“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Courage is a characteristic to embrace as an entrepreneur. It is what keeps us moving forward and pushing the envelope. This definition of courage sums it up beautifully:
“Courage means you act proactively, in spite of risks, toward something you believe to be important or meaningful.” – Anonymous
As Ryan Holiday reminds us, “Courage is the management of and the triumph over fear.”
How exactly can you become more courageous?
1. See yourself as courageous
If we choose to view ourselves as courageous, we will act accordingly. Courage will be more top of mind. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on times we acted in the face of fear, in ways that served in a meaningful way and made us feel better about ourselves. Think about a time when you were struggling as a kid and how those moments of facing your fears still inform you today. How that particular courageous act influences you now and who you want to be. That is a gain!
2. Get comfortable with making “mistakes”
We ALL make mistakes. Welcome to humanity!! What really matters more than the mistake, is the impact it makes on us. We get to choose whether it informs us and we learn from that mistake or we shame ourselves and lose ground. It takes courage to stay in the game, to learn and grow. Fear fuels cowardice.
Research tells us that we benefit from making mistakes and learning how to correct them, rather than avoiding them at all costs.
A fun exercise to move past dwelling on past mistakes is to write down your mistake on a piece of paper. Write down your feelings about it that mistake. Then crumple the paper up and throw it away. Then write out or discuss how that mistake strengthened your brain, resolve and resilience! This process of reframing will reinforce the learning and ultimately improve your well-being and performance.
3. Keep trying
Persistence is a character strength that can be modeled, observed, and developed. By persisting and being prepared, we are working on our competencies through consistent practice. By training ourselves when we are not under pressure, we prepare ourselves to act courageously when the heat is on. Countless times heroes have reported that their training and preparation enabled them to save lives.
We can override the fear we experience because we can do the task at hand, even in the face of risk. This bolsters our confidence and self-esteem.
4. Where are the heroes?
Feel good stories give us the vicarious experience of witnessing someone else being brave despite the risks to themselves. It is inspirational, it breathes life into us.
Inversely, we can view heroes as “other”. That is fine for her, she is _____(courageous, strong, empathetic). We have a hard time identifying as a hero. Yet in time of need; if not you, then whom?
Bottom line, we need to summon the moral courage to do the right thing even when it is hard to do, rather than waiting for someone else to come to the rescue.
5. Refine your values
Knowing what you stand for keeps you from falling for anything. In the face of peril, it is important to understand what drives you and what matters to you, and quickly. Clarifying and knowing your values is powerful, your values fuel your thinking, behavior, focus and your goals.
If you lack clarity you can ask these 4 questions to frame your truest intentions, even in high risk situations.
- What do I value in myself?
- What do I “stand for”?
- What is important to me, what do I value?
- What are some wins/successes I accomplished when I followed my values?
Basically our convictions and values influence our courageous actions. When our moral code is challenged, we will act in a way that supports our beliefs and values. The stronger your belief and values, the less likely you will be swayed by those around you. You are self-determined to act authentically.
Benjamin Hardy teaches that, authenticity doesn’t mean you’re being true to yourself. Rather, authenticity means you have the inner freedom to be and do what you believe in. Who you are is continuously transforming through courageous creativity and a deep commitment to what matters. You can hear your own voice, and you have the freedom and emotional security to make your own decisions without hesitation.
If you are inspired to look at your purpose and calling, yet you lack the courage to take the next big step, let’s schedule a call to see what is holding you back from being your own rescue!
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