Courage is loosely defined as the ability to confront fear, pain, risk, intimidation and uncertainty. Engaging in courage means we are “acting courageous”. There are obvious examples of people acting courageous such as firemen and police officers. So what allows people to walk into their own courage? Recently an article was published in the June issue of Neuron, which says we all have the capacity to tap into our courage center. So let’s take a look at what that may entail.
Paul G. Stoltz, PhD, president/CEO of Peak Learning International and author of Adversity Quotient, states we draw courage from what matters to us. He states, “the changes you are willing to make are the ones that have the greatest significance.” So it becomes quite important that we make sure we know what really matters to us individually.
There are a number of things that can hold us back from engaging our courage. These barriers include:
- Fear of change – when we learn to be less controlled by our fears we become more courageous.
- All or Nothing thinking – you may see yourself either as a “wimp” or as courageous. There is no middle ground and you can’t live in your comfort zone. You have to be courageous at times.
- Fear of Failure – rarely do we have success without failure. It is important that we learn to fail and be willing to in order to grow in our success.
- Lack of Faith – self-doubt can hold any of us back from many things. Having faith in your own abilities and capacities goes a long way to engaging in courage.
- Personal Fears – whether this relates to phobias or growth one must take the time to consider what your fears are (loss of control, fear of making a bad decision, fear of self-responsibility, etc.) and then work to move beyond each one.
Once you have decided what matters to you, try these techniques to “engage your courage”:
- Recall previous times when you acted courageously. Did you stand up to a bully in school? Did you quit a good job to start your own business? By examining how you acted courageously instills more courage within you. Also always applaud yourself for showing courage.
- Shift your focus. Do not worry about failing or disappointing other people. Worry instead about failing yourself.
- Eliminate the words wish, hope and maybe from your vocabulary. “These words erode your courage by filling you with doubt, fear or hesitation,” says Dr. Harold Bloomfield, MD, a Yale-trained psychiatrist and author of Making Peace with Your Past.
- Do your homework. If appropriate, know the obstacles you might encounter. But remember that no matter how much you analyze the situation, you will still have unknown answers.
- Surround yourself with courageous people. People who support and encourage you to engage in your own courage actually influence you to reach for higher goals.
- Imagine what life will be like when your challenge has passed. Using your visualization abilities help you to find courage to engage as you “see” yourself being successful.
- Give it your all. Courage happens only when we give 100%. Make sure you are willing to give all that you have at any given moment.
- Once you have engaged in courage, evaluate the experience. Did you define the experience as successful? If not, what needs to be changed? If it was, make sure you recognize what you did and “learn the lesson” for future use.
Always remember that courage helps you to live life in the ways you want. Additional help in this area can be found on the website: iLookin.com.