Ways to Find Courage when you Need it Most. We all need the courage to live lives where we can fulfill our greatest potential at work and at home, as well as our potential for joy and happiness.
Here are some ways to find Courage when you Need it Most in your life.
1. Manipulate your thoughts
Our thoughts profoundly influence what we feel and what we do. When we think about times when we’ve done poorly at something, we are likely to feel insecure and weak, upping the odds that we’ll actually do something insecure and weak.
That said, trying to control what we don’t think about doesn’t work. In other words, it doesn’t work to say to yourself, “I have to stop being afraid.”
Instead, take a two-pronged approach to thinking brave thoughts. First, pay attention. If you notice yourself having a thought that undermines your attempts at bravery, simply label it as such: “Oh, there’s a fearful thought.” For example, say you are trying to get yourself to ask a question at a conference, but you are too afraid to raise your hand, and you notice yourself imagining that the presenter thinks you are dumb. Say to yourself, “That is a thought that will make me feel afraid to ask my question,” and take a deep breath. Noticing your not-brave thoughts can give you the distance you need to not act according to that thought and the feeling it produces.
Second, actively fill your mind with courageous thoughts. Consider times when you’ve been brave before. Focus on how people just like you have done what you are mustering the courage to do.
Think about how the last time you did it, it wasn’t that hard. Think about how you’ll regret it if you don’t do it. And about how the worst-case scenario is something you can deal with. Remind yourself of your long-term goals.
2. Consider that your fear isn’t legitimate. Sometimes fear is more about excitement and thrill and passion than it is a warning that you are about to do something dangerous.
Examine to know whether or not your fear is holding you back. Legitimate fear tends to make us want to get the heck out of whatever situation we are in.
Not-helpful fear, on the other hand, makes us hesitate rather than bolt. We are afraid of looking stupid, and so we don’t ask a burning question. We fear to fail, and so we don’t even try.
The key is knowing the difference between legitimate and not-helpful fear. Do you have the desire to get the heck out of whatever situation is making you fearful? If so, your fear is likely legitimate.
But if your fear is making you hesitate, consider that your fear is unfounded. Take a deep breath, and make the leap.
3. Make specific plans for obstacles you might face
This is an important technique not just for being more courageous, but also for being more successful in your endeavors.
Ask yourself: What obstacles are you likely to encounter? People who plan for how they’re going to react to different obstacles tend to be able to meet their goals more successfully; in other words, scary challenges don’t stop them, especially when they formulate “If X, then Y” plans for each potential difficulty.
It is important to remember that the hard things we have to do or say are actually rarely what make us uncomfortable. It is the fear we feel that makes us uneasy. Fear is the thing that in truth makes actions hard, not the action that we think we are afraid of.
Not doing something because we are afraid is actually not the easy way out in the long run. Though it might seem counter-intuitive, it is finding the courage to try, or push ahead, or speak up, or make a change that will help us live and work from our sweet spot. Ironically, when we do the hard thing, ultimately we find more ease.
What is your favorite way to cultivate courage? Inspire others in the comments here!