How to Overcome Fear

by | Nov 26, 2012 | Empowering | 8 comments

In 1988, Helen Thayer walked away from civilization and toward the North Pole, with just her dog, Charlie, for support. She hiked 364 miles in 27 days over snow and ice, and under the constant threat of polar bear attack. She braved minus 50-degree weather, hunger and thirst, loneliness and fatigue. She was the first woman to hike or ski to the magnetic North Pole alone. She was 50 years old.

To hear Thayer talk about it now, nearly 25 years later, the details are still harrowing. Her bravery, unfathomable.

That doesn’t mean that she did not feel fear. Thayer admits she was afraid.

“It’s OK to be afraid,” Thayer says. “It’s how you handle the fear.”

In our daily lives, few of us will ever face such trials, ever put ourselves in such danger. Yet, she did so willingly and overcame her fear to achieve something no woman had ever done before.

Which begs the question: Is fear holding you back? If you could overcome your fear, what could you accomplish?

There’s a saying that I like to remind myself of when I’m faced with an uncomfortable situation. “Courage is being afraid … and doing it anyway.”

Surely Thayer was afraid she’d freeze to death or be mauled by a polar bear. But her goal was so compelling, she pushed on anyway.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we all shuck our daily lives to trek through the arctic. Yet, on a daily basis, we’re all faced with frightening prospects and difficult situations. Whether it’s confronting a tormentor, speaking in public, or quitting a mundane job to take the chance to live the kind of life we’ve always wanted, fear can get in the way. If we let it.

So, I challenge you to look at something you’re afraid of, to think of that one thing that’s holding you back because of fear. And do it anyway. Embrace courage. Court change. And see where your life takes you. To the North Pole, maybe? Or perhaps to just a better, truer version of you?





  1. Bernard Walters

    Fear comes from not knowing or understanding something. What most fear is uncertainty and loss. To overcome this, it takes knowing the root of fear and not letting it occupy your thoughts any farther then realizing its cause. We negate the cause and release the fear therefore gaining control over our life. Great article

  2. Cheryl

    I’ve leave in fear all my life. Started when I was a child. Being beaten and rape but I wanna be free, because I’ve let fear rob me of almost my hold life. Afraid of everything.

    • Stacie Zinn Roberts

      I’m so sorry to hear about your past and how it has impacted your life. I hope you can find the strength, and maybe some help, to move past it and live a life free of fear.

  3. Andrea Carroll

    Very enjoyable…as usual. I love reading your blogs.

  4. Leslie Larson

    Great post Stacie!

  5. Charlotte

    I’ve had several crushing blows over the last three years. One was caring for my mother — also my best friend — after she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. A year and a half later, I held her in my arms as she took her final breaths, and that experienced changed me forever. I feel blessed that I was able to be there for her, and I treasure the memories. Unfortunately, my professional life and my finances crumbled, and I lost everything. My career plunged. I’ve authored 50 books, am a NY Times best-seller, but I am terrified of taking that first step, putting words on a page, so I write for other people. On March 25th, my mom will have been gone two years. I can’t seem to shake off all my doubts and fears. My agent doesn’t call as often. I think I need to have a few more successes under my belt before I strike out on my own. My clients really appreciate me, are thrilled with my work, and I am able to stay focused, which is a BIG thing. I need to move on, before fear and doubt become my best friends, but I lack direction.

    • Stacie Zinn Roberts

      I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I lost my father 17 years ago, and, I have to tell you, it took me about 2 years to feel normal again. Grieving is something we all do at our own pace. However, I am concerned that it has impacted every part of your life so drastically. Yes, I agree you need to learn to move on. No, don’t allow fear and doubt to be your friends, however strangely comforting they might be. As a writer, you have so much to give. As a woman, there is so much more beauty out there for you to experience. If your mom was indeed your best friend, then you also know that she would not have wanted her passing to end your life. Please take small steps toward happiness. Do things just for you. Find a counselor who can help. Female friends are a lifeline. Reach out to groups that share an interest: other writers, a workout buddy. Join the human race again. It is time. You deserve it. I wish you peace.