How to Let Go of Fear & Step Into Courage

How do we let go of fear? The first step is to acknowledge that we are afraid. This is not a bad thing, in fact, saying how we are genuinely feeling is a very good thing indeed. In systemic work we call this “acknowledging what is.” When you can look even the most awful negative things in the face and acknowledge that it simply is the way it is, you then experience freedom to make a different choice and take new steps. This is the pivot point for all changes in our lives.

Acknowledging what is, is often the first step that allows us to step into the present moment.  We stop with our inner excuses or avoidances. This is often the first time we are able to let go a little of the harmful fears of failure. We are able to create space between us and that all-consuming fear monster. Once we fully acknowledge what is, that buzzy feeling in our heads or queasy feeling in our stomachs, or perhaps even an inability to breathe easily start to subside. This is a clear indication that we are starting to let go of fear.

It is helpful to take a deep breath and do a minute or two of breathing exercises once you’ve achieved this. After all, you’ve just run an internal marathon and crossed a finish line.

New Things

The interesting thing is, when we achieve this state we are teaching our bodies to move from stress to joy and peace. In this state our hearts can open, our gut is able to relax, and our brain can begin working clearly and thinking new thoughts. The good thing about taking such a courageous step consciously is that it gives us a little bit of space away from old habits.

Now, quite frankly, the best way of opening our minds and hearts to possibility is by focusing on what we want. The more excited we can be about our goals, the more courageous we are able to become. Then we can start setting the goals to get us to the first step, and then the next step, and then the next, and so on until we arrive at the place where we can experience freedom and inner peace.

But there is something important to understand about fear. It isn’t there to terrorize us. One of the amazing things about fear is that it is a signal from our nervous system that something needs to change. So, next time you experience anxiety, rather than being triggered into a negative emotion or tailspin of fear and anxiety, notice that what you’re experiencing is simply a strong clue for a need for a change. How elegant is that?

If you experience anxiety, have panic attacks or struggle to let go of harmful fears of failure, those clues may well have their roots in your genealogy or in the events in your own life that have shaped your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

The minute you say “Yes” to new things and make that change irresistibly exciting, you will find your way past all your concerns about an uncertain future along with your excuses and limitations that have kept you stuck. Let me give you a quick example of how this works.

Stretch Yourself

Let’s say that you want to go on vacation. And not just any vacation. You want to do something that’s a bit special or that seems slightly adventuresome. A vacation that inspires your sense of freedom and wonder. (Wonder, by the way, is a good thing for growth!) You’ve always wanted to fly, and you know of a nearby paragliding retreat place up in the mountains.

People tell you that you’re crazy, and you find yourself terrified to take the first step to make it happen. Friends tell you all the negative things that could possibly happen going so far beyond the social norms for someone your age. However, you keep having this strong desire to fly beyond your normal day-to-day life. It may not make a great deal of sense to you, but for once you ignore the naysayers. In a way you are on a secret journey and can sense the stretch your spirit needs.

Soaring over the mountains on your paragliding adventure, there’s an enormous feeling of accomplishment. A sense of strong confidence fills you as you move into a different dimension. It’s a good thing called expansion and it moves you beyond the norms and limitations of your daily life and into a new space. Your courageous movement embracing new ways got you here. Who knows how far you will fly from here?

Choice and Courage

Limitations are always coupled to possibilities. For a large part of our lives, our fear of change keeps us unaware of wonderful possibilities. Our natural instinct is to cling to the fears that we use to frighten ourselves … until the day we don’t.

When you hear about someone doing something extraordinary, it simply means that they chose to do something different and kept choosing it all the way to success. This takes two things. Choice, and the courage to act on that choice..

In systemic work and constellations, we dimensionalize (set up in 3D) the fear you have, so that you can see it and interact with it. By making the negative things conscious and the invisible visible, we are able to bring our fear to the surface, take a deep breath, engage with it and create breakthroughs from fear to freedom.

For example, “Joan,” a client of mine, had an inexplicable fear of success. She was quite sure if she made it to the top it would spell her downfall. She couldn’t explain why, but she knew that once the got what she wanted she was destined to lose everything.

There was no rational explanation for her fear. She was driven to succeed, and she’d put in long hours to reach a top spot in her company. Yet as soon as success arrived, she found herself in the middle of worry-filled days, harmful fears of failure, and panic attacks that made her unable to function properly at work. She was caught between what she wanted and what she thought would destroy her.

In a constellation session, Joan remembered that her grandmother had told her that her success on stage as an actress had been her downfall. That she lost her husband—the love of her life—because her fame was his breaking point. When he left, she fell apart and her career faltered, leaving her ruined.

Can you see how Joan’s genealogy and ancestral DNA is coloring her life? That emotional event is long over. But because the negative emotion from that experience was never processed by her grandmother or her mother, it had echoed down to her—an ancestral pattern asking to be seen, debriefed and released.


Power of Now by Eckert Tolle, he invites you to stay in the present moment because that is the space where amazing things can occur.

I invited Joan to pick representatives for each member of her family. (This act in itself can be a key to change. The very act of setting up your fear where you can see it creates shift and movement.) Next, I invited her to take a deep breath and really look at the family pattern in front of her. (It’s interesting to observe when and how quickly we hold our breath. It’s a natural instinct when we experience anxiety or we’re on the edge of a breakthrough.)

She found herself suddenly in tears, seeing her grandparents and understanding the event and resulting emotional-behavioral patterns that had run in her family, leading to her peculiar type of fear. She described it as a veil lifting. She could see three generations of women, all with a strong appetite for success and a deep fear that it would cost them everything as it had her grandmother. 

Finally, understanding where the fear had come from, it hit her like a ton of bricks that she had a choice to either repeat her grandmother’s fate, or turn the emotional DNA around and embrace the success her grandmother, grandfather, and even her mother, had not been able to accept. She then found herself able to step beyond her fear of failure for the very first time.

The minute we gather the courage to lean in and see what’s running the show is the moment change takes place. Not only do we move from fear to self-confidence, but we also take a giant leap forward from survival to adventure. Once we experience our deepest fear in a larger context outside of our mind, we can let go of fear and step into true freedom.

 I look forward to showing you how to release your fear DNA and unleash your fullest potential. For more information about my 2024 events click here.