Courage. A necessary ingredient for progress.

comfort zoneA recipe for great accomplishment always includes a dash of courage. No matter what the achievement, the unwritten understanding is that the journey to the goal was challenging. There is seldom a celebration or even an acknowledgement of completed routine tasks where no challenge is presented. Most of us don’t get medals, or even a moment of personal acknowledgement for brushing our teeth.

Whether your goal is a physical challenge, a mental test, an emotional quest or some combination of the three, you’ve set it as a goal because there will be challenges. Facing challenge requires courage. Courage is the product of commitment, determination, risk and fear. Courageous actions take place when the power of commitment and determination supersedes the force of fear and the weight of risk.

Without courage we would remain stagnant. We would avoid all risks and never take on voluntary challenges. Courage is what moves us forward in all aspects of our lives. Courage is a trait that can be built, strengthened and grown. But it’s not easy… Building courage takes courage.

Lululemon bags, poster and swag encourage us to follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and “do one thing a day that scares you”. This is exactly how you build up your courage levels. Not every scary task should be a huge terrifying one, but there are lots of little things that present risk and create fear. Start with the small ones.

Here’s a game plan of ramping up your courage factor.

  • Make yourself a personal list of 7 small courage actions you can take this week. One for each day.
  • Decide to order your list easiest to toughest and assign each task to a day OR decide to go with the flow of each day. Either way, decide now, and proceed with intention. Be brave!
  • Take a moment to weigh out the risk of each action. Put your fear in perspective.
  • Acknowledge the benefit you may gain from each action. Elevate your commitment level!
  • Now, every time you make one of your courageous moves, cross it off the list.
  • Every time you cross off a task, in its place, write 3 words that describe how you feel now that you’ve done it. This is IMPORTANT.
  • At the end of the week, review your list of words and all of the courage points you’ve earned.
  • Write down 3 key benefits you have experienced because of your bravery in the past week.
  • Write down 3 things you were afraid of at the start of the week. Cross out the fears that didn’t come true… And were ultimately a waste of energy from your worry account.
  • Now that you are more courageous, you have acknowledged the benefits of your actions and experienced positive reinforcement… Do it all again for the next week.

Building courage takes time and effort. It’s not easy, or you wouldn’t need to be courageous. Remember, the more courage you have, the more challenging goals you can take on and the bigger accomplishment you will experience.

When you’re afraid, you’re onto something important.  If your big goals to Best Yourself include an athletic feat, a career progression, a leap in your personal life or something so great it doesn’t even fit in a category, you are going to need courage… A lot of it.

So, what are you going to do today to challenge your courage levels? How will you Best Yourself today?

For additional inspiration – revisit: Squash Your Fear of Failure – Take Your Next Step

Eirinn Boots


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