"Do, or do not, there is no try." Yoda's wise words to Luke Skywalker rang through my house the other day when my son told us he would "try" to mow the lawn. He wanted to, but didn't know if he could. My husband's Yoda-like response brought a little smile to my face. Then I wondered, maybe I need that same advice in my life.

When faced with a challenging, or unfamiliar situation, what is your response? Maybe you have been through a messy divorce and are now faced with someone you care deeply for and the possibility of another marriage, but are afraid of the results. Maybe you want to improve your situation by going back to school, but are not sure if you can handle the load. Maybe you have a dream, a passion, but don't know if you'll be good at it. Maybe you need to reachout for help, but don't know if your strong enough. What is really holding you back? What do you really need?

When faced with situations in life where you hesitate, or halt, because of fear, anxiety or other emotions think about the courage we show every day. Every day we wake up and send our family out the door knowing there are earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, tornadoes and many other forms of natual disasters waiting to happen. We strap them into a 2 ton steel box and hurdle them down the asphault at alarming speeds, sometimes while were distracted. We consume food from grocery stores or resteraunts not knowing where it originated from and pump volitil gas into our home to fuel our furnaces.

Here are some tools to help you overcome, and try, what you never thought you could.


Courage comes from a french word that means heart. Your heart pumps life through you, it stores your innermost emotions and love. So how do we have courage? Or, maybe we should ask, how do we have heart? Courage is the ability to use our faith. When we have faith in something, we believe, when we have courage, we do. Taking our faith in ourselves and using it is hard, but learing to trust and have faith in yourself is essential. Courage is the ability to take one step forward at a time, or even just to try again.


When I ask my 4-year-old to help I sometimes get the response, "I'm not strong enough mommy." I patiently look down and smile replying, "How do you expect to become strong enough if you don't try?" Sometimes I need to follow my own advice. When you look at your strength, and the task at hand, ask yourself these questions.

  • Is it safe? Can I safely try without serious damage?

  • Is it good? Is this for a positive outcome?

  • What is the result if I fail? Is it a total loss, or can I learn something?

Asking yourself these questions can help you rationalize your anxiety, and recognize the inner strength you have to take the leap you need to. Maybe you have an idea you want to market, or believe you deserve a raise. If you feel confident after asking these questions that failure is okay, you may realize that finding your inner strength can sometimes be as simple as trying.

Take stock of your fear

How do you feel? What are you really afraid of? Rick Hansen, Ph.D, a psychologist, says overcoming worry and having courage can be learned. "Several times a day, notice that you're basically alright ... Notice that, while feeling alright right now, you can still get things done and deal with problems. The fear that bad things will happen if you let yourself feel OK is unfounded. Let this sink in. You do not need to fear feeling alright!" He goes on to explaine that if we let ourselves be okay, we can create a great resource in ourselves and stand up to our fears.


What are you really afraid of? If you apply for that job you want to apply for, what are you really afraid of? If you let yourself love again, after a loss, what are you really afraid of? Sometimes our fears can be founded in irrational places, knowing where it comes from exactly can help. We may find we are afraid of trying for fear of failure, or there is a very real fear of heartache. Take a step back and rationalize this fear, make a list if you have to. What will happen if you take the chance, what will happen if you don't. For example, if debating on going back to school right now. Your list may look like this:

Going to school

  • Better job opportunities with a master's degree

  • More education

  • More life experiences

  • More debt

  • Hard work for two more years

Not going to school

  • Have a stable job

  • More time to do what I want

  • Less debt.

In reviewing this list you may realize your fear. Maybe you are more afraid of being stagnant then actually going back to school. Rationalization can be very helpful sometimes.

Be Positive

Sometimes our negative thoughts, or negativity towards ourselves, can stop us from being great. Being positive gives you the power to say, 'I can!' when you normally would say, 'I can't.' A little positive thinking can go a long way.

This life can be complicated, and full of anxiety, if we let it. You have the ability to take that first step. Don't be afraid of the unkown, learn to embrace life.

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