If we don’t give fear the respect it deserves it will out-power us every time. 


One of my favourite scenes from the iconic movie Dirty Dancing is a conversation that takes place between Johnny (Patrica Swayze) and Baby (Jennifer Grey). Baby had gone to her father (a doctor) for help because a friend of Johnny’s had received an abortion and was in urgent need of medical help. By doing so Baby exposed her involvement with Johnny and risked her family’s love and respect (this movie took place in the early 60s when such things were stigmatized). In the scene, responding to her act of courage, Johnny says, “You’re not scared of anything” to which Baby replies “Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I’ve done, I’m scared of who I am……”.


I was a very young woman when I first hear Baby utter these words and I remember clearly my inner voice saying – ‘I feel that way too!’ 


I saw this movie again just a few weeks ago and even though I am much older and hopefully wiser those same words still resonated deep inside me. I am scared of everything……. 

I believe one of the biggest injustices we do to ourself is to underestimate the power of fear. By doing so we allow this ancient emotion, which is dedicated to our survival, to influence our beliefs, choices, and actions in ways that lead to our undoing. Once we start to cover over our feelings of fear and deny they are there, fear then has the ability to unconsciously seep up and whisper in our ear, “DON’T”:

  • Don’t have the conversation 
  • Don’t take the risk 
  • Don’t share you true self

We then make up a story to justify our decision. Saying things like, “They won’t listen anyway”, “nothing will change”, “who am I to rock the boat”. Now our actions feel logical and make sense. Instead of feeling afraid – we feel in control. Except we are not – fear is. 


It is not showing weakness to acknowledge we are afraid. In fact, it is only through acceptance of fear that we are then able to tap into our courage. This is the wisdom of the old adage, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. We can then channel fear’s latent power into our own deliberate authority. Choosing to act on what we believe is best for ourself and others, despite the discomfort and perceived risk.


So the next time you are faced with a difficult decision or dilemma: pause, feel the fear, respect the fear, and pick the choice that feels the bravest.  


Let’s all channel the boldness of Baby.

Want to learn how to channel the power of FEAR into Brave Action? Join me in January 2021 for BEYOND CONFLICT!

Share This