Courage and confidence have a yin and yang relationship. You can’t have one without the other even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.
But the term “courage” implies being brave and getting over some kind of fear. Even if someone said that you can’t do something and you want to show them up, something’s stopping you from immediately doing it. Many people have some kind of subconscious fear, usually fear of failure or of being unqualified. But what’s REALLY stopping you?
What’s Your Fear That You Need to Get Over?
If everyone decided not to do things just because they feared they’d fail, many contributions to society and decades of social progress wouldn’t have been made. So first, you need to figure out what exactly your fear is and how you’re going to get over it.
If it’s failure that you fear, you need to realize that failure isn’t the end of the world. Some of the most successful people in the world failed several times before they succeeded. No one ever lands on their feet. No prototype ever comes out perfect, which is exactly why it’s a prototype and not a finished product. If you fear wasting time and resources just to wind up failing, it’s still far less of a failure than spending life wondering what could’ve been if you just acted on that great business idea or huge challenge instead of letting it pass you by.
Conversely, you may also fear the responsibility that success brings. Many people hold themselves back from business growth or that huge promotion subconsciously because they simply don’t want the things that come with a huge amount of success. If this is what you fear, then you need to just take things one day at a time. You can always delegate responsibility and this is a problem you’ll deal with when it arises. Focus on the present and what you want to do right now, what is the problem you’re trying to solve right this second?
Dissect these fears, read up on them, and you’ll see how common they are. Identifying that fear is the first step in finding the courage to act and gaining confidence as a result.
What Motivates You to Get Over That Fear?
As cliche as the term “X factor” is, you need to find this. What is your X factor that will give you the courage to act? What is your motivation for letting go of your fears?
- “I’m tired of being stuck in gear.”
- “More money would be great.”
- “I want to prove to myself that I can do something more challenging than what I’m currently doing.”
- “I want a better future for myself and my children.”
Find what motivates you and stick with it.
Be Bold: Take On Challenges
You’ve identified what’s stopping you and what’s motivating you. Now you need to find the right challenges. It doesn’t necessarily have to be work-related. Take a new exercise class you didn’t think you could handle, read a book about a complex topic, and other challenging things that you find engaging and rewarding. Staying your comfort zone only encourages stagnation!
Pursue a Challenging Long-Term Goal
Once you’ve gotten used to facing down your fears and overcoming smaller challenges, now it’s time to step up the game and create a challenging long-term goal.
It can be a big project like writing a book or developing a game, or a personal aspiration like seeing all 50 states or coming up with the time and funds to take a long trip that you always wanted to take. Starting a business, of course, is also a worthy long-term goal that has become within reach for more people today thanks to the digital age. No matter what your long-term goal is, having one to work towards fills you with more motivation and purpose to the point that you’ve forgotten what you were even afraid of!
Tackling challenges is what fosters courage and personal growth. Facing your fears and acting on your desires because of those fears rather than despite them is what you gives you more positive self-esteem.