Try one thing each day that scares you.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Courage. According to my dictionary, it’s the “ability to conquer fear or despair.” I believe it’s about having a choice and believing in oneself. About leaping into the unknown, without a manual or guarantees. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive.
Courage is the antidote to fear.
Unlike a certain commercial, “Maybe she’s born with it…” doesn’t hold true for courage. As of yet, the Human Genome Project hasn’t successfully isolated that part of our DNA that makes one person more courageous than another.
So, where does it come from?
Courage is more like a muscle: the more you use it, the more easily it comes to you. Our courage muscle is built one small, sometimes infinitesimal, step at a time. No child jumps on a bicycle for the first time and rides off happily into the sunset. You remember: there are cuts, scrapes and bruises along the way—not failure but part of the lesson of learning to overcome. The child’s yearning to ride that bike diminishes any fear they may have of trying.
Where DID our childhood courage go? “Consequences” was not a frequent visitor in our vocabulary, much to the chagrin of our parents. You remember, someone would yell, “Come on, let’s do it!” and we’d all be off on some adventure, consequences be damned.
How can we recapture that independent spirit, that fearlessness? Our long-lost courage?
As Eleanor Roosevelt says, we need to practice. One day at a time. Every day. And the more we practice, the less scary the unknown will appear. Small courageous acts will turn into larger ones. Our confidence will grow, shriveling self-doubt. Our “what ifs” will become “Oh, yeahs?!”
So, how can we create the context for nurturing courage?
We can stop avoiding experiences outside of our comfort zone. We can actively engage with our world, instead of letting things “happen” to us. We can speak up for ourselves and begin to ignore the voices of others. We can send our Inner Critic packing. We can surround ourselves with people who believe in us and we can truly believe what they see in us. We can ensure that we give ourselves credit when we take each small step. We can turn fear into a challenge and just go for it.
Looking to build up your courage and self-confidence? Then you don’t want to miss my up-coming FREE teleseminar, Reclaim Your Power…let’s make some changes! It will be a live phone call on April 29 with other like-minded women. And if you can’t make the call—bummer—those who register will be given access to the teleseminar recording.
So, register now, before you forget!
Your Call to Action
Be honest: what area of your life could use a courage boost? When are you afraid to step out of your comfort zone in that area? If you could be courageous in that situation, what would change and what gift would come to you? Now revisit that situation in your mind, with your personal change in place. Notice what’s different. You know how to act courageously next time—believe you will do it!