I am part of a group of amazing women who are all putting themselves out there. Every day we strive to be the best we can be and every day we face our fears of building a business, of figuring out what to do next, of speaking our truth and being successful. For most of us – we are our business and so it’s very personal putting ourselves on the line.
But look around at all the goings on in the world at the moment and you will see courage everywhere.
Only for most of us, we minimise the things we do as part of ‘just what had to be done’ and when asked if we are courageous, most of us would not admit it, either from fear of being judged as being vain or not really being sure just what actually makes us courageous.
So, today’s post in about courage – recognising it and expanding it with purpose for things you really want in your life.
Courage has many faces. It is both the grand things that we hear about like saving someone’s life and the small things learning a new skill. It can be circumstantial or planned.
You can surely remember a time when you made changes to your life, like starting a new job, despite your fears. You will have faced some sort of adversity and held it together. When you’ve stood up for something you believe in or when you’ve acted on the spur of the moment to help someone in need.
Today I want you to think about two forms of courage that we are often slow to do anything about or we spend a lot of time in the shallows. These are following your heart and letting go of the familiar and expanding yourself.
Now I’m all about finding work that you love and being the best version of yourself as your promise to the universe. And so often I see people stuck in a job they don’t like, that bores them while somehow convincing themselves that ‘it will get better’.
It won’t. That is, without expanding yourself and possibly even following your dreams.
And where you might start to get out of your comfort zone and be more courageous?
Firstly, it is important to understand what I believe to be the three elements of courage – fear, persistence and action.
Fear is always a pre-cursor to doing something different or putting yourself out there. It’s very human to worry about how we will be perceived or diving into the unknown. The part of our brain that is focussed on our survival is responsible for that.
It’s our persistence to take action, in spite of that fear, that we call courage.
And when we think about courage as action, then it allows us to be more strategic about stepping into our own courage (and maybe waste less time on the sidelines, thinking about it).
There’s another part of the brain that controls our emotions and it can override our survival instincts as long as there is a clear plan.
Here are my five keys for making a plan to be more courageous deliberately:
- Know what you want
- Whether that is your big life why or the why for specific goals you have, what is it you want that is worth fighting for? It could be a person, a cause, a promotion. The trick is it has to be something you are emotionally invested in – you can feel why you really want it.
Understand that the struggle is real and that fear is a part of the journey
- Be kind and firm with yourself when your fear shows up. Remember, the next step is action and wobbly action is still action and wobbly courage is still courage. Remember too, that fear is emotional energy and you can shift what feels uncomfortable to positive energy, in the moment, by changing the thinking in your head from ‘what if this fails’ to thinking about all the good things that will happen when you’ve succeeded (and feeling that excitement instead).
Share your truth and ambitions
- This one is about doing what’s right for you, following your dreams, standing up for your beliefs, regardless of what others think or say (or what you’ve persuaded yourself they think or say). It’s about sharing the vision you have for your life with your loved ones and not minimizing what is important to you.
Put yourself in the face of your fears
- Sometimes you can take lots of small steps before you take a bigger leap. This key is about showing up, getting involved and being a life-long learner. If you want to fight for a cause you could start by finding groups of similar-minded people to get to know. If you want a promotion, find things you can do every day that will build your credibility and if you know you want to do something very different from anything you’ve ever done before – learn as much as you can about it (without using it as an excuse ‘not’ to do anything but learn).
Set new habits
- What are the things you can do regularly to build your courage muscle? If you can identify things that stop you in your tracks then you can create new routines to push past those fears. If you’ve thought about asking your boss for a promotion or a raise for months and instead you talk yourself out of it ‘being important’ so you feel safe…what else can you do instead that is taking action? And how can you still feel safe? If you are lost right now – start at number one again and go and read my blog (Ten Things That Require Zero Talent That Can Change Your Life) all about habits.
The good news is that being courageous can be developed, especially about the things that are important to you. And to finish with a Brene Brown quote:
When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending.
If you want to find out more ways to love your work and love your life, then click on the link below and join my Facebook Group – Future Facing Women Who Want Success At Work and Impact in Life.