It takes courage to dream big dreams… no matter your past, circumstances, or what others tell you. It takes courage to go after what matters. And when the going gets tough and obstacles crop up (as they always will), it takes courage to press on. Any time you go after what you really want, your doubts and fears will surface. That’s just part of the experience. You must ignore the voices that say “turn back” or “give up now” or “this is too hard.”
It is courage that keeps you moving forward.
So when you think about it, moving towards freedom requires daring, every step of the way. Daring to dream. Daring to begin. Daring to keep going, and stick with it until you reach your goal. And as you exercise your muscle of daring and courage, you will find freedom on the other side. And it’s the sweetness of that freedom that is worth the sacrifice it took to get there
Five way to let your courage set you free
Don’t Label Yourself with an Excuse
Be careful how you use labels on yourself (and others). If you ever say “I am a weak-willed person” or “I am a fearful person” or “I am not strong” or “I am always unlucky” or anything similar, you are labelling yourself with a past (possibly true) behaviour.
Once you begin to believe the label, it becomes you. It controls you.
Your tongue is like the small rudder that controls the ships direction, speak what you want to be from now. This isn’t namby-pamby positive psychological babel, it’s choosing to train your brain to think differently.
Make Courage a Habit
If you had no fear at all, you would be dead. Courageous people are doing something that they fear. Courage, like fear, is a habit of thinking. You can choose to think “I am afraid, therefore I will not”. Or you can choose to think “I am afraid, therefore I will do it afraid”.
Choose the first and you will not do anything, get bored and eventually become a timid thing hiding in a corner somewhere. Choose the latter and sure you are going to be afraid, you might even achieve something too.
Power of the First Step
There is only one difficult step to take. It is the next one.
When we are faced with something fearful, two things in our brains cause us to freeze: Your particular response to something fearful for you will trigger your freeze, flight or fight response. That is, you stay still and shrink your body (dropping your head is common), or you’ll start to run away, or you’ll be pumped to fight the threat. How you respond to a situation depends on many factors, but in this modern society, many people freeze. Unable to hake themselves out of it until the cortisol and adrenaline pumping through their veins subsides.
The second reason we freeze is due to overloading our decision-making. We can readily choose between two or three options, but as soon as you add more scenarios it can quickly overload your pre-frontal cortex. You need more energy and oxygen to get moving again. Deep breaths work wonderfully well to achieve this.
The longer you stand there in trepidation, perhaps it’s getting on stage, perhaps deciding to take ownership of an error made, the worse it gets. Force yourself to breathe and take action. Take that first step.
Build your Pillars
Everyone had been courageous. Many times.
- That moment as a baby when you stood up for the very first time.
- The time you raised your hand to answer a question in class.
- When you asked your partner on a date.
- The first time you negotiated with a salesman.
- Or you drove a car alone for the first time.
There are many ‘firsts’ in your life, and as you think about them, each one took courage. Write down a list of them.
Who helped you believe in yourself? What encouraged you? How did you know that you had the necessary skills?
Once you have them all down, you will find a common denominator, and you’ll begin to realise that you know what motivates you in all of these moments. You will know that you can do this again, and again, and again.
Achievement comes in cans
Successful people stretch themselves to achieve. Sprinters stretch themselves to be faster than yesterday. Traders stretch themselves to make more than yesterday. Leaders stretch themselves to impact more lives than yesterday. Why? Because they can.
Less than successful people say “I can’t do this.” But achievement doesn’t come in can’ts, it comes in cans.