Courage is not the absence of fear. In fact, courageous people feel fear but they are able to manage and overcome it so that it does not stop them from taking action. Fear is a primal feeling arising from when we feel threatened, and is responsible for those physical symptoms such as sweaty hands and an increased heart rate. It can be a useful feeling when it comes to keeping us safe, but it can also be crippling, uncomfortable and can hold us back throughout our lives.
What if my partner leaves me, what if I get fired, what if my business fails, what if people will laugh at me? There are a lot of things people can get fearful and stressful about. But in life, what you want most will always require embracing discomfort and taking action despite your fear. To become the person you most need to be and create the life you most yearn to live, you must be willing to do the things that scare you- again and again and again. Do you often wonder how courageous people manage and conquer fear? How do you become courageous like them?
Below I list a six techniques to help you build your courage, shed your fear and live your best life.
1. Courage means being afraid and acting anyway.
You become more courageous when you choose to confront fear, pain, perceived danger, uncertainty or intimidation. You embody courage when you move forward even in the face of opposition or discouragement. Stop waiting for the perfect conditions to arise. Stop waiting to not feel scared. Feel the fear and do it anyway; only then, will you experience true courage.
2. Tame your fear.
When you shy from the prospect of doing something outside your comfort zone, ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that could happen? And then feel any fear that arises. Own the fear. Then tame the fear by asking yourself: So, what would I do if that happened? Repeat this cycle for each worst-case scenario you can envision. This way, you will come to know that even if the worst did happen, which is often highly unlikely, it would not kill you. Rather, it would introduce you to yourself on a whole new level. You’d learn, you’d grow and you’d emerge from it a wiser, braver and better version of yourself than you were before.
3. Find role models of courageous people.
To become fearless, you need examples of courage. You have to find positive role models to inspire you. Finding role models for just about anything you hope to do or become is very powerful. When you’re trying to stretch yourself beyond your limits, there’s a part of you that wonders whether it can actually be done. A role model is a constant reminder that the answer is a resounding Yes! Channel that person’s positive energy and leadership until it feels natural to channel your very own self.
4. Cope with risk and uncertainty
You can conquer your fears by learning to deal with life’s uncertainties. If you fear losing your home to a foreclosure, set up an emergency savings account. If you fear losing your spouse to another person or losing your client, figure out what it takes to keep them. The key is to convert fear into action. It not only makes you feel better that you are taking some type of action, but action can result in powerful results.
5. Build your confidence
Having confidence allows you to trust in your abilities and yourself, and realize that you are more than your fears. When you have confidence in yourself you will find it easier to take courageous action. To get confidence, visualise yourself as you want to be and try to emulate that, even when you’re not ‘there’ yet in your own mind. Do one thing that scares you every day. With anything you do, set yourself up to win. Learning to have confidence takes practice.
6. Trust Yourself
With each year of life experience, including the lessons you've learned, you sharpen your instincts. You begin to realize what is worth taking a risk for – love, a particular career, etc. And when you know what is important to you, you begin to realize that you must choose what you care most about over the fear that stands in the way.