Top 3 Ways to Discover Your Courage
Life is the Accumulation of our Days. Do you want to feel disappointed or proud at the end of yours?
After my father died, I recognized my own mortality. It wasn’t the first loss I’d experienced, and there was something different in losing a biological parent. This loss was very painful, but it helped me to get clear on the things I wanted to experience in life and those things which I wanted to let go.
For several years, I went on an inward journey. During this time, I recognized some truths about myself. I was not using all my gifts and talents. I was wasting them. I was choosing to play it safe because going down the road less traveled felt scary. I didn’t have the confidence in myself or the gumption to challenge the status quo. But I was no longer happy with my project management career. I didn’t feel like I was making a difference, but I wanted to. Armed with this insight and the courage my father’s passing bolstered in me, I went to coach training and became a life coach. That decision led me down the path I’m on right now — coaching, writing, podcasting, and living in France.
Each of these things scared me at first. The uncertainty, self-doubt, and outright fear was present before, and during the first steps I took on each of these journeys. But to experience these things, which hold so much meaning for me and make me feel satisfied and happy, I had to face my fears, take action, and move through them. This is at the heart of the work I do with my clients, and it is the topic of my books and my podcast. Over the last year, I’ve interviewed dozens of bold souls to find out how they manage to feel the fear and go for what they want anyway. So many of my guests had terrific tips, but the following three spoke to me the most thus far.
Worst-case scenario Technique
When we want to do something, but we are afraid to do it, a lot of times that fear comes from thinking catastrophic thoughts. If I quit my job and become an entrepreneur, I’ll fail and wind up living on the street. If I move to France, I won’t be able to support myself and will have to return and leave my dream behind, feeling I’ve failed. If I appear as a guest on a podcast, my message might not resonate, and people might judge me negatively. If, if, if. Disaster thought after disaster thought after disaster thought.
But Kristine Winkle Tacy, who I interviewed after she left a job to take a year off and figure out what was next for her, shared a method she uses to move through these kinds of thoughts and get into action. When she wants to make a decision that scares her, she does the following:
- She asks herself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I do what I’m considering doing?
- Then she follows that scenario through the nth degree and asks herself, “Then what would happen? And then what would happen? until she has gotten to the outcome of the scenario.
- Then she asks herself, “How likely that is to happen?” and “Could I rebound from that situation?”
- She takes the likelihood and pairs that with her ability to discern, using her faith, what she should do.
- Then she makes a decision, guided by a more realistic view of possible outcomes and her faith. She commits to her choice and takes action, if that is her decision.
This technique is a powerful one that you can put into use right now. It will allow you to face what could happen and put it into context. You can start down the path to troubleshooting your idea, which is an action step in itself. And you will be able to see your fears in new and different ways, ways that demystify them and bring them down to earth where you can deal with them realistically and intuitively.
Speaking it into Existence Technique
Sometimes we have a dream in our hearts and minds, but we never take action on it. Fear, self-doubt, lack of confidence stop us dead in our tracks, and our dreams die. Richie Crowley, who just finished riding his bike across the United States, takes another tack to get unstuck and realize his supersized dreams. When he appeared on my podcast earlier this year, he shared his technique for moving through his fears and taking action.
What Richie does is he starts every conversation by sharing his goal or dream. He tells his peers what he is going to do and this starts the process of “speaking it into existence.” This action helps him realize his dreams in three ways. First, by saying what he is working toward over and over, he is affirming to himself what he will do and who he will become to achieve it. The more often he hears himself say it, the more he believes it, fueling him on. That’s the way affirmations work.
Second, sharing his goals and dreams with his peers creates an accountability mechanism. In wanting to honor his word, he gets into action to achieve his goal. He doesn’t want to let himself down or disappoint the people who are expecting to see his results. The need to stay in integrity lights a fire under him and pushes him to do the things he needs to do to realize his goals despite his fears.
Finally, sharing what his dreams are creates networking opportunities. Richie says that inevitably, when he shares what he’s up to, he gets unexpected assistance or support that aids him in achieving his goals. Someone will say, “You should talk to so and so because they have done x, y or z.” The support he gains springs from the action of sharing his goals. Without this speaking his dreams into existence strategy, the help he needs to reach his goals more easily would not be available to him.
Sharing your goals with people you know and trust is also a great tool you can use to forward the action on your dreams.
Disappointed or Proud? How do I want to Feel?
I do what I do to help people end lifetime regrets. I don’t want anyone to get to the end of their life, feeling disappointed that they didn’t take the chance to live it fully. So this next tool is my favorite.
When Nathan Kettler appeared on my show, he shared that he was afraid to be a guest. In asking him how he overcame that fear, he gave a profound insight that surprised him and wowed me. He told me that our lives are the accumulation of our days. How we feel about what we do or don’t do at the end of these days will be how we will view our lives. Here’s what he had to say about pushing through his fear to appear on the show as scheduled:
“If I postpone it or cancel it at the end of tomorrow when I look back on my day I’m gonna be disappointed in myself. And if I do it and I fight my fear and step through it, at the end of the day I’m going to be proud of myself.” Do I want to be disappointed in myself or proud of myself? This is the simple question he asks himself when he feels the fear, self-doubt, and hesitation that come when he is about to step out of his comfort zone. It shifts his perspective on the matter and allows him to move through his fears. He can then feel proud of himself instead of disappointed in himself at the end of his days. Days that stack up and become his life. He wants to have more days that he is proud of himself than days he is disappointed in himself.
How do you want to feel at the end of each of your days? How do you want to feel at the end of your life? Disappointed with yourself or proud of yourself?
Ask and answer this question of yourself. Do this and move through your fears. Step out of your comfort zone, again and again, and eliminate regrets of what might have or could have been!
Worst Case Scenario, Speaking it into Existence, and Disappointed or Proud? are three tools you can use whenever fear and self-doubt come up for you. They are powerful. Incorporate one or all them into your life so that you can move through your fears and experience the life you were born to live.