Top Tips for Building Courage

Courage – ‘the ability to do something that frightens one’.

Bravery, pluck, valour, intrepidity, nerve, boldness, strength.

Wouldn’t you love to describe yourself with these words?

We tend to think of courage as something mustered in times of huge adversity. We talk of the courage of soldiers, the courage of patients facing treatment; the courage of children who stand up for themselves; the courage of journalists going into war zones to report on atrocity.

But courage does not have to be a momentous act. We need courage every day to do the things in which we are not confident. Whether it is dealing with a difficult colleague, addressing a relationship issue, walking into a networking event – it can be anything. A quick browse of the self-help section will give you a host of titles on how to build confidence. But sometimes, that warm glow of self-belief just is not there. In those times you have a choice – do nothing and accept the status quo or use courage and do it anyway.

So how do you grasp that courage?

  1. Challenge your inner voice. If it is telling you that failure is inevitable, that you will look a fool, that everything will go wrong – then answer it back with rebuttals. What are the real chances of disaster? If you do face disaster, what is the get-out plan?
  2. Talk to people who have already lived your dream. Learn from them and get encouragement.
  3. Plan your strategy. If you are facing a big change, then leaping in feet first is a risk. So make a step by step plan and create your strategy. But don’t stay doing this for an eternity. Some of the best laid plans stay as dusty dreams if they do not have a start date.
  4. Create a buffer. This might be financial or it might be somebody who will assist. Just make sure you have the means of money, time and resource before you start.
  5. Tell people. A bit like going on a diet – telling people what you are planning on doing both cements your courage and forces you into action. Very important here is that you get the buy-in of people who might be affected by you change. If they are impacted by surprise, they might work against you or at least, not support you.
  6. Visualise. One of the most powerful courage builders is to build your mental picture of life after you have made the change. See our article on visualisation for guidance.
  7. DO IT. The most obvious and yet the most important step of all. Set a date. Get excited. Accept the fear. Live with the worry. The only alternative is dropping your dreams in the dustbin of regrets.
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