Here there be dragons.

How to Face a Dragon

Here there be dragons.

You are bound to encounter the inconvenience of dragons. Some are harmless. They puff a cloud of smoke and stare idly as you pass. Others don’t put up much of a fight. Like a meandering bear in the woods, they flee at your first signal of intent. But some dragons are fierce. And you will have to face them.

Dragons are the fears that prevent you from getting what you want. They are the anxiety, worry, and panic that locks you in place. Because of them, you forsake adventure and treasure – whatever that is for you – to play it safe.

For me the dragon is about my job. Work is good, and parts of it are interesting. The people are wonderful and worth spending time with. But the roles and tasks, as I have come to discover, do not resonate with who I am. They are not my art. And to change is to face the dragon.


Your blade is not iron
Your sword is not steel
But rather it is that
Of truth and zeal

Before you reach the residence of the dragon, you must prepare. Armor yourself with courage. Raise the shield of belief. But above all, take up the sword of truth. Truth cuts through fear.

There is the truth of who you are. Understand yourself. Know what you stand for and why you stand for it. Be clear on your values. Remembering these tells you why you are on the adventure in the first place.

I stand for the fundamental value of human life. I seek to honor and celebrate that life. I fight for the hope of others. For I know what it is to be hopeless.

There is the truth of where you wish to go. What are your dreams? What hope do you wish to unleash upon the world? What joy do you desire to spread? Where do you wish to give your gifts? To whom? Recalling these tells you the value of the treasure you seek.

I dream to give gifts of story – tales of life, beauty, and humanity. I wish to wander the world – to engage with the wonderful people of different places and different cultures.

There is the truth of who you are with…


Do not ride alone as the shadows fall
Forget not the fellowship of your noble hall
Do not ride alone as battle draws near
Forget not the aid of your brothers dear
Do not ride alone to the dragon’s darts
Forget not your alliance of loyal hearts

The words of others do much in your battle against the dragon. People speak the truth that you cannot know or believe for yourself.

Pay attention to your instructors. These are the masters that have gone before you. They know the challenges and dangers. Rely on their wisdom.

Call upon your allies. Many people follow a similar journey to you. When you face the dragon, it inspires them. They want you to win. Victory for you is victory for them.

Walk in the company of your friends. These are those that make the journey worthwhile. They are the ones you fight for.

Stand side by side with your fellowship. This is your closest circle of friends. Their success is bound to your success – not just because of anything tangible they will gain but because of compassion and connection. Their hearts are bound to yours.


Fear not his fire, though it may burn you
Fear not his talons, though they may slash you
Fear not his tail, though it may crush you

Beware his eyes, lest they enchant you
Beware his mind, lest it outwit you
Beware his tongue, lest it deceive you

For all the power and strength of the dragon, it is his subtle trickery that brings about the most damage. The dragon is a liar.

He will tell you that you are too weak – that you have no power to match him.

He will question who you are. Who are you to oppose him?

He will seek to dissuade you. Is it worth the effort to take him on? Are you willing to pay the price? Will you risk the uncertainty of outcome?

Monday, I arrive at work. Today is the day I have decided to give notice of my departure, and my boss is already there. I go to the bathroom. I take ten visits to the water fountain. I fiddle at my desk.

All the while, doubts swirl through my head. The dragon taunts me. Your boss will be angry. You won’t find what you’re looking for. You won’t survive. You’ll have to come back in shame to ask for work again. Your friends will think ill of you. People will disown you. You will die.

Do not listen to the dragon. Pick up truth and face him.


Burning, scorching, raging, flashing, clearing
Remove all pride
Howling, blowing, gusting, whipping, lashing
Cast the chaff aside
Thrashing, pounding, beating, crushing, forging
Be who you are inside

Twirling, spinning, dancing, dodging, weaving
You meet in the air
Seeing, living, breathing, moving, acting
Wide-eyed is your stare
Joining, cleaving, merging, changing, being
You are the only dragon there

At last I act. “Can I talk to you about something,” I say to my boss. We go into a quiet room.

“I’ve decided to leave,” I tell him. As we discuss my motivations for departing – nothing negative, plans for the coming months, and dreams for the future, fear becomes courage. With a sincere thank you, our conversation ends. It went surprisingly well.

And from the room I emerge victorious. I have done it. My steps feel lighter – as if wings pushed against the ground. My pose is straighter, born of confidence within. I feel as though the world cannot stop me. For I am the dragon.

The violence and malice of the dragon exist because you see it in yourself. Your fears are within. When you face him, you find his power does not have to oppose you. His might is yours, and his strength can be a force of good.

Fires that once ravaged your dreams now burn away clutter and distraction. They free your mind, making room for what is important.

Claws that once attacked hope now cling to what you cherish. In the face of opposition, criticism, and change you won’t let go.

Eyes that once hoarded resources now spread wealth. You give freely of your treasures, and they become more beautiful. The joy of others is the light the diamond mirrors into a thousand rainbows.

And with a push, you lift off from the towering mountainside. Wings batter the air with the sound of thunder. You fly. You soar on the wings of the dragon.


Here there be dragons. I made this photo in Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia.

20 thoughts on “How to Face a Dragon”

  1. Oh Joshua, this is beautiful.

    As I was reading you opened in my mind a vision of the dragon being a reflection of ourselves – and that is what makes it so difficult to see. It’s much easier to fight the dragon when you recognize him, but impossible when you don’t.

    When the dragon is just being us, we don’t recognize the role he is taking in shaping our future.

    Good for you, Joshua
    from one of the ‘Fellowship of Joshua’

  2. That’s where the power of other people comes in. They see us differently than we do and can reflect our true self. Thanks for being one of those people for me.

  3. Way to be a dragon slayer.
    I love the way you write.
    As I said before – way to be brave and follow your dreams.

  4. The eyes of the Lord range over all the earth looking for those who are weak to strengthen them. Josh the dragon in my life is when my vision is not understood and they want you to go and work their direction which makes the dragon more difficult to deal with. Pray that the Lord grants you a ‘Barb’ on your way to help start fighting the dragon which I have found it loosing power as she catches up my stupid worries in working the vision and she is there with me in mind, spirit,soul and strength. May the Lord grant you Josh.

  5. Judy,

    I suppose one does have to slay the dragon – the violent and greedy one – so the dragon that is good and generous can act. Thanks for the encouragement.


    A fine prayer for anyone. I am blessed with several people in my life – my lovely wife Sarah being the prime example.

  6. A beautiful piece. I hope you are able to build on your success and have wonderful adventures.
    The reminds me of poem Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy which has a similar theme. I was going to post a link to the text of the poem but came across a beautiful reading by Sean Connery which I thought you’d appreciate

  7. “Hope that your journey is a long one.
    May there be many summer mornings when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors you’re seeing for the first time;”

    A touching and lovely poem, Garrie. Asante sana (thank you so much). May your journey be just as beautiful.

  8. This is brilliant in it’s foundation, full of truths and encouragement to aspire in a way that will see success. All victory is qualified by it’s process. Thank you so much for this Joshua. Bronwyn passed it along today.

  9. Every time I read your posts they just get better and better! Excellent job…and may your journey get brighter! Congrats on launching yourself into the next phase!

  10. You have met the Tiger 🙂

    Ensure you celebrate this victory.

    You’re better than Steven Pressfield. Hear this and know it.

    Joy awaits those who unravel Steven Pressfield’s book ‘Do The Work’ to reveal the inside cover.

    Ode to Slovenia.

  11. Bron, That is true, I have met the tiger. You did say you spent time in India, right? 🙂

    I will take the compliment, but I wouldn’t say I’m better than Steven. His work is different than mine. Each of our art is beautiful in its own way.

    Amending typos in the comments is easy. Just send me a note, and I’ll take care of it.

  12. This is absolutely stellar! It renders one speechless with the simplicity and power of truth. This is one of the most wonderful posts I’ve read in a very long time. The world is a far better place with people like you.

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