Inner Decisions

Cultivating Courage

Cultivating Courage

Do you have a fear that is holding you back from living the life you deserve? Do you wish you could show more courage in your day-to-day dealings with others?

If you had more courage, maybe we could ask for that raise we deserve, feel more confident in closing that next sale, or even say “yes!” to one of your long-held dreams. The possibilities are endless, if we can let go of that fear that is holding us prisoner.

But what is courage, really? Courage is the ability to continue moving forward even in the face of challenge, adversity, and fear.

Yet, without fear, there could be no bravery. Courage is mostly about managing our fear and still taking the best action possible. No small feat.

Courage Is Like A Psychological Muscle.

Being brave is a bit like lifting weights. The more we participate, the easier it becomes. Alternatively, the more we find ourselves willing to accept fear as an excuse not to move forward, the easier that path becomes. We get pretty good at the things we practice regularly.

To cultivate courage:

  • Start out by making a list of the things that you're afraid to do but wish you weren't. These can be things like going out to a dinner or movie by yourself, singing at karaoke night, starting your own business, or leaving that bad relationship.
  • Next, star the three things that mean the most to you.
  • Build your courage muscles by challenging yourself with three things on your list that are meaningful, but not overwhelming. Practice, practice, practice.

Strategies to help develop the courage to tackle your list:

  1. Decide that you're going to conquer your fears. The simple act of deciding means can close off all other possibilities. Find a support buddy and declare aloud that you're going to challenge yourself to be brave one goal at a time.
  2. Accept the fact that to be brave there will be some fear. Fear can frequently be decreased, but sometimes not completely eliminated. Remember that living courageously means dealing with some level of fear but going forward anyway.
  3. Know that fear isn't a good excuse to avoid doing something. Unless you're going to fall off a cliff, being afraid is an ineffective way of choosing your course of action.
  • If you get into the habit of not acting due to fear, continuing on that path only becomes easier.
  • Base your decisions on what you'd like to have in your life, rather than on what you don't want (the fear).
  1. Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" You may discover that the worst thing isn't as bad as the fear felt. Fear is a liar. And it cheats us out of our goals.
  2. Reward yourself. After you overcome one of your fears, give yourself a treat. Be proud of yourself; you certainly earned it!
  3. Brag about your accomplishments to your support buddy. Overcoming the fear with bravery is certainly something to brag about. Be proud of yourself.
  4. Recognize that feelings of fear and excitement are very closely related. Is a rollercoaster exciting or scary? It's a thin line for most people. Horror movies are a similar experience. The difference between excitement and terror can be difficult to ascertain. The body has the same experience for both, it’s the mind that names one fear and the other exciting.

•  Try telling yourself you're just really excited the next time you take action to do something on your list.

7. Use every tool at your disposal to minimize your fear and have faith in yourself. All kinds of things can help! Here are some suggestions:

  • Faith
  • Meditation
  • Therapy
  • Practice
  • Education
  • Practice your values
  • Honor your principles
  • Prayer
  • Make a coaching appt

You can live courageously. Put the above plan into action today. The key is to start small and move forward from there. Remember that being courageous is all about taking action in spite of fear, not the absence of fear.

There's no time like the present to cultivate your courage.

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