How can you be fearless when facing a serious diagnosis? Fearlessness and sickness don’t really seem to go together. But they can.

When I use the term fearlessness, I do not mean the absence of fear. I mean using fear to inform you as apposed to allowing it to run you.

I am a two-time cancer survivor. When I was diagnosed, I was absolutely terrified. I was forced to figure out how to make informed decisions while also being sensitive to how my diagnosis would affect all of the people who loved me. I was worried how they would experience my diagnosis. I knew that if I were terrified on a daily basis, I would not make the best choices. I also realized that I couldn’t control how others experienced my situation. I had to have faith they would handle it themselves. (They did.) All I could do was decide my next right action and request that those in my life treat me normally.

Lifestyle Choices I Found Helpful

1. Creating Present Moment Awareness

Mindfulness is one of the best antidotes for fear. This required me learn how to meditate. I saw such a transformation in meditating and harnessing the power of my intention, that meditation is now the cornerstone to my therapy practice. It doesn’t have to be long and time consuming and complicated. It can be as simple as pausing to take three deep breaths every three hours to stay grounded. This strengthens your problem-solving capability. Present moment awareness can minimize fearfully projecting into the future, thinking of all the paths your scenario might go down.

2. Staying Physically Fit

I took up boxing because I was really angry and wanted to hurt someone. Not only was there the obvious benefit of releasing anger by punching and kicking, but also there was something about being physically strong that greatly reduced how much fear impacted me.

3. Being in a Good Relationship

Stay connected. Rather than retreating from loved ones, stay close. Companionship and sharing is a wonderful way to stay grounded and present. If you are in a partnership, maintain an active sex life. Stay as normal as possible. My husband saw me as whole and as the same Terri as always, so I didn’t feel damaged. Scared, yes; damaged, no. He didn’t treat me differently. Other people did, and it made me feel terrible. When people treat you the same and look at you the same as when you were healthy, it keeps you on the path of wellbeing. Inside I was the same and manifesting that cancer was temporary.

4. Speaking and Feeling Health into Being

As soon as my second cancer experience was behind me, I affirmed my perfect health. When someone asked me how I was, I would say, “I’m perfectly healthy.” (I stopped saying “healthy as a hog” because A. I was gaining weight, and B. I realized hogs in the US are probably not all that healthy) I would not speak about it any other way. I still do this and remain perfectly healthy fifteen years later. I cannot say that this positive stance cured me, but it sure made me feel empowered. I believe what we focus on gains strength, so I focused on being well.

While a diagnosis of any serious illness is fear inducing, you are stronger than your fear mind. I would love to hear your thoughts and strategies that have worked for you, whether it was an illness or other life-altering event, so please drop a comment.

A great quote I want to share:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Love Love Love


Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. A cornerstone of Terri’s practice, meditation, was the impetus for her recently released guided mediation CD “Meditation Transformation.” In Fall 2012, she will begin hosting a Hay House radio show, giving listeners who are swimming upstream easy tools to flip over and float. Terri can be found on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

*Photo by Andrew Morrell Photography.