(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)
I was reminded this week that courage is not only having the strength to start something, it’s also having the fortitude to finish it. It’s the ability to hold the focus and keep going despite setbacks, challenges or criticism. Sometimes the opposition can be of our own making – allowing sabotaging thoughts to sweep tsunami-like through our heads.
Here are some tips for staying the course and continuing to act courageously when the times get tough and it feels like you might be losing heart.
Remember your reason. Remind yourself why you want to be courageous. What is your goal? What are you trying to achieve? Two of my favourite reminders are these – Anais Nin’s, “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage” and Maya Angelou’s, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Whatever your reason, take time to remember it and it will help you stay on course.
Release the result. Developing courage is like building a muscle. See each courageous action you take, no matter how big or small, as a way to strengthen your courage muscle. Thinking about the result of your courageous action will not help you do it. Let go of your attachment to the outcome and celebrate the win of taking the action.
Pick your people. Make sure you have people in your life who are encouraging you and cheering you on. Having people around you that support you, love you and have your back is essential to being brave. Develop your support system.
Examine your expectations. Remembering that progress is messy will help you keep going through the challenging times. What is now easy for you was once difficult. Keep that in mind and keep going. Remember the imaginal goo story? If not, you can read about it here. The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens. (Brene Brown)
The last strategy for developing courage is this – write a list of all the things that frighten you. Everything on that list holds a bit of your power. Take back your power.
May awakening your courage open up your choices, allow you to connect more deeply with yourself and others, and lead you to a life of greater fulfilment.
I work with women to awaken the courage to find their version of extraordinary and live it! I’d love to put my honours degree in social work and my expertise in coaching to work for you. Connect with me here.