Courage, what is it? I’m sure it means something different for each of us. Let’s take a look at how the dictionary defines it.
Step 1 – Define Courage for You
You can determine what courage means to you; to help here is how the dictionary defines courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. It also states to have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Does that ring true for you? It did somewhat for me. I have always thought of courage as an act of or to take action with bravery, but that it didn’t always mean without fear. Sometimes, fear is the motivating energy to take that action.
For instance, one day a child got her foot/shoe caught in the escalator at the mall. She was screaming, I peaked over the rail, saw the child’s foot being pulled in between the steps, I looked around, everyone was staring in shock and horror.
I jumped over the movie line ropes to the end of the escalator and lifted a box to push the button for the stairs to stop. It was that courageous act that was fueled into action by fear. I decided to recognize the fear and act anyway. On to step #2.
Step 2 – Face the Fear
Susan Jeffers wrote a book years ago called, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It is what I am saying here. You may feel fear, however, face it and recognize it for what it is. Is there truly something to fear? Or is it just uncomfortable, difficult, or something you have never done before?
Can you think of a time when you actually had this or similar fear and you were brave in the face of it? Remember what that courage felt like and imitate that feeling again. Maybe it is just about changing your mind about something or someone. Is the price of staying the same worth it? This leads to step 3.
Step 3 – Determine the Worth
Now that you have faced it, what would happen if you moved through it? Is the reward and personal growth worth the pain, fear, or being uncomfortable? If yes, then envision ways in which you could proceed. Start off small, maybe even map out a plan that will help you grow more courageous.
How about courageously being the authentic you? To really find and use YOUR voice and speak up for what you want or need… whew, that can take a lot of courage, right? Start by taking small steps daily with those you interact with the most. Or you might begin by being more open, trusting, and revealing with your friends and family. Allow those who love you to support you.
Let them in on you are growing into being more authentic, and this takes courage, so maybe they will need to cut you some slack. Over time, you can make your goals bigger and expand over into other relationships, like work interactions. Again just start small until your courage grows, and then expand allowing your true self to shine through, moving on to step 4.
Step 4 – Be True to You
What exactly does that mean? Do you know who you are? If you answer yes, then making your decision based on staying true to you becomes easier. If no, well then this needs to be contemplated on. Ask yourself a few questions.
In what circumstances do I shut down, be quiet, or agree when I don’t really? How do I feel after not speaking up for what I believe? Is not saying something in this circumstance going to help me grow and evolve? These are just a few ideas to have you think and to you dig deeper into your inner self.
It takes a lot of courage to stay true to you, since this is where most criticism comes from. Most people want to keep others stuck in the way they have always known and experienced them, for this makes them comfortable. It is time to take off the mask of insecurity, artificial, and false personas to live your true life.
It doesn’t have to be something huge. Just start small with one word or one thought and build off that. Start where you are, and keep moving toward your goal, small step by step, which puts us at step # 5.
Step 5 -Take Action Today
We’ve all heard there is no time like the present, right? So, what are we waiting for? Start today, pick an area of your life you think you could be more courageous. First come up with your fear, and then do the steps. What is preventing you from living your amazing life? Most likely it is fear.
How do we overcome fear? By facing it and taking smalls steps in each moment to a more courageous life. You will start trusting yourself, and your courage will grow, along with your life.
Here is a perfect summary quote by Anais Nin, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Live the life you have always imagined by taking action on being courageous, coming from a place of love, and constantly evolving into the best version of your true self.
Dr. Wendy Kaveney is a Dale Carnegie Leadership graduate, Board member of Conscious Humanity and Managing Director of the Center of Love groups nationwide. Wendy provides expert, personalized service in her many executive roles. With high ethics, integrity, and dedication to excellence, she generously shares her wisdom and incorporates a mindful approach to business. Contact – Website – Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn
© 2017 Dr. Wendy Kaveney. All rights reserved
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