by Sunny Simon

The other day at a family outing I observed Alina, my fearless four year old niece who thinks all things are possible. This youngster takes any challenge seriously. At the gathering arranged to help a friend move, Alina first assessed the situation to understand the process. After contemplating for a few moments, she strode up to the burly guys moving large boxes off the truck and in a voice bigger than her small stature commanded, “Give me one of the boxes. I can handle it.”

Not all of us have the self-confidence of a four year old. I asked my friend Barbara, a successful entrepreneur, if her courage to confront daunting goals came naturally. With a wise smile she shared her story. As an extremely shy child, Barb found it difficult be assertive as a young adult. Instinctively she knew that in order to overcome shyness, she needed to challenge herself by creating a scenario that forced her to engage with strangers.

Barb’s solution was to apply for a position in sales with a consumer credit reporting company that required her to call on prospective clients including banks, and credit unions. Her job was to visit a potential client, introduce herself, connect with the management and determine if the company she represented could provide their services. Often the job required Barbara to make a presentation to the client’s employees.

Barb’s plan worked. Knowing assertiveness was a condition of the position, forced her to accomplish something very scary or face termination. Without the conditional pressure to conquer her fear of shyness, Barb may have remained in her shell. By flexing that ‘assertive muscle’ everyday, she gained increased confidence.


Someone once said, “Fears are like annoying relatives. Ignoring them will not make them go away.” Facing your fear head-on as Barbara did is a viable way to deal with those demons that make your heart race and your palms sweaty. Successful individuals know taking on a challenge is the pathway to eliminating barriers.

So, muster up a little courage like Barbara and make a plan to conquer a fear that is holding you back. Borrow a little moxie from your four-year old inner child and know all things truly are possible. You just need to take a deep breath, and initiate the first step. Once you realize the power in confronting those debilitating doubts, your confidence will soar and eventually your dreams become reality.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at