In a class I held recently, as well as in a poll I posted on Facebook, I asked a question:
Is courage a choice?
All respondents said YES.
Which raises another question: If courage is simply a choice, why would we ever choose otherwise?
As I’m sure you can imagine, various factors can come into play. Courage may (and typically does) require us to step out of our comfort zone, which is, well, uncomfortable. Like Brene Brown writes, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”
It’s easier to choose – and re-choose – courage when we have some sturdy tools in our tool kit. Hence today’s article! I hope you feel empowered by these three ideas that you can implement right away.
Determine your Courage Role Model.
When you think of the word COURAGE, who pops into your mind?
My Grandma is one of my Courage Role Models. She exemplified courage in how she persevered through challenges, maintained optimism in difficulty, cared for others and herself, found and created humor … and so many other reasons. When I need a boost of courage, I sometimes think, “What would Grandma do in this situation?”
Think of your own Courage Role Model, whether someone in your immediate life or someone who, from afar, appears to exemplify courage. Then ask yourself (perhaps in your journal) a few questions:
What qualities do they embody that I’d like to develop in myself?
If I asked them what helps build their courage, what might they tell me?
If they were in my current situation, how might they approach it?
Take your newly-discovered knowledge, which was with you all along, and apply it as needed.
Who is your Courage Role Model?
Develop a Courage Mantra.
When my son played on the baseball team, I loved how fans and teammates would cheer and encourage each of the players as they went up to bat. One of the parents often used the phrase, “Say you can!”
It took me a beat, but I came to love that phrase. Often, when we feel less than courageous, it’s because our mind is telling us stories: “What makes you think you can do this?” or “You’re out of your league here,” for example. That simple phrase, “Say you can,” offers a quick and effective reply when your inner critic wants to say you can’t.
I have a variety of mantras I choose from regularly; everything from “You got this” to “Focus on today” to “This too shall pass” to “Peace be with you.” I often choose one before I head out on a walk, then match its repeating rhythm with my footsteps.
What is your courage mantra? How can you use it today?
Document Your Own Track Record.
The fact of the matter is, you’ve demonstrated courage throughout your entire life. But do you give yourself credit for it?
Sometimes that ol’ comparison trap prevents us from honoring our own courage. We think making that phone call we were scared to make doesn’t count – “It’s not something Hollywood producers would come knocking on my door about,” a client recently told me.
But – did you step out of your comfort zone? Did you do something you weren’t sure you could? Did you face an uncertainty or fear, stay true to your values, or speak up even if your voice was shaky?
That takes courage, my friend.
Create a list of 5 or more times you did something courageous and were glad you did. Continue adding to the list as you continue living your life. You’ll always have documented proof of your courage to look back on when your mind wants to convince you otherwise.
What shows up on your courage list?
Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC is the Certified Executive + Personal Coach for difference-making achievers! Clarify your vision, free up time, and confidently reach bold goals with meaning and purpose! Contact us today for coaching, speaking, and Mastermind opportunities, or click here and fill in the blue box to join our email community.