“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou
Stepping into your power and breaking through the walls of fear that stops us from experiencing our maximum human potential requires a mindset and a practice of courage. All of us experience fear, especially when we are doing the things necessary to experience growth. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but it is a feeling of determination to take action regardless of fear. Maybe you’ve been putting off connection, awareness or focus on one or several aspects of your life. Real courage requires taking a holistic view of all the pillars of your life and asking yourself what am I avoiding because it feels scary or uncomfortable.
When was the last time you took a hard look at your overall self-awareness, relationships, fitness, spiritual, health, finances, creative outlets or even global issues because you’ve let fear take over or you were complacent and chose to ignore what’s most important? Often times the voice in our head tells us we are not good enough, that we lack competency, or worse, we become apathetic and complacent. A recording in our head repeatedly tells us “don’t take that risk” or “if I avoid it, maybe it will simply go away”? The truth is we CAN experience quantum courage and live exponentially more satisfying lives.
Over the course of the next several months, I will suggest several techniques you can incorporate into your life. You don’t need to make massive shifts all at once but start with one and try to be consistent with it. Make it a practice of these just as you would brushing your teeth or hitting the gym. Here are a few ways to keep you focused on your path:
SET YOUR INTENTIONS BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP
About 6 months ago I began a practice of setting my intentions at bedtime. I keep a journal next to my bed and I begin with putting down some of my thoughts for the day focused around gratitude. I also like to jot down a few things I know I need to take care of the next day so I don’t go to sleep with them on my mind. The most powerful thing I’ve uncovered is setting my intentions for the next day before I go to sleep. This is followed with a few minutes of breathwork and meditation. The power of intention is amplified when it’s your last thoughts before you go to sleep. It’s as if your brain has the opportunity to work out the details while you sleep.
Close your eyes, take a minute to put your hands on your heart, breath into the intention, send love to yourself and out to others. The feeling is sublimely sedative. But the magic is in the manifestation. Pay attention in the days and weeks to follow as your intentions begin to become your reality.
LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
We need to get out of our heads! Start by listening to that little voice in your gut. Ego, judgment, and fear can take up residence in our head and becomes our default voice, directing us to maintain self-preservation. This goes back to the sabertooth tiger and the cave. Your 10,000-year-old brain is limiting you from prospering in the here and now. But your intuition is your built-in navigation system. It was divinely created to guide you on this journey called life. Quiet your mind and listen.
Set your alarm an extra 20 minutes earlier each morning and start that meditation practice you’ve been putting off. Start to hear your intuition with greater clarity. This is a practice. If you feel like you are unable to quiet your overactive monkey brain, keep practicing! It takes 30 days to create a habit. Commit to 30 days and no less.
DO ONE THING EVERY DAY THAT SCARES YOU!
You know what you’ve been avoiding because it seems scary. Take the opportunity to start embracing the uncertainty and do it anyways. For you, it may be as simple as talking to a stranger at the market or dining alone at a restaurant, while for someone else it could be signing up for flying lessons, rock climbing or starting to train for an ultra marathon that’s been on your bucket list. In fact, start rethinking your bucket list? What does your list look like when it’s written from a place of courage. Imagine how positively transformative this will be.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY IN 60 SECONDS?
Everyone has a totally unique story and everyone has 60 seconds to listen to it. Only you know what makes you distinctive. There is power in your story. Craft your story and be prepared to share it on a moments notice. You may need to share that story 100 x’s before it becomes comfortable to share with a stranger. Stay open to experiencing vulnerability and let people see who you really are, imperfections and all.
FIND A MENTOR
Do you know of someone out in the world doing the thing you wish you had the courage to do? If not, social media is a great platform to begin your search. A mentor can help you refine your purpose/path. They can teach you how to operate better, give you direction and help keep you on track. Take the next step by reaching out to them. Now you have a reason to share your 60-second story!
BE A MENTOR
You have gifts that will greatly impact another human. How can you make yourself available to someone who will benefit from those gifts? Start by creating a list of the people directly in your circle who may need help on a project, guidance or support. We receive so much more when we give of ourselves.
“WHEN” NOT “IF”
When you set out to accomplish “the thing”, you will be successful. Visualize, sleep, dream and breathe success. Imagine you are already living it. Trust yourself and trust that our benevolent universe has a plan. Believe that when you set out to accomplish anything with courage, the result is already the best possible outcome, just as you’ve imagined.
LET GO OF THE IDEA OF PERFECTION
No organism or human who’s ever walked the earth is perfect! Let go of the idea of being ready once the stars are in perfect alignment. There will never be a more perfect time than right now! Perfectionism is not a beneficial quality. In fact, it is a self-limiting quality. Be bold and throw yourself into whatever it is you’ve been holding back. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough.
IMPLEMENT A PHYSICAL CHALLENGE
Who doesn’t love a good challenge? I love to set myself up with fitness challenges. Staying physically fit releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that give us an extra shot of courage. If you need help getting started or feel there’s just not enough time in the day to workout, you are only cheating yourself. Start with a 50 push up challenge. You can break it down to 10 push ups at a time throughout the day. Before you know it you’ll be doing 25 and then 50. Or download a 7-minute workout app on your phone. Challenge a friend or family member to do it with you. When you feel stronger and more radiant, your courage to try new things amplifies! Stick with it for at least 30 days and you’ll find you are ready to take on even greater challenges.