How Do We Become More Courageous?

Nothing worthwhile in life comes without some effort and even some pain, that's what ultimately gives it value. It's time to tackle new challenges!

Natural Courage

Being brave comes easily for some people and I admire those who have the courage to grab life with both hands and leap at new opportunities that come their way. They never seem to suffer from self-doubt, they have an innate sense of self-confidence that allows them to tackle any new challenge that comes along.

I envy people like that! Unfortunately I've never felt like one of them. It seems to be part of my nature to always choose the safe option, and in doing so I've missed out on things because the chance to act passed by before I'd given myself permission to be brave and just go for it. But I'm working on changing that - how courageous we are isn't written in stone, we always have the choice about how we respond when something new comes our way.

What If I Don't Feel Brave?

The expression "fake it til you make it" was something I heard back in the days when I worked in a large government department. Because it was the government, there were always changes to policy and new stuff popping up every day. It could all be a little daunting at times. Team coaching was a big part of the culture of the organization and I once had a team leader who encouraged us to put on a brave face and "fake it til we made it". 

The idea was that if we were prepared to have a go at a new task, if we went into it with an expectation that we could conquer the new challenge, there was a very good chance that we'd master the new skill and be competent before long. To avoid learning something new, to live in fear of failure, or to refuse to try were not options - new changes needed to be tackled head on and going in with some bravado was often enough to get our heads in the game and for us to realize that we were more than capable of reaching new goals.

Self-Doubt Is A Killer

Too often we doubt ourselves and start second guessing our decisions. I know I am the worst example of this at times. I get enthused about something new and then start looking at all the reasons why it wouldn't work or why I shouldn't do it. It's so easy to let the negative committee inside our head take over and talk us down. Our inner voice is so often critical and so rarely positive. We can be our own worst enemies at times.

“Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up!” – Ann Bradford

Sometimes we just have to push those voices into the background and take a leap of faith - faith in ourselves and our abilities, faith in our own inner resources, faith in the hard work that we're capable of putting into a new challenge, and faith in the fact that we're competent, and capable, and open to success. Once you start turning off the self-doubt, it leaves room for self-confidence to find a voice and for courage to rise up in response.

New Challenges

We may not be facing life changing challenges, we might not be looking death in the eye, we might not be about to climb a mountain, or conquer a front on assault..... but we each have opportunities that come our way that we can miss out on if we're not brave enough to make an attempt at meeting and beating them. It might be a new job offer, a relationship, friendship, a new skill, a hobby we'd always wanted to try, a fear that's held us back, a risk we've been too scared to take. Maybe it's time to put our game face on and have a go?

I feel like now is the time for a lot of us to re-think the direction we've been heading in. As we get older we realize that we've done a lot based on obligation or assumption. Often we have lived our lives around how we think others want us to "perform", and we've quashed our own wants and feelings because it's been easier to go with the flow than to be courageous and step out into our own strengths.

The Future

Nothing worthwhile in life comes without some effort and even some pain, that's what ultimately gives it value. Being courageous enough to tackle new challenges means that we won't be missing out on opportunities that we may have previously allowed to pass by. How exciting to think that there is always more to learn and more to experience - life constantly offers us new beginnings and I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see where it will take me next if I'm brave enough to accept the challenge.

Nothing worthwhile in life comes without some effort and even some pain, that's what ultimately gives it value. It's time to tackle new challenges!

Wisdom and Warmth - a blog for those looking for ways to live life in full bloom.