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4 Traits of the Courageous Woman

by Dawn Damon


“What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage. What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage. What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage.” –Cowardly Lion


What would you do if the drag of fear wasn’t tethered to your soul; if scary stories and whispers of doom were replaced with curiosity and courage?


You would rise.


As a midlife woman, this is our season to rise brave; to face the fears of an unknown future, filled with change and transitions, and bravely say, Despite any fear, I will courageously live my best life!


Courage. The word itself conjures up visions of a valiant woman. The meaning originally comes from the Latin word Cor meaning heart.


Living with courage is living with all your heart. It’s living out your dreams in spite of the presence of doubt and fear; willing to risk failure in order to be true to yourself and the authentic person God created you to be.


Author, Piers Anthony says this about courage:

“Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that's courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward.” 

In God’s Word, God told a man named Joshua to be courageous. This wasn’t a simple pat on the back and a pep talk to bolster confidence. No, God was calling Joshua to shift his thinking from defeat to victory; to change the narrative in his mind from one of cowardice to bravery. In other words, God told Joshua, “Choose courage!” See Joshua 1:6-9.


That’s right. Courage is not just an emotion that comes to a select few. We can all choose courage despite the feelings of fear and timidity.


The key is in the shift.


We humans have the habit of focusing on the negative side of any challenge or opportunity. Neuroscience shows us that our brain is twice as sensitive to loss than it is for potential gain, and that hard-wiring informs our desire to stay safe. Negative inner dialogue rationalizes and goes something like this: This isn’t going to work. What if I fail? It’s too difficult, I can’t do it. Often, we focus on what will go wrong and what we stand to lose. With defeatist chatter in our heads, no wonder we remain paralyzed, with no inertia to live out our dreams.


Ah, but when we shift, we change our perspective from what we stand to lose to what we stand to gain. The shift in perspective helps us to fix our attention on the outcome, the reward. Courage then, rises up within us and bravery grows as a result of right thinking. The courageous choice is made easier, when we tell ourselves the right story.


You are called to pursue your brave vision. Don’t lose out on life’s opportunities and open doors because of a brave-heart deficit. Like Joshua, you must be very strong and courageous to capture God’s purpose for your life. Conquering fear is critical to your assignment.


Here are four actions you’ll need to take to muster your courage:


1.     Name Your Fear

Admit and acknowledge your fear and give it a name. Ask yourself, “What specifically am I afraid of?” Be precise in defining the fear you struggle with. When you evaluate and name your fear, you contain it. You’ll discover that the thing you dread has limits.


It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.” —Mark Twain


2.     Act, Even When You’re Afraid

As I’ve written already, the emotion of fear won’t leave you altogether. Fear comes to all of us, flying over our heads like a bird in flight. But you still have the power of choice when fear does swarm over you—let it build a nest in your head and peck away at your brain, or capture and cage it. Sometimes, feelings of fear serve a good purpose. So don’t ignore your emotions. But don’t wait to take steps of action until you have NO fear. March on BraveHeart!


“’Go back?’ he thought. ‘No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!’ So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ―J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


3.     Focus on the Win

In every pursuit of honorable goals, you must define the win. What do you want to accomplish? Be clear on what you hope to gain and then keep your heart focused on the benefits. Jesus Himself endured the temporary pain and suffering of the cross because of the joy awaiting Him. He knew a permanent and victorious outcome was worth the sacrifice. Hebrews 12:2.


You too have victory ahead of you if you endure. Keep your eyes on the prize and ask yourself:

  • How will the quality of my life improve when I gain the victory?

  • What accomplishments will I make and how will they impact my world?

  • What will I gain?


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” –Lord Chesterfield


4.     Show-Up 

Sometimes all you can do is show up. I’ve seen bravery melt like wax when we overthink a problem. Too much analysis elevates anxiety and causes procrastination. Instead, don’t underestimate the incredible value of taking one small step at a time. Just show up and the rest will unfold.


Inch by inch, everything’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it can really be hard.” –The Worm


Courage determines the perimeters of your life. Through brave and bold living, you’ll expand boundaries and increase in every area of your life. 


“Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” –Joshua 1:9, The Message

Dawn Damon is a bestselling, award-winning author, speaker, global communicator, podcaster, and life coach, whose most recent book has been released, The Making of a BraveHearted Woman: Courage, Confidence, and Vision in Midlife. For more info visit



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