third pregnancy was twins. We really didn’t have a plan until we began seeing a counselor 10 years later. That was a turning point. We finally had the tools needed to move forward in a healthy and happy manner. There is nothing more difficult than raising children. Nothing! I was only 38 when the twins graduated from high school.

A mother is a coach! I didn’t know it at the time, but they helped me become the courage coach I am today! There is no difference between you and I. Together, we can unearth your courageous self. It’s never too late. The time is now.

Tell us about a big fear that you’ve managed to overcome.

Tess:  Hubs and I both lived in Michigan all our lives. When we were young and stuck, we decided we would move to the Southwest someday, after the girls left for college. We wanted to go to a warm climate!

In 2007, we finally made the move. When the economy was just beginning to go south, we decided it was “now or never.” He sold his business and I transitioned from a therapist in private practice to a courage coach. We sold our house but, at the time, were unable to sell our cottage. Hubs was hired as an accountant in Arizona the night before we left. He actually got the call while we were packing the truck.

It’s never too late to act on your dreams. You have to be willing to do what it takes even if it appears that things aren’t working out.

Whatever steps you take the Universe will meet you half way. We moved away from two daughters and their families.  At the same time, another daughter transitioned from her teaching job to working as a flight attendant.

This meant, as her parents, we can fly free, anywhere Southwest flies! Since then, Southwest bought Air Tran and now we can fly to those destinations as well. We continue to go back to Michigan several times a year. For us, our family and grandchildren trump new adventures.

Don’t wait until your stars line up or the economy gets better. Our cottage just sold in August 2012. I’m so thankful we didn’t wait. Dream, plan and act today! You have the power. In 30 Days of  Bold you’ll get the support and the map to uncover it and use it.

What is the most painful fear you can have?

Tess:  The worst fear is one of feeling unloved and separate. All human beings have three things in common. We all want to give love, receive love and know that we matter. Once we live with an open heart and give and receive love freely, it’s impossible not to feel connected to the whole. Separation is an illusion.

How can we develop courage?

Tess:  Be willing take action. Make a difference and use your talent and gifts to make the world a better place. Things will go wrong. So what? You’ll make mistakes. So what? You will be rejected. So what?

Keep going, ask for help, find support and be willing to do what it takes.  30 Days of Bold offers you the safety and support of a loving community. You don’t have to go it alone.

What qualifies you to do this work?

Tess:  I raised my family, I saved my marriage, became a successful therapist, a coach, an author, a professional speaker, a writer…I’ve achieved things I never would have thought possible in my life.

I’m only getting started! This course is the culmination of everything I’ve learned. For those of you who want to know how I did it, this course is for you! Begin today, with one small step in the right direction, and the tools to make new choices that support you in transcending your dreams.

Can you share some heart advice for people who are overwhelmed by fear due to post traumatic stress?  Is your course appropriate for them?

Tess:  PTSD is about self destruction. Trauma survivors need to be weaned off destructive behaviors. I would not replace professional help with my course. However, it can be helpful in addition to therapy.

For survivors I would recommend life-giving activities like prayer, meditation, journal writing, support groups and music and art. I would advise them to intentionally create good times for themselves, minus any substance abuse of course.

These are life promoting and life enhancing activities. It’s important to remember everyone heals in their own time and everyone is worthy of life and love regardless of what has happened in their past.

Tell us more about your new course 30 Days to Bold?

Tess:  30 Days to Bold is an online interactive and live course that begins on Monday, February 18th.  The course includes personal guidance, community support, video teachings, worksheets, lessons, activities and encouragement.


To learn more, check out the 30 Days to Bold course page to see if it might be right for you.  (Affiliate link.)

Tess, thanks for sharing your insights into overcoming fear.  I appreciate your wholehearted dedication to helping others transform their fears and live a more joyful and meaningful life.

Has fear played a significant role in your life?  How have you overcome fear?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe for free updates by email.

Image Credit.




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  1. Thanks for sharing , just saying I was delighted to open your email today and see color and light, this feels more like you. I will be really honest now- Leo’s theme doesn’t allow for one’s personality to shine and stark is the work that came to mind


    • Hi Suzie,

      I listen to smart people like you! 🙂 Thanks for reading the interview with Tess. And thanks for your honest feedback.

  2. Great interview, Sandra. Know it will be a great course.

  3. jean sampson

    Well, I am glad to see the color back—-but I believe we can make anything work for us. Either way is ok, but THIS is better! 🙂
    And the course Tess is offering sounds wonderful! My entire life has been about overcoming fear because I was a sickly kid who, because of my parents’ love and fear, was over-protected. I didn’t do it alone—-I had my Re-evaluation Counseling community with me all the way. I have learned to go into fear with small, slow steps—-you have to have enough safety to do that or you get frozen. And there are some fears that I have decided not to mess with because they are not interfering with my living my life. If they ever do, I will take them on, but slowly and only as I can create enough safety to deal with them.
    Great post!

    • Jean,

      I love your willingness and flexibility. Thanks for telling me you like this better. So do I!

      I haven’t done co-counseling myself, but I’ve known several people who do and it’s quite wonderful. You made such a good point about safety first! That’s an important tenet of trauma work. Oh, I wish I had included that in the post!!!!! You offer such a great model for working with fear. I haven’t overcome all my fears, they do run deep. And I agree that it’s not necessary to mess with every fear. It’s really a choice. And, when you feel like you have a choice it’s so much more empowering and then less fearful too. Thanks for adding the safety element to the conversation. I really appreciate your input on the topic of fear.

      • Jean,
        You raise two great points:
        Small slow steps are the best unless it’s bungee jumping;) I think all real change is slow. A good example is when people who lose weight fast can’t keep it off. It’s not real change.

        Support is wonderful. We don’t need to go it alone. My four coaching calls and private FB page will allow me to have contact with the attendees. It’s going to be so exciting!

  4. Great post! I just wrote about fear today and having a story about ourselves and life that keeps us fearful as well. Glad to find your site!

  5. I love Tess’s writing, and she is a great model in her own life of living bold and out loud. I enjoyed learning more of her story. And Tess, that is a terrific photo of you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the interview! Yes, Tess is a great model of living bold and a wonderful person to lead this course. Thanks, Galen.

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