You see, courage is what you have when you act boldly. Think of the person who saves a dog lying on the tracks while a train is hurtling toward him. Consider the husband who throws himself in front of his wife when a burglar points a gun at her. Or recall the stories of those who saved people from drowning during a hurricane or freezing during a blizzard.
That’s bold action.
And people will relate these stories and call those involved courageous. Indeed, they are.
Strengthening Your Courage Muscle
You might be wondering how you become courageous. I would reply, “Take bold action.”
I’m not being flippant, though. That’s the most honest answer I can offer.
I realize you might feel like you can’t take bold action, but you can. Simply start small.
Building courage is like building muscles. If you want to become stronger, you first have to start with light weights and fewer reps. Then, as you get stronger, you can lift heavier weights and do more reps.
So, begin strengthening your courage muscle with small bold actions. Later you can try larger ones. For example, you might go to a new restaurant or eat out alone if that feels like a stretch. Or you could take up a hobby out of your comfort zone. Even trying a new diet, asking someone on a date, or getting a new hairstyle can feel like being courageous.
My Courageous Trip to Paris
About six years ago, I decided I needed to strengthen my courage muscle. My son, a professional dancer, was performing in Paris, France. My husband couldn’t travel with me, which he usually does if I go abroad, so I decided to go alone.
I had not traveled to Europe alone since I was 20 years old! I was scared about many things, like getting through customs, finding my hotel, ordering food in restaurants, getting around the city, and making my way back to the airport. But I did all those things and was fine…actually more than fine.
As a result, I proved to myself I could do it. I could travel alone without my spouse to guide the way. And I could navigate new situations courageously.
The Power of Trusting Yourself
There’s another element to becoming courageous—trust. If you don’t trust yourself, you will find it more challenging to take bold action.
On some level, I had to trust that I could handle a European trip by myself. Of course, I knew I’d done it before…albeit when I was much younger, so I had some proof. I had a track record.
But what if you don’t have that history or even the slightest degree of self-trust? Again, start small.
Trust isn’t automatic. Usually, we have to earn trust. So earn your own trust…
What would you do that is slightly courageous and will demonstrate that you are trustworthy?
In this case, trusting yourself involves feeling confident you can care for yourself. So find ways to do that.
For instance, maybe you go to the doctor even though you’ve been afraid to make that appointment. Scheduling and showing up for the visit demonstrates that you can be trusted to care for yourself…and to follow through on your promises to yourself.
Or take a hard look at your financial situation. If you see that you have been irresponsible in some way with your money, become responsible. For example, create a budget or find a way to pay down your debt. Do that, and you will know that you can be trusted with your money…and to keep yourself safe.
These small and somewhat innocuous bold actions add up to a much higher trust level. And with more trust, you will be more likely to act courageously.
You Won’t Die
I realize that some bold actions could result in death—like rescuing the dog on the tracks, standing between your partner and a gunman, or rescuing someone in a crisis situation. But, if you are like most people, the bold action you have to take puts you in no real danger.
Your fear is just your focus on a negative future potential outcome. But that outcome is imagined and may never occur. And even if it did, you wouldn’t die.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say they tried something they were scared to do—like quit a job, move, get a divorce, voice their feelings, or move to another country. I always ask these individuals, “And did you die?”
I’m sure you can imagine their response. “No, I didn’t die,” they say sheepishly.
So much worry and anxiety for no reason!
I understand, though. I am often at fault for overthinking and worrying about unwanted outcomes. When that happens, there’s no way for me to take any action, let alone bold action.
The same goes for you or anyone who is too afraid to act. And if you are waiting to feel courageous, you now realize that’s a broken strategy.
The only way to gain courage is to take bold action. Do courageous things. Then you will realize you have the courage after all, and you’ll trust yourself enough to feel the fear and do it—whatever “it” is—anyway.
Indeed, courage is not about moving through fear. It’s about feeling the fear and not letting it stop you from doing what you know you’d do if you weren’t afraid. Act boldly anyway. That’s courage.
Do you act boldly or allow fear to keep you stuck while you wait for courage? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.
If you want to increase your ability to create desired results—like those on the other side of bold action, let’s chat. Get on my calendar here. Or join the Inspired Creator Community for group personal and spiritual growth coaching every month.