19: Moving Forward Takes Courage: How To Build A Courageous Life with Kate Swoboda

Welcome to the Curiously You podcast! In today’s we discuss the science and psychology behind courage with Kate Swoboda of Your Courageous Life.

We spend a lot of time and energy trying to fight, overcome, or deny fear, when in reality this is not the best way to build courage, and often does not create lasting change. Kate talks us through how we can move forward with our dreams, manage our fears, and build courage all at the same time.

Labels can have an immense power over our beliefs and behaviours. For example associating with the label “mother” is tied to our cultural conditioning and upbringing, informing our resulting beliefs about what it means to be a mother. We question, what would life look like if we dropped the association with the label?

We then dive into Kate’s four step process to take courageous action in spite of our fear so we can build a courageous life. Not only is it simple to follow, but any challenge or resistance that comes up during the process, is covered by the process itself! It is a perfect rinse-repeat exercise to handle fear, and develop courage, particularly when emotions are running high.

If you’re anything like me, it’s likely that you tend to focus on the least efficacious part of the courage building process in order to change deeply entrenched habits: the cue. Kate explains how to shift this, and the kind of results you can experience when you do so.

This episode is perfect for you if you:

– You are playing the waiting game for the fear to go away before you take action on something you deeply want to do. But realise, wow, I could be waiting forever!

– Wish you could feel braver to stand up to someone, put in boundaries, or start a new way of life that you keep putting off because you’re afraid. Kate will show you how to manage this process from start to finish, including all the set-backs.

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Time-stamped Show Notes

[03:53] Kate experiences fear and writer’s block, which led her to realise there is a huge body of research on courageous habits, and the psychology of courage.

[08:14] Fear is a normal human emotion, we cannot be fearless, we can only develop a process when it arises to handle it, and take action anyway.

[11:31] The difference between survival fear and fear caused by feeling like you’re not enough, bowing to expectations and people pleasing, and talking yourself further from your dreams.

[14:48] We create our realities by labeling ourselves i.e. I’m a mother, which is affected by cultural conditioning of “mother”. The fear that our labels create aggravates our survival instinct [unique value point].

[18:18] How habit formation works in the brain, and how our year-in-year-out problems tend to be habit based [unique value point].

[23:14] The courage habit: there are four critical habits that people can use to lead a more courageous life, and what it means to have a courageous life [unique value point].

[25:04] How to put the four critical habits into practice, how fighting our fear is counterproductive, and how your fear is your best friend with terrible communication.

[31:32] Reframing limiting stories that we have habitually created through fear. We spend our lives trying to reduce stress rather than pursuing our dreams.

[36:15] People usually try to change the cue or create the lure of a reward, but actually research shows that changing the routine is the part of being courageous is the most effective for changing behaviour.

[40:16] What to do when resistance comes up to forming courageous habits, and the importance of building community.

[49:07] How to deal with changes that will happen in your life when you start to become more courageous [hint: by now, you’ll know it already!].

[56:47] Believe in the power of 5 minutes.

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Key Take Homes

Fear is always going to be around; you will never NOT have fear. The key is to have the right processes in place to handle fear when it comes up, and take action anyway.

Fear is not logical, its sole purpose is to try to keep you alive, so you may find when your inner critic gets involved when fear comes up it can be pretty harsh! The first step is to always drop into our body first and observe the sensations, emotions and thoughts that come up without attachment.

People tend to try to change the cue when shifting their habits. For example, if trying to get fitter we may look at fitness magazines for inspiration, far more powerful is to change the routine in between in order to shift the behaviour to achieve the desired result.


Kate Swoboda’s Website: Your Courageous Life

Kate’s Coach Training Program: Tribe CLCC

Kate’s New Book: The Courage Habit: How To Accept Your Fears, Release the Past and Live Your Courageous Life


Overwhelmed: How To Work, Love and Play When No One Has Time by Brigid Schulte

Dr Brene Brown’s most popular books:

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Changes the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do And How To Change by Dr Charles Duhigg

Curious Question

What labels do you have and how do they tie your into your “shoulds”? Wife, mother, partner, employee, entrepreneur, joker, or anything else?

For example, “I am a good employee” may mean “I stay late, I am self-sacrificing, I work hard”.

How would your life be different if that label falls away?

Let me know in the comments your thoughts.

Curiously You Offerings

I am opening the doors for 1:1 coaching at Curiously You!

If you are interested to work together on a deeper level to move past your “shoulds”, click here to be taken straight to my calendar and be booked in for a 30 minute complimentary coaching session.

Thanks so much for reading and listening Curious Friends, I hope this episode serves you.

Until the next episode, take care of yourself.


Jen x

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Hi Curious Friends!
I’m Jen, and Curiously You is a safe space for you to move past who you “should” be and step into who you are!

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