Courage, what is it? I’m sure it means something different for each of us. Let’s take a look at how the dictionary defines it.
Step 1 – Define Courage for You
You can determine what courage means to you; to help here is how the dictionary defines courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. It also states to have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Does that ring true for you? It did somewhat for me. I have always thought of courage as an act of or to take action with bravery, but that it didn’t always mean without fear. Sometimes, fear is the motivating energy to take that action.
For instance, one day a child got her foot/shoe caught in the escalator at the mall. She was screaming, I peeked over the rail, saw the child’s foot being pulled in between the steps, I looked around, everyone was staring in shock and horror.
I jumped over the movie line ropes to the end of the escalator and lifted a box to push the button for the stairs to stop. It was that courageous act that was fueled into action by fear. I decided to recognize the fear and act anyway. On to step #2.
Step 2 – Face the Fear
Susan Jeffers wrote a book years ago called, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It is what I am saying here. You may feel fear, however, face it and recognize it for what it is. Is there truly something to fear? Or is it just uncomfortable, difficult, or something you have never done before?
Can you think of a time when you actually had this or similar fear and you were brave in the face of it? Remember what that courage felt like and imitate that feeling again. Maybe it is just about changing your mind about something or someone. Is the price of staying the same worth it? This leads to step 3.
Step 3 – Determine the Worth
Now that you have faced it, what would happen if you moved through it? Is the reward and personal growth worth the pain, fear, or being uncomfortable? If yes, then envision ways in which you could proceed. Start off small, maybe even map out a plan that will help you grow more courageous.
How about courageously being the authentic you? To really find and use YOUR voice and speak up for what you want or need… whew, that can take a lot of courage, right? Start by taking small steps daily with those you interact with the most. Or you might begin by being more open, trusting, and revealing with your friends and family. Allow those who love you to support you.