Do You Possess the Courage to Change?

By , SparkPeople Blogger

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

When I was a kid growing up in the pre-cable generation, the one movie that ushered in the spring was The Wizard of Oz. Each March my friends and I would anxiously wait for the time when we could sit in front of the TV reliving the fabulous adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and of course the unforgettable Cowardly Lion.

As a child, I never quite grasped the true meaning behind the movie. Seeing the vivid colors after Dorothy’s house came to rest in the Land of Oz was spectacular. After all, one could truly grasp the fairy tale-like qualities from the minute Dorothy donned the ruby red slippers until she ventured back home.

So you may be wondering what in the world does The Wizard of Oz have to do with SparkPeople?

Just to give you a little background on how I come up with many of my blog ideas--when one is out on the road for well over 2 hours, it requires lots of imagination and thinking on my part in order to pass the time which allows me the opportunity to ponder life’s dilemmas. So, during my 14 mile run last Saturday, for some strange reason, I began to think about this movie and all the great characters.

The one character to whom I was drawn to the most, not only as a kid but as an adult, was the Cowardly Lion. He reminded me a lot about myself. For years I was so scared to try anything new. However, my greatest fear was the fear of failing which kept me from discovering who I was truly meant to be. It wasn’t a paralyzing fear per se, but it did cause me great anxiety to the point where it kept me from even trying in the first place. If I didn’t think I could be successful, I never embarked on the journey. That all changed with SparkPeople.

As I have traveled on my own journey, I realized exactly what the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion learned at the end of the movie and that is, we all possess the powers within our lives to change and face our fears and doubts. I learned that I have always possessed the courage to get me beyond life’s obstacles; I just had to find it within myself.

I once read that courage is not the absence of fear but instead courage is facing our fear head on with our actions. We cannot and should not allow fear to stand in our way of becoming healthy. We all have the courage within ourselves to change, even if that means we have others to guide us along this great journey. I hope you will follow your own yellow brick SparkRoad!!!

Has fear kept you from meeting your goals? How have you overcome your own fears? Do you have the courage to change?

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FMAX168 12/12/2019
thanks Report
BONNIE1552 7/18/2019
Definitely identify with the Cowardly Lion. Report
I have never seen the movie, but I loved this article. Often I am tempted to think since Im afraid Im a coward. But the thing is its ok to be scared.... But what are you going to do with it? Is it dragging you down, or pulling you up? Report
good article Report
I learned the following from my therapist: most fears are False Expectations Appearing Real.” Report
Love this Nancy! Well done! Report
You just made me go back and watch the movie again, I sure needed to do so. I want to find that courage myself. Report
For so many years, I made excuses for why I was overweight (OK, obese) - blaming my genes, my metabolism, my desk jobs (working in front of 2 PCs for 10 to 12 hours a day), my bad ankles (broke it 10 years ago) etc; of which some of those were valid. For example, my brother is just a year younger than me (46) and is 6'2 and weighs (I'm guessing) about 160 lbs., but has ALWAYS ate whatever and whenever and how much that he wanted - often times eating 2 or 3 plate fulls. But me, I ate about a half of what he ate and still gained a bunch of weight. So, I blamed it on my metabolism for the last 40 years. But not anymore - I know realize that I HAVE THE POWER to change myself - WITHOUT the excuses. Three years ago was my "wake-up call" when my doctor told me I was diabetic (Type 2), had high blood pressure, and weighed 305 lbs. For the first year, I was in denial - thinking of EVERY excuse I could think of. But, as he told me one day - "Steve, you are playing Russian roulette (sorry for any Russians out there - no offense) with your life" - "I may as well put a blindfold on you and tell you to try to cross the highway" (which is a 5 lane highway (has a turn lain in the center) of a very busy part of town). That is when I got serious and decided that if I wanted to live a good life (of which the doc told me I only had about 10 "good" years left at the rate I was going) I BETTER get busy. I started walking - I was winded after the FIRST mile, which took me 18.5 minutes to complete. But I kept on - making it a point to do it at least 4 days a week to start with. Now, after 2 1/2 years, I am now down to 218 (as of this morning) - 88 lbs below my max - with my blood sugar under control (A1C was 6.2 last week), no more high blood pressure (avg 117/75) and cholesterol at 150. I now walk/jog at least 6 days a week for about 3 to 4 (sometimes 6) miles as well as biking and using the elliptical at our local YMCA. I am feeling great - I have thrown my "fat clothes" out - going from a pant size of 46/48 and coat size of 52/54 (depending on the make and style) to a 38 (I'll see 36 by this summer) and at 44. ALL of this was a MINDSET. I decided if it was to be (a longer and healthier life) it was to left-up to ME.
EVERYONE of YOU out there has to come to terms with your own personal demons on dealing with weight. BUT you CAN DO IT IF (let me repeat, IF) you want to change bad enough. God bless all. Report
I always stuggle with fear of doing something... fear of confrontation.. fear of what one may think. I have been conquering them a little at a time. You know some of those things are not as bad as we often think! Report
I found this quote somewhere in my travels a few weeks ago and thought it was very appropriate for this blog:
"As they travelled in the Land of Oz, the quick-witted scarecrow thought he had no brains; the loving tin woodsman felt he needed a heart; and the heroic lion believed he lacked courage. " ~Based on the stories of Frank L. Baum
We often don't realize what we already have.
Keep the faith,
Has fear kept you from meeting your goals? How have you overcome your own fears? Do you have the courage to change?

first question- yes. fear has kept me from meeting MANY MANY MANY goals.. and not just fitness ones other things I have wanted to do; certain people I have wanted to meet now for several years and havent yet due too fear of how big I am now fear of not being accepted because I'm big fear of not being enough for that person and vice versa.

do I have courage to change- I dont know. Report
For me it's been hard to over come all the things we learned growing up. Like, eat all your food there are children starving in China!, clean your plate before you can be excused! We've come a long way since then. I have a long way to go still. The exercising & weights I do fine but I struggle with food choices. So I continue to change my habits. One day I'll get it right. Report
The Wizard of Oz was always my favorite movie and as a child my best friend and I knew all the words to the movie and the songs. So as an adult when I discovered the message "you had it in you all along" I was amazed at how a story can appeal to someone in different ways for their entire life. I try to keep this message in my mind whenever things get difficult and remind myself that I have strengths that I haven't tapped yet. Report
Love this blog! Thanks for the vivid images that help to soldify the message. We can do it! Report
Thanks to SparkPeople, I've learned a lot about myself and have gained confidence. Now if this would only spill over into getting housework done, it'd be great! I'm the world's worst procrastinator, and can't seem to get out of my own way lately. Report
I think that very fear is what kept me from getting healthier for so many years. Now, at 50, I realize that fear is the big lie that I cannot afford to believe. The fear of not being able to accomplish it keeps us from even trying sometimes. What a lie! How could we possibly know whether we can do something UNTIL we try? Yet the great immobilizer, fear, stops us dead in our tracks before we even get TO the starting gate. No more! Thank you so much for sharing this. It is awesome!

Our pastor spent June of last year, in honor of Father's Day, preaching on the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion in turn, with the fourth Sunday being spent on your very comment, that we're already equipped to have all those things because God made us that way! It was a great sermon series, complete with visits by the characters in full costume loping up the center aisle that had been turned into the Yellow Brick Road, with the Emerald City looming afar behind the pulpit. It was such a good experience! Report
I never really understood this movie until I watch The Whiz. But now that I am older I do relate to the fact that most of the time I am what holds me back from accomplishing my goals in life. Report
Yes, fear sometimes interferes with my goals, but only in social situations (and no, I won't describe how). Otherwise fear never enters into the equation... laziness, getting sidetracked, and having too much to do are my main issues.

I will say fear inspired me to change. I had a heart attack at age 46; that really motivated me to return to my active lifestyle I gave up when my kids were born. I was not, and am still not, ready to die. Report
You are so right! Many times I won't try something new for fear of not only failing, but looking foolish. One of my biggest fears is looking stupid. I took up running and have done many half marathons so I am getting a little bit better with my fears. Thanks for your blog. Report
Well said, my friend. So much of this journey is a discovery and or rediscovery of what our true essence really is. Report
I'm just your typical daredevil and have spent most of my life learning how to be more of a brainiac. Report
I loved this - I think so many lessons can be learned from The Wizard of Oz. One of my favorite sections in the movie is at the end when Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy that she doesn't need help, that she has always had the power to return to Kansas. The scarecrow asks Glinda why she never told Dorothy that, and Glinda says that Dorothy wouldn'have believed her, that she had to learn it for herself. I think I've always had the "power" to lose weight, but I was always afraid of the discomfort, of divorcing my friend, food, and that now, I am learning for myself that I can do this. Report
Changing is becoming a way of life Report
This was a great blog. I agree that we do have the resources within us to meet our challenges, but actually finding the courage to act is the difficult part. Thanks for the encouragement. Report
I am working on building my courage from the Biblical viewpoint. For me this means walking forward into life with surity that my God is what the Bible says He is, and will do and be what the Bible says he will do and be! I am excited and scared. Report
On my yellow brick road I tend to keep everything in front of me. Reading this helps me realize that I can't be afraid to fail. Juggling everything in front of me was, in a sense, fear. Fear of letting go, fear of failing. Thanks. Report
When I read this blog I got chills. It's just hit me flat in the face. Ouch! Thank you thank you thank you. Report
I think I finally have the courage to change!

Before Spark People and my new life change, I didn't think I could do any of the things I am doing now. I started running and failed 9 years ago because I didn't think I had it anymore. Well now that my confidence is up I know that I can do it. I now run 5k's and I am thinking about running a half and full marathon.

Did I think I would be doing this a few years ago.... No, but that all has changed with my new outlook. I know I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it! Report
So grateful for your long runs. This is awesome stuff Nancy! Report
Nancy, I'm so glad I read this blog entry of yours!
It's hard to believe (and more difficult to put into words) how afraid I was to even take a first step in trying to jog; to literally step out from a walk into a jog. Seriously, I was afraid, and I cannot think of another word to describe it. It took so much courage for me; it's embarrassing to even type this! But I finally took that first jogging step. Now I'm staring down my fear of the 5K crowd... as I prepare myself mentally for the "fun" run in a few weeks. Thanks to SP, I know I can do it! :)
Here's to courage!!! Report
Thanks for reminding me of this great, very important message! It is unfortunately so easy to forget this in day to day life. I'm going to print out a picture of the cowardly lion for my inspiration! Report
Spark People has been a great resource for me as I try one more time to lose weight. I have lost 27lbs so far. I believe my decision to go back to college in the fall has a lot to do with my success thus far. Fear too had been holding me back.
I have tried at least 5 times to lose weight. I approached this time with much trepidation. I take nothing for granted. If I am going to do this I will have to be more disciplined than I was before. I canno t take anything for granted. I know that one slip does not have to make me fall back into my old eating patterns. I don't have to give up because I have had a bad day. I'm on my own personal Yellow Brick Road. I am learning many things along the way, and I know I'll reach home. Report
I really like this, I have had so many set backs in life that sometimes I forget where I have been and how far I have come. Thanks I love this movie too. Report
Great Blog - and very meaningful!! Report
Everday, each & everyday- I've had to sometimes learn the hard way what my Disabilities will allow me to undertake. But its always (minus the ouches!) worth the efforts! Report
OK, after wiping the tears.....I can now respond! I have been afraid my whole life. As a child I would never try anything new, I was so afraid of failing. As a young teen I LONGED to be a cheerleader. Every summer I would join the camp at school and right before tryouts, dropout! Too afraid that I wouldn't be good enough. WOW.....can't believe that I'm drudging up all this old stuff. It was so strange reading someone else tell "my" story!! Thank you! I'm 61 years old and still have a problem with completing trying harder and Spark has certainly helped. I thank God everyday for Spark People!!!!!
in high school we did The Wiz. And, i loved to read all of the Oz books. I loved learning the lessons they teach us about living our lives. We have to overcome our weaknesses in order to grow and progress. Report
Awesome Blog, I to agree the story of Dorthy's journey truelly has a deep character building plot. Report
Thanks for the blog Nancy. It really hits home. I have gotten really close to achieving some of my goals and I froze mentally, nearly paralyzed with anxiety. Fear of taking responsibility for my actions also has the same effect as many of the fears in the other blogs. Over time, the fear and negativity have overtaken me. Sparkpeople keeps reeling me in at just the right time. Thanks for the wonderful blog. JS Report
Well said, Nancy, well said!

I love this blog! Courage is something I know I have, I just have to dig deep within myself to find it. THANKS! Report
I feel like I couldve written this blog myself. The only thing is, I don't feel like I am at my courageous place yet, I only have flashes of courage. Fear has ruled over my life for 20 years. I saw a video of myself as a 10 year old, and I was blown away- who was that fearless child? Me?? Couldnt be!
The fear I have does keep me from trying anything, and if I get passed that fear, then the fear of failing after the first try comes in, and when that fear has been trounced, here comes the fear of being successful any other time. On some days, it is a clear as the day that fear will always be there, but I cannot rule me if I dont let it. Report
After seeing a tornado pass by a block from me when I was pregnant I thought God would protect me whenever I was in danger. I always kept that thought up when walking the streets of Ft Lauderdale because I didn't have a car. No one attempted to hurt me except on one occasion and then I was near a police station and a police car came by just then. I also tried to get a job with the State when I wasn't sure if they would hire me and they said I passed the test with the best score of anyone who had ever taken it before. Taking tests can be nerve wracking. Report
For me it isn't fears so much as laziness. Report
I was so incredibly shy when I was young that it seemed I was just paralyzed. Not only did fear keep me from meeting my goals, it kept me from SETTING any goals! If I didn't have goals then I wouldn't have the let down of not meeting them. And to be honest, I just don't know what happened or how I came to this place that I am now. It just seemed that one day I realized that fear was crazy (for me anyway!) and that I needed to just wake up and live. And I did it! No big monumental happening caused it, no Ah-Ha moment. It just happened. And I'm very glad it did. Report
I am like you, I do feel paralyzed by my fears. But little by little I am trying to tackle each one and expose myself to the possibility of change. I enjoy stability, control and predictibility. I am trying to be more spontaneous, loosen up and try to enjoy life without a list or an agenda. Great topic! Report
Nancy, thanks for your blog! That really spoke to me today. I am a new runner and I do get frustrated by my progress sometimes. More than anything, I think the issue is me being so concerned that I'm going to fail. But I'm only failing myself if I don't TRY. Your article was great, and thank you for helping remind me that courage and strength are gained by going through things that may have scared us at one point. Thanks again - Sara Report
Funny - I was thinking about the Wizard of Oz myself, last week!
I was comparing me to the scarecrow. He didn't think he was smart enough, only come to find out that he was THE smartest! Now, I don't think I have a lot of brains, just a LOT of "common sense", but maybe "common sense" IS brains???
I know a little bit about a variety of topics, but I don't know enough about any one subject to be a professional. Does this make me "stupid"? I think it makes me ... diverse.
Fear of change? YOU BETCHA! I think most people ARE afraid to "rock the boat" or to "work outside the box". What is comfortable is "safe".
I'll be thinking on your blog throughout the week - thanks for moving some cobwebs in my brain this morning! Report
Talk about timing...
Last night I started reading "Feel the Fear and Do it anyway"...
The author explains that we all have fear when facing something new and the only way to get rid of the fear is to actually do what it is we're afraid of.
She explains that underneath the fear, any fear, is one thing: The feeling that we cant handle it. (Whatever "it" may be)
I've been afraid of failure my entire life. I received a "B" on one report card growing up and it upset me a lot more then it should have. By getting that "B" I considered myself a failure, which made me NOT perfect. UGH!
Now I'm 45 years old and I've let my fear of failure stop me from doing just about everything. There have been times I couldn't leave my house because the fear was so bad.
I don't have a job because I'm afraid to go out there and fail. I have to wear ear buds when walking because I'm afraid of dealing with people. I have no friends because I'm afraid people wont like me.
If I had been in the Wizard of Oz I would have been hiding behind a tree with the cowardly lion and he would have had to convince me to come out. I make him look brave.
Now my life is changing and I have to face my fears and do things anyway. Its terrifying and exciting at the same time.
Its very helpful to see that other people feel fear. I don't feel like a freak now that I know so many of us share the same quality. Report