“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
What is Courage?
When we think of someone brave or courageous, often we picture a fearless adventurer or an unshakable warrior. We imagine that it is so easy for this type of person to act courageously, with no fears to hold them back. But the truth is, COURAGE is what helps us overcome and move past our fears, not the absence of fear. Being courageous doesn’t mean that we don’t have any fears, it means that we act in spite of our fear. Even the strongest looking warrior on the outside, has their own fears to conquer on the inside.
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” John Wayne
So, how does one do it?
How do we become courageous & move past our fears? Check out these tips below for managing and moving past fear. Try them out & allow your courage to rise!
Step 1 – Acknowledge your fear.
Courageous people act despite their fears. We all have our own set of worries or fears. When you recognize that you have a fear, go ahead and acknowledge that it’s there. Consider what some of the reasons may be that you have this fear. Perhaps, these reasons don’t make any logical sense, or you may have no reasons at all. Even if you have a good reason for a fear to exist, acknowledging and embracing where you are with this fear is a healthy starting point.
Step 2 – Imagine.
Now that you’ve given your fear the consideration it deserves, imagine what it would be like if you no longer had this fear. How would you think? How would you act? Allow ideas to arise about the way you would feel and the things you would do if you did not allow this fear to control your actions. What could you accomplish? Allow this image of yourself to serve as motivation for your pursuit. Now, where does your bravery lie? Imagine it growing inside of you, giving you inner strength and guidance to move past that fear & towards your goals.
Step 3 – Be present.
Often times, fears arise because we are thinking about the future – we are fantasizing about the worst possible outcome. Or maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past that has left you with reservations. Fear tends to live strongest in the past or future, but less so in the present moment. Bring yourself back to the present moment as much as possible. Focus on what is happening NOW, what you are actually doing and what is actually happening, rather than worries about the future or unpleasant memories of the past.
Step 4 – Shift perspective.
Rather than allowing your mind to fill with “what ifs” focus on WHY you are doing what you are doing. Likely you have a good reason for wanting to move forward with whatever task it is that scares you. Keep your focus on that reason & allow it to motivate and fuel you. Allow it to infuse you with the power to move ahead.
Step 5 – Take action.
Just do it! You can only do so much in your head. Once you’ve given yourself a pep-talk & set yourself up for success, the only thing left to do is to act. Jump in! Even if you don’t feel ready, even if you still feel scared – do it anyway and see what happens. Experiment, try, act! This is having courage!
Step 6 – Reward yourself.
You’ve done it! Or maybe you’ve partially done it, but at least you’ve done SOMETHING. Acknowledge this success! Any step in the direction towards moving past your fears is a step to be congratulated! This is hard work! Recognize your efforts and remind yourself how awesome you are for facing your fears and for moving to get past them. Rewarding yourself in any way, whether it be a tangible treat or simple self-praise, will remind you of your strengths and help you to feel stronger in the face of your fears in the future!
Step 7 – Repeat.
Do it all over again and again and again! Keep challenging yourself to act courageously in spite of any fears that may arise. The more you do, the less scary those fears become until eventually, you’re no longer afraid of those things. And if a new fear crops up you’ll know exactly the steps to take to get past that one as well.