The cowardly lion isn’t the only one who wonders what their life would be like if they had more courage. Imagine standing up for your convictions and taking risks to go after the things that are important to you.
There are two major schools of thought about courage.
You might act boldly because you are fearless. On the other hand, you might feel anxious, but forge ahead anyway because you decide that the rewards are worth it.
Either way, courage is a skill that you can cultivate. Use this 3-step plan to conquer your doubts and face the things that scare you.
Build up Your Faith
1. Value yourself. Know that you’re worthwhile. Bravery comes down to making yourself vulnerable because the rewards justify taking the risk. Ask yourself how far you’ll go to live out your dreams.
2. Call on your strengths. Believe in your abilities. Reflect on your past accomplishments and understand your potential.
3. Connect with the divine. Reach out to something bigger than yourself. Set aside time each day for prayer and meditation. Discover what your faith tradition teaches about the nature of courage.
Team up With Others
1. Look for partners. We’re more powerful when we act together. Surround yourself with friends and allies who share your aspirations.
Put together a team that complements each other’s abilities. Be a collaborative leader who engages others and encourages innovation.
2. Select inspiring role models. It’s good to have heroes. Find a mentor who has the qualities you want to possess. It may be your college professor or a character in your favorite novel.
3. Share moral support. Sometimes the most valuable things we give each other are intangible. Empathize with your friend when she is struggling to start dating again after a divorce. Be thankful when she validates you the next time you’re steeling yourself for a sensitive conversation with your teenage son.
Practice Your Skills
1. Distinguish between feelings and actions. We usually need to act if we want our fears to dissolve. Showing yourself that you can succeed even when you feel anxious teaches you to tackle challenges. The good news is that it becomes easier each time.
2. Take small steps. Start out with something modest. Schedule that dental checkup you’ve been putting off.
3. Master your timing. Gambling wisely means recognizing the opportune moment. Determine when you have the resources to move ahead. Your small business is more likely to thrive if you write out your business plan and line up investors.
4. Manage stress. Staying fit prepares you to be more adventurous. Protect your body from the consequences of chronic stress so you have greater energy and strength.
5. Think positive. Resolve to be optimistic. Stay hopeful by focusing on what you have to gain. Picture your boss being impressed by your proposal to save money on shipping costs and shorten delivery times.
6. Hang in there. Have the courage to persevere when success fails to come instantly. Difficult tasks may require sustained time and effort.
7. Be sensible. At the same time, you want to pick your battles. Being courageous is different from being reckless.
Look out for your safety and the wellbeing of those around you. Plan ahead so you’ll be ready to deal with the outcomes of your decisions. Celebrate your victories and learn from your mishaps.
Cultivate the courage to push beyond your comfort zone. It’s okay to feel a little afraid as long as you keep working towards your goals. Being brave empowers you to enjoy a richer life and accomplish more.