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Make Fear Your Friend

by Vidya Sury January 16, 2013 38 comments
Make fear your friend

One of my favourite taglines is “Nothing is Impossible” or, to put it another way, “Everything is possible”. It took me years to believe that, though. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. I’ll tell you why shortly.

First, a story. There is something that holds us back from achieving our true potential. And that monster is “fear”. Now, I am not a scaredy-pants, really. But I grew up in a household that believed that girls shall be seen and not heard and most of the time, when an adult raised his or her voice, there was no way I could reply and have my say.

Can you imagine an entire childhood spent like that? It sort of set the stage for the growing years. While I instinctively reacted in the appropriate way, the words would get stuck in my throat. My Mother was a single parent and she was always anxious that I shouldn’t say something that would annoy the “elders”. Most of the time, this meant bottling it all up inside. You know how that feels? Not good!

Fear, False Evidence Appearing Real

On the one hand, my Mom was encouraging me to be bold, speak up. And on the other, was the home situation where we were expected to be “obedient” and do as we were told. Don’t get me wrong – my folks were not tyrants. There was plenty of love in the family – and they were only following a tradition where one could never dispute what the eldest members in the family decreed – simply because they were considered more experienced.

Point is – all this cultivated a habit – a dangerous one where I would hesitate before saying what I thought. Luckily, a year away from home in the sixth grade cured that. I confess that even today, there are times when the old fear nudges me, especially when I am anxious about something.

Do you sometimes feel like that and wish you didn’t?

Are you...

  • Hanging on by a thread?
  • Sick of being stuck in jobs, relationships and routines?
  • Ready to bust out of your comfort zone and live free?

I have an amazing ecourse to share with you that will give you everything you need to unearth your innate courage and help you to reconnect with the brave person within.

Created by my friend, Tess Marshall,  author of the awesome blog, The Bold Life,  the 30 Days to Bold ecourse is full of tools, techniques, wisdom, and best of all the support and community.

I am excited to share our conversation here with you.

Welcome, Tess! I am delighted to have you here today! Please may you introduce yourself to the readers of this blog?

Five years ago I began working as a “courage couch.” I help my clients do what it takes to embrace their fears and live in The Bold Zone. I currently work as a writer, speaker, and courage coach. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and had a private practice in Michigan for 10 years. I love to guide and inspire people to overcome their fears and live-out-loud. I write at The Bold Life, for an amazing and growing community, that I love dearly. My work has allowed me to reach people all over the world.

My passion is to help others grow through their fears and take the action needed to create and live a meaningful and inspired life. I’ve written three books and created a brand new course, 30 Days to Bold.

30 Days to Bold – that’s quite a title. Tess, you already offer a very successful ecourse “Take your fear and shove it” So why 30 Days To Bold?

I understand what it is like to be paralyzed by fear. In the past, I made mistakes, I spent my time freaked out, playiTess Marshall at Vidya Sury'sng small, denying and hiding from fear.

I sunk into depression and I hated my life. One day, when I couldn’t stand the pain, craziness or drama any longer… I reached out for help. I hired a therapist, attended a support group, found a mentor, hired a coach and put into practice what I learned.
Little by little, I turned my life around. I created a new story. The payoff of my post-fear life…I raised my family, I saved my marriage, became a successful therapist, a coach, an author, a professional speaker, a blogger, a writer…I achieved things I never would have thought possible.

I’ve had a successful career, over 20 years of experience, as a therapist, courage coach, speaker and writer. The course provides the proven tools and techniques that I have used myself and with clients.

In the end, I’ve been blessed with very loving and brilliant mentors and teachers throughout my lifetime. It’s my turn to give.

That’s amazing! I’ve read your story as a long time follower of your blog. I know you are transforming lives by helping people conquer fear.  Hmm. Tess, may I ask you a very personal question? I know you explained why you created 30 days to bold…but could you share a big fear that YOU managed to overcome? How did you become bold, is what I am asking.

I grew up on a produce farm with nine siblings. We were all very competitive for our parents love and attention. It was speak up or lose out. We also began working in the fields and at the Farmer’s Market as young children. At the market, we learned how to sell and turn our customers into friends! We became experts in sales by age 13! That’s a childhood of bold action.

Tess, that sounds exactly like my Mom’s family! Please, do go on!

My biggest challenge, thus far, was getting married and pregnant when I was 17, a senior in high school. Our only plan was “love!” I was the mom to four little girls at age 22. My third pregnancy was twins. We really didn’t have a plan until we began seeing a counselor 10 years later. That was a turning point. We finally had the tools needed to move forward in a healthy and happy manner. There is nothing more difficult than raising children. Nothing! I was only 38 when the twins graduated from high school.

A mother is a coach! I didn’t know it at the time, but they helped me become the courage coach I am today! There is no difference between you and I. Together, we can unearth your courageous self. It’s never too late. The time is now.

How to overcome fear

You are so right. A Mother is a coach and I was very fortunate mine was a teacher by profession and a fantastic mentor to me. Please tell us about a difficult time and how you overcame your fear.

My daughter Kristy was born without a right hand. I was afraid for her. I knew life would be difficult at times and of course you want to save your kids from pain. I pushed her to do things she didn’t think she could. She also was determined to do what her sisters did.

Kristy learned how to play sports using her stub. She played basketball and soccer. She went on to the University of Chicago and played there for two years as well, before she reached her limits. Now she runs marathons, participates in triathlons and works for an athletic shoe company.

I didn’t let Kristy off the hook. Didn’t let her make excuses. She used to say when she was a little girl, “I can’t do the dishes because I only have one hand.” I’d reply, “Oh yes you can, it will just take you longer.” The way I overcame all my fears around my parenting and marriage was one step at a time.

You give new meaning to the phrase “Nothing is Impossible”, Tess.  Kristy is such a great example!  I remember your post about how Kristy kicked her obstacles to the curb to live her dream. What do you hope that people will take away after completing 30 Days to Bold?

I want them to see that they are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with them. We all fail, we all make mistakes and we all have flaws. I want them to own their power and innate goodness. I want them to use their innate courage and have faith in themselves. I want to see them use their gifts, talents and to offer them to others along the path. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed in making the world a better place to live! Dennis Waitley said, “There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

Where fear is, happiness is not

So specifically, who would benefit the most from 30 days to bold?

  • Anyone who is tired of false beliefs, facades and wants to live authentically
  • Anyone needing practical tools and concrete tips on how to grab hold of their fears—with a sense of power, excitement and bold
  • Anyone who is interested in joining a community of people who are not waiting for “someday” to change their lives
  • Anyone who wants to overcome excuses, rejection and failure and move from victim to creator
  • Anyone who is sick and tired of paralyzing fear and is ready for greater and deeper success, love and happiness

Whoa! That’s a lot of people who can use this course to change their lives and follow their dreams fearlessly! Thank you so much, Tess, for your presence here today!

Dear friends,

Make fear work for you instead of against you
Unearth your innate strength and freedom

The day is today, because there is no “someday

Remember: Success is written in your DNA. You were born whole, innocent, and courageous. Recover your power in order to go forth boldly and share your gifts with the world!

I urge you to sign up by February 1, 2013 to instantly to also receive Tess’s “Take Your Fear and Shove It” ecourse for free. It has helped over 1000 people live free. I personally endorse this, being one of the lucky persons to receive the course directly from Tess.

Course begins on February 18, 2013.

Question for you:

 What is one fear that holds you back, that you would like to overcome? Please share!


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Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy January 16, 2013 at 7:29 am

Two awesome people sharing one blog today! Can life get any better? 🙂

I appreciated your story you started with, Vidya. Thanks goodness you went off to school in the 6th grade! Just think if we didn’t have a bold Vidya willing to speak her mind!

Loved the interview!

Tess, sounds like an amazing product you’ve put together. Shaking off fear as an obstacle to living life at its potential is the story of too many lives. May your work be blessed with lots of people stepping into and beyond their fears.
Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy recently posted…50 things You Don’t Know about Me (and may not want to)

Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Thanks so much for support for both of us. I agree the world wouldn’t be the same without a Bold Vidya!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Ken, You must have been awake pretty late … I was pleasantly see you here soon after I published this post. You’re right on about Tess’s program. I am sure it will transform many lives! Hugs to you!

Thanks for the lovely words, Tess! I am blessed to know you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Let Go A Little

Harleena Singh January 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

I was lost reading your interview Tess, and I loved the post as a whole Vidya!

Gosh! To be a young mother at that age and to undergo all that you did is commendable! It all couldn’t have worked had you not learnt to overcome your fears or make it your friend. I did read Kristy’s story at your blog Tess, and was truly amazed at her courage and to the level she’s reached today. It all happened because of you first, and of course her own will-power and determination.

Thanks for sharing such a lovely interview Vidya! Yes…Moms are great where they teach their kids about how to get over their fears…mine was another one like yours (you know that already!)
Harleena Singh recently posted…12 Steps to a New Beginning in Life

Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm


Thanks for your kind words. My daughter Kristy is coming this weekend with her hubs. They’ll be running a half marathon here. I’m going to interview her and ad it to the course!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thanks, dear Harleena, for your comment. Tess shines as an example!

Dear Tess, I’d love to read the interview with Kristy! There is nothing that touches the heart more than a true story of boldness!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Loving and Giving

Ben January 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

I can really identify with your upbringing making it difficult for you to speak out or express yourself. My efforts to disagree or express myself as a kid were just met with alot of anger.

I have had to do alot of work to change this pattern and have made massive improvements. But I can always improve more, the journey is never over. 🙂

Ben recently posted…But I don’t know what to do next!

Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm


We’re all improving! I’ve always had a voice and a loud one at that. Often people think it’s easier for bold people. Wrong. We have to work just as hard at bringing our energy down and holding back as you do speaking up.

In the end it’s all so wonderful. The world would be boring if we were all the same;)
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Hi Ben, welcome! I know what you’re saying! It does take time to change things. I remember, when I wanted to appear for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) exams, my folks just laughed, in that disbelieving way. Some major ambition squashing was done…and it was great that I managed to get to college. I only got the guts to rebel and leave home at the age of 24, after which I got the job of my choice…and continued my education, going on to complete an MBA. 🙂 Still, I am grateful for what I had.

Thank you for your presence here today.

Tess, you are absolutely right about it being equally tough for bold people! 🙂 I’ve seen people take advantage of my aunt, who was a toughie, when they wanted someone to speak for them. 🙂 I love that your voice is out there, changing lives!
Vidya Sury recently posted…When Children Need Freedom From Stress

vanita January 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm

My mom lived this way all her childhood. Seen but not heard. Do what you’re told. Even, live your parents dream for you as your dreams should stay as such. I think the final straw was when my mom earned a scholarship to go to London to study to become a nurse, got her papers/visas in order and then her father changed his mind and said no, it wasn’t suitable for her to go. He then arranged for her to marry someone he liked, though she never knew the man. Though she spent her life afraid of her parent’s disapproval, this one thing, marrying someone she did not know, was not something she would do. She never dated, she didn’t spend time with friends, she gave up her scholarship, but spending her life with someone she didn’t choose…It was the first time she stood up for herself. And she kept right on. SO I, of course, have never learned to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes you hear me five minutes before u see me. 😀
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Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Wow what a story about your mom! You are funny…sometimes you hear me five minutes before you see me. Can I please borrow that line!!!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

vanita January 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

i would usually charge royalties…
vanita recently posted…Why Google Plus is Better For This Blogger

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hey Vani, My Mom had a similar story. She was married off at 13, ill-treated by her in-laws and had me at 18. Three months before I was born, my biological father went to the US to pursue higher studies, married an American there and preferred to pretend we did not exist. I’ve never seen my father. After a couple of years of torture, my Mom was literally thrown out of her in-laws’ place….we somehow managed to return to my maternal Grandmother’s house in a different city.

She continued her schooling, trained to be a teacher…and grabbed life by the horns. We struggled as the money was tight…but she was an amazing individual. You know, she and I got our Masters’ degree almost at the same time. 🙂 We literally encouraged each other, holding hands. 🙂 Now, she was Bold. Life was not easy.

So hats off to your Mom! And you know I love you, Sis!

Tess, Vanita totally kicks ass. 🙂 And she really has a gorgeous voice!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Fear Your Friend

vanita January 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

sis i can see why you’re so awesome. you get it from your mom. i hope my girls will one day write something similar about me showing their pride of having me for a mom
vanita recently posted…Why Google Plus is Better For This Blogger

Debbie January 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I here you. I to was taught to listen and not question.

Great interview, Vidya. My hat goes off to you Tess. It is wonderful to hear how we can overcome what has been handed to us.

Your course sound like something everone could use.
Thank you for sharing,

Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm


We can’t change how we were brought up but we are responsible for what we do with it now. Thanks for stopping by with your kind words. I appreciate you.
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi Debbie! Thank you! Tess is giving so much in her course. I am excited to think how many people are going to benefit! Hugs to you, Debbie!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Fear Your Friend

My Inner Chick January 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

—Great Interview.
so inpiring & eye-opening.

Love the “Hear me before you SEE me”

I identify. Xxx Kisssss
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Tess The Bold Life January 17, 2013 at 12:53 am

Thanks! I’m still laughing at that one and I’m telling my hubs. He’ll say “If that’s not the truth!” I won’t be going quietly in the night. That’s for sure!!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Hugs Kim! Love you more than 25 pelicans preening in the pond!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Let Go A Little

Elle January 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

Superb Vidya and Tess. You are both true inspirations in my world and Tess’s programme is an invaluable tool to open the doorway to freedom from the fear and limitation that holds us back.

Thank you both.

Love Elle
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Tess The Bold Life January 17, 2013 at 12:52 am

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways;)
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Dearest Elle! You are right! Tess is a shining light for those in the darkness of uncertainty and fear.

Hugs! You Inspire Me!
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Betsy/Zen Mama January 17, 2013 at 12:38 am

Vidya, Such an interesting story about being seen and not heard. And Tess, your story of being a young mother – such a challenge. It’s amazing how those challenges which seems so hard at the time, shape us for what we will be later in life.

What a wonderful interview! You both are an inspiration to me. So glad to have you in my life.
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Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Dear Betsy, Blessed to know you and Tess! Yes, as my Mom always said, it is better to go through tough times when we’re young – we become stronger with time, with the right attitude.

Skype soon, Betsy? 🙂

I agree that Betsy’s students must love her, Tess!
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Tess The Bold Life January 17, 2013 at 12:53 am

You’re an inspiration to me as well. Those wee ones you work with are blessed!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Jodi @ Heal Now January 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Tess is awesome! I love her work and her writings. That must have built confidence selling produce so young. I LOVE the quotation: “Where fear is, happiness is not.” I totally agree!
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Tess The Bold Life January 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

It sure did build confidence I could write an entire post just on that. Maybe I will!! Thanks for the inspiration.
Tess The Bold Life recently posted…An Invitation to a Bold Life

Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Thank you, Jodi! Yes, Tess is awesome. I love that her life story is such a great inspiration!
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Justin January 17, 2013 at 4:07 am

That kind of homelife mentality is the same here in America. I am totally not like that with my son. There is no hierarchy in the traditional sense.

Take Care.
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Vidya Sury January 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hi Justin! 🙂 It always boils down to individual behavior in spite of traditions, doesn’t it? Today, our family believes in a loving atmosphere where everyone can feel free. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Fear Your Friend

Mayura January 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Hi Tess and Vidya,

I just love it, love it and love it 🙂 Really love the way you did interview too Vidya. When you first describe about your family and how elders act on you, the same goes for me too dear 🙂 Especially with father and mother is nowhere near. It’s not about hate, but directly or indirectly it affected on us. I’m grateful for ’em for transforming to who I am today Vidya.

lol 😀 Tess is here too, nah? 🙂 Well, you have been through a lot Tess. Bravo for that dear. The best way to tell about your courage is how you brought up Kristy and motivated her to stand herself. Can’t we see folks with everything, but doing nothing? AND you are transforming lives to conquer fear and embrace it as a friend. I’m really inspired by your story. I did conquer some fears I had which I never thought I could and I know I have more to deal with. “Nothing is Impossible” 🙂

However I am so bolder than before 🙂 I feel the change. Very generous indeed of her to share it FREE right now 🙂

Have a lovely weekend ahead, Tess and Vidya 🙂

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Terri Sonoda January 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

This sounds like an excellent course, and I am considering signing up. Fear has been a constant companion of mine for a couple years now. I won’t go into the root of my fears, but the side effects have been a severe lowering of self esteem and depression. It is crippling if you let it be. I am working hard to overcome this. Thanks, Vidya and Tess, for bringing such an important subject to the forefront.
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Property in NCR January 19, 2013 at 10:24 am

Nice and quite interesting posting

Hiten January 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Hi Vidya,

When I was reading your initial introduction, it reminded me a bit of what it was like when I was a kid. Indeed, elders were always considered to be right. Thanks for doing an interview with Tess.

Hi Tess,

I really enjoyed reading your interview and I was inspired and excited by your story and the fears you overcame. As someone who knows what it feels like to be totally crippled by fear and the liberation that comes from overcoming it, I could so relate to what you said in your interview. I also agree, mums are the best coaches! All the best with your 30 Days of Bold course.
Hiten recently posted…Discussions on resourcefulness at Everyday Gyaan

Unknown Mami January 22, 2013 at 5:00 am

Very inspiring. My mother does not know the word impossible. Me, I’m learning to embrace the possibilities.
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