Courage is one of those often-misunderstood concepts. Most people think courage is something that happens when you’re not afraid. In movies and TV shows, courage is depicted with a determined face, rarely showing any sign of fear welling up within. In fact, hardly anyone talks about the relationship between fear and courage.
Until today! Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of it. I wrote a whole section in my first book about courage because I do find it troubling that so many people think bravery doesn’t come with fear. It’s as if, at the slightest hint of fear, one should simply not do a thing.
In fact, it’s when fear shows up that courage emerges. Courage helps you do a thing when you’re nervous, a little afraid, or scared out of your wits. It’s great to exercise your courage frequently. If you’ve been working on being brave in small ways, it will be easier to be brave in bigger ways. And, since we never know when the big, scary things will come up, it’s just good risk management to practice courage whenever you can.
I try to exercise my bravery almost every day. Try something new, do something unfamiliar, or make a phone call that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to jump straight to the big scaries. You can start with small ones and build up your courage over time.
What kinds of things scare you? Do you avoid them? Can you find ways to be more courageous each day?
Look for the moments when you feel your gut clench a little. Seek out uncomfortable things. One of my favorite exercises: try asking for something every day for 90 days. It doesn’t matter what it is. Some things will be easy to ask for and some will be harder. But each day, you’ll get a little braver in the asking. I want to see you be brave!