How to Live with Boldness When You’re Really Scared

We were invited by friends to join them and three others in chartering a sailboat and sailing down the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.  It sounded idyllic so we immediately said yes.

Jennifer and I planned to fly into Zagreb in the north, rent a car and drive through Croatia by ourselves. A few days later we’d meet up with everyone in Split.

Sounded perfect yet the closer we got to the date the more anxious I became.




First, all I really knew about Croatia is what I remember reading about the Balkan War.

Second, Jennifer and I would be driving by ourselves where we don’t speak the language nor know the customs.

Third, if something happened to us, how would anyone help us?

Fourth, we’d be sailing for seven days on a 53 foot sailboat with a total of eight of us, four of whom we’d never met.

Fifth, the sea and weather conditions were unpredictable.  Yet, no matter what we still had to sail everyday and I can get a bit sea sick on occasion.


A few times close to departure I wondered, “What have we gotten into?”


Yet, we’d made the commitment and paid the money so when the day came we boarded the plane.

It reminded me of how many times Jennifer and I have launched out in new life adventures together.  Not just trips but whole career and life changes.  And at some point I’ve always been scared.

Yet, I’ve also found you need to launch in boldness anyway if you want to experience the adventure.


Robert Frost wrote, “Freedom lies in being bold.”


Then you experience what only boldness brings.


You actually start feeling bold.  You discover courage you never imagined.

And you find your courage is sufficient for the challenges.  You have enough for today to make it one more step toward your goals.

That boldness becomes easier to put on in the future also.  Every time you launch and succeed it gives you more confidence for the next adventure.

You encourage others who see your boldness and want join with you.  They help you succeed and encourage you as well.

Finally, you accomplish the things that only by acting boldly will you accomplish.  And that brings its own reward.


Paul wrote, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power and love and calmness.”


But how can you launch boldly when frankly you’re scared to death?


I’ve struggled with worry a lot so perhaps am not the best to answer.

Yet, after launching in many adventures I’ll tell you what I’ve learned.


First, realize being scared is normal. 

If you’re not probably somethings a little off.  Acting boldly only means you choose to act in spite of your fear.


Second, make sure of your reason for launching. 

What do you want to accomplish?  Why?  Is it worth the risks?  Thinking about the larger reason gives you a focus when you fear.


Third, analyze the risks and odds of success. 

Have others accomplished this?  How?  This gives you a realistic assessment.


Fourth, examine the downside.

If something goes wrong can I live with it?  What will I do to mitigate it?  This helps you limit your fear.


Fifth, set up a plan for success. 

How have others accomplished this?  What were their strategies and techniques?  Give yourself every advantage.


Sixth, stay loose.

Expect the unforeseen.  Adapt and recreate.  Just go with the flow at times.


Seventh, take small steps. 

Keep your steps measured and manageable.  Then you keep the detours minor.


Eighth, finally launch. 

At some point all the planning and thinking needs to lead you to launch.  You can never answer all the questions ahead.  You can’t anticipate all the detours so don’t try.  Just answer enough to launch then keep on going.

What I’ve found is once I’m underway the anxiety reduces and the boldness shows up.


And then you find yourself accomplishing the adventure you’ve only dreamed of.


*2 Timothy 1: 7

Photo Credit: Serena, Creative Commons