Who do I need to be to step powerfully into my future?
As I think of this question, I am aware that everybody has certain wants and this choice allows them to be, do or have something. Our lives are filled with moments of choice that lead us towards an aspirational future. It is easy to be inspired and dream of that version of yourself you wish to create, yet not so easy to act on that inspiration.
Too often we hold ourselves back from taking inspired action, because we feel fear to step outside our comfort zone. We hope that our fear will go away and “some day” we will feel the courage to try something new.
I believe courage is the bridge that connects our intentions with our actions, despite the discomfort and uncertainty it creates. Courage is in the gap between thought and action, and it requires a willingness to act even when we have doubts or fears. It is not the absence of fear, but the decision to take action in spite of it what defines courage.
Courage is a muscle that you build over time. It is a mental muscle that we can strengthen with practice, just as we build our physical muscles through exercise.
So how do you reach into your courage reserves to make that decision to change something in your life? Whether it is your career, business, health, relationships or anything else.
Here are 5 easy ways to build your courage muscle daily:
1. Make friends with your fear.
Notice when fear shows up, identify what it is you are most afraid of and then embrace it as an ally. You can ask yourself how helpful is this right now. Is it stopping you from making a big mistake or blocking you from achieving something bigger and better.
2. Visualize what you ‘really’ want.
This is a crucial step in building courage because you are able to ground yourself and find clarity. And just remember, don’t be afraid to dream big! If your “why” is big enough you’ll figure out a “way.” By visualizing the payoff for your courage, you’ll be motivated to take inspired action and keep going even despite any roadblocks along the way.
3. Create a courage board of advisors.
Look at 3-5 people you admire who exhibit courage and study their behavior and habits. So much of who we are is impacted by people we surround ourselves with, whether we’d like to admit it or not! Remind yourself to flex your courage muscles.
4. Choose a courage buddy.
One great way to build your courage muscles is to partner with someone who is looking to build theirs too. By having someone to share your bravery-building journey with, you can challenge each other, celebrate your wins, share your failures, and keep each other on track
5. Start small.
Challenge yourself and measure your progress, not the outcome. So many people get caught up in achieving the perfect outcome and then paralyze themselves into never starting. It is the consistent action that builds courage and invites success.
By incorporating these daily rituals into our routine, we can choose who we want to be with courage.
As Mary Daly says -” It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”
Here are some questions I ask myself to regain my courage:
- Who do I need to be to alter my relationship with fear?
- What am I afraid of? (List every fear, no matter how silly it looks in writing)
- What does avoiding this fear cost me?
- What would I do if I weren’t afraid? (List every action)
- What is a gift, lesson or opportunity from the experience?
- What do I really (in my deepest heart) want? (Be precise)
- What do I need to do to have that? (List every action)
- How will my life benefit from deciding to act?
- What else might I be able to make possible when I take inspired action?
- What one action am I willing to take today and who can I ask to support me?
I have lived and continue to live through my own life changes, some massive, some tiny but all of them important. Since early childhood I have made conscious decisions about my life, digging deep into my own courage to create positive change I have made choices which have led me to where I am now. Asking myself these questions has helped me move past fears and choose courage.
Remember that it’s a process and that progress should be celebrated. By focusing on small steps, you’ll be able to achieve bigger things in the long run.
Discover more about unlocking courage in our Executive Coaching programs.
I am a courage catalyst, executive coach, facilitator, speaker and founder of Interact Consulting.