The topic of courage has been appearing randomly throughout my day for a couple of weeks. I have been dealing with low confidence in a few areas of my life by doubting my ability, my knowledge, my intuition and my experience. It took me a while to realize this feeling of low confidence is actually just full on fear.
But courage is not about never experiencing fear. Courage is being aware of our fear or the challenges ahead and facing them anyway. Unfortunately, our society doesn't encourage people to openly speak about their fear. We were taught that telling our friends or family that we are scared of something shows weakness and vulnerability. But this is far from the truth. We all experience fear and that emotion does not make us less of a person.
Over the years I have been able to looked passed society's label on fear and instead begin to see it for more than weakness. I now see it as a chance to grow. In my case, I am scared of putting myself out there as a Buti Yoga instructor and a Vinyasa yoga instructor. I have been working very hard not to run away when fear sets in but things are becoming more challenging for me as more opportunities come my way.
So I felt it was time to examine what really is going on and how can I apply courage to get passed this fear.
Here is what I came up with :
1. What it is that I am actually scared of?
Failure? Embarrassment? Harsh criticism? Everyone else is better? Showing my truth to the world?
Some of these fears might sound like your own as well, and unfortunately the list can keep going. But bringing awareness to your actual fear will help you to overcome it. Again, you are not the only scared person in this world. But you are the only person who can make change in your life.
2. Know failure is learning.
The fear of failure is a big for me and this idea has been a huge help. Life is all about learning, so why isn't failure just another opportunity to learn? Failing isn't as big of a deal as we have labeled it, so let's get over it shall we? I can get really cheesy and remind you of all the times Edison failed before he found a successful light bulb. And I can get even cheesier by reminding you of the courage he had to keep trying when everyone said it wouldn't work.
Don't view failing as the end of your story, instead view failing as the dramatic climax to an amazing conclusion.
3. Show yourself you are capable of anything, including conquering your fear.
When challenges come my way, I remind myself of the times I "knew" I couldn't do something but ended up crushing that shit instead. I have seen that scenario a lot on my yoga mat and then slowly trickle off the mat as well. You are absolutely capable of anything, you just have to remind yourself from time to time.
4. Focus on the outcome
Don't focus on the fear. Focus on what it is that you want to achieve. Does giving a presentation in front of your entire company scare you? Sure it does! But don't focus on fear, instead focus on the possible promotion or impact you will make by giving your presentation. By focusing on your end game, you keep a much clearer perspective of the bigger picture. Sometimes seeing the bigger picture makes your fear seem kind of silly. ;)
5. Think of what treasures you are keeping hidden if you do not find the courage to share them.
News Flash: You're a badass. You have amazing gifts and talents inside you that the world and everyone in it can benefit from. Think of all of the amazing minds in our lifetime and what our world would be like if they were too scared to share their ideas. Like the person who invented the Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner. My life is so much better because that person decided to face their fears and share their knowledge. And for that I am eternally grateful (and so is my house).
You too have treasures to share with the world. Don't let fear keep your gifts hidden and buried.
Now I wish these five little points can make all the fear go away and the challenges easier, but that's not how it works. But I do hope these reminders can stick with you when you think of running from an opportunity that scares you. I hope you remember your fear is nothing compared to not allowing yourself to reach your full potential - that idea is absolutely terrifying.
Lots of love,