“Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”
Every day we are faced with choices. Sometimes these choices are relatively easy – what should I wear, what do I want for lunch, should I work out? Sometimes they are much more difficult.
The difficult choices are usually the ones based on what I call “Moments that Matter” – and are choices that have the potential to put us on a completely different life trajectory than we had been on. Moments that Matter are those times in our lives that stop us in our day-to-day existence and give us the opportunity to take stock of our lives. Maybe you are looking at your just-born child and know that you need to change your life so that you can be the best parent you can. Maybe you have just lost a loved one and suddenly realize that life is short – and that you better start living it. Or perhaps you’re sitting at your desk at work and start asking yourself, “Is this all there is to life?”
Regardless of how you get there, these Moments that Matter are designed to shake you up and cause you to reassess your lives. Fully stepping into the choice you make as a result of the Moment that Matter and starting to take action require courage, because every step you take could bring up feelings of fear.
So, how do you work through that fear and make courage your daily companion? Here are some ideas:
- Admit to yourself that you are afraid. Often we feel that fear is something to be ashamed of, unless we are in an extreme circumstance.
- Ask yourself if your fear is valid. Our minds have an amazing ability to expand and exaggerate a situation, especially when that situation is related to our individual growth. Is that happening for you? Or, is the fear warranted given the situation?
- Determine the root cause of this fear. Is it based on something that happened to you in the past, for example? If you can determine the root cause, you may be able to reframe your current situation to show that the old fear doesn’t apply.
- Know that fear is always going to be there…and remind yourself that you have worked through your fears in the past. Come up with at least half a dozen ways you have shown courage in the past. Keep this list handy and refer to it whenever you need to bolster your confidence.
- Breathe into your heart when you feel fear. Imagine as you breathe in that your breath goes directly to your heart, strengthening it and connecting it to the power of love. When you exhale, imagine the breath that leaves takes away your fear from your body. Do several times until you feel empowered and bold.
- Remind yourself why you want to move past your fear and what you are trying to accomplish. Keeping your goal in mind can help inspire you when fear wants to hold you back.
- Take one small, baby step through your fear. You don’t need to conquer all your fears or every step of your goal in one day! Taking one small step and achieving it can reassure you that you can work through the rest of your fear as you move forward.
- Find someone who will encourage you when you feel fearful. This could be a friend or family member, or a professional, such as a coach, shaman or therapist.
Once you make courage your companion, you can face anything!