This week, while working with an executive team, in a moment of poignant honesty the CEO said “I admit that I’m scared sometimes.” He paused, and then said “But the question is, will I let it stop me?”

We demonstrate courage in many ways. I thought my client’s question—“Will I let fear stop me?”—was courageous.  But not courageous in a defiant macho sort of way. Courageous in a willingness to be curious and aware sort of way.

Facing fear in the spirit of curiosity, your answer may be “yes, absolutely I’ll let it stop me.” Fear may be there to steer you in a different, perhaps wiser direction.

Or your answer may be “no, I won’t let fear stop me.” But having engaged in honest reflection, you are likely to move forward in a different way, wiser from the internal conversation.

Either way, the important thing is the question—and the courage to ask it. So whether it’s a new project, a loss, an opportunity, a health crisis, or a New Year’s resolution, ask the question: “will I let fear stop me?” And then in a spirit of true inquiry, listen. Let your fear speak. Let it reveal its wisdom. Then choose.