How to Boost Your Courage: 3 Steps

Research tells us that we typically work to about 50% of our potential¹. We’re capable of so much more. Why do we hold ourselves back?

We each have two versions of ourselves:

Our surface self – where we get by, day by day, putting on a brave face to the world, not questioning how things are, and making it look like we’ve got it all together.

Our ideal self – the bigger, better version of ourselves that wants to break free, have meaningful experiences and be fulfilled.

Can you relate to these two versions of yourself?

The reality is, we’re always becoming new versions of ourselves. Think of the version of you 10, 15 or even 5 years ago compared to the version of yourself today. We’re always learning and growing in some way – it’s the journey of life! 

The question to ask yourself then is: who is the version of you that you want to become? Who is the ideal (more fulfilled) version of you?

What sits between your surface self and ideal self is your self-esteem.

Your self-esteem is your sense of self-worth. The quality of relationship you have with yourself is experienced through your inner voice. Back in my corporate days, I remember frequently comparing myself to others, always trying to measure up to the ‘top performers’ who seemed to have it all together (according to my rating scale). It was exhausting.

Your success, however you define it for yourself, will always start with the relationship that you have with yourself.

Last week I spoke at a women’s networking event, and afterward someone mentioned “I almost let my anxiety of not knowing if I was the right fit or being good enough stop me from coming today”. We all fear not being good enough and we get stuck when our fear grows bigger than our courage. The stories and spin we put on things protect us and keep us safe in our comfort zone, and hinder us from what we really want – fulfillment and joy.

You can’t step into your potential and stay in your comfort zone.

Being your harshest critic or your biggest ally is a choice. As Matt Church says, “You are not the voice in your head, you’re bigger than that”.

Courage and empowerment are intrinsically linked. Courage originates from the Latin word cor, which means heart. The original definition of courage, according to Brene Brown, is to show yourself wholeheartedly. In other words, show up as you really are.

Courage is about showing who you really are. Empowering yourself is growing into who you really are.

Empower yourself with these 3 daily choices:

1. Believe you’ll do your best

You don’t wake up every day believing you’re going to muck things up. You’re always doing your best with the knowledge and skills you have. Trust in that. Back yourself knowing you’re going to give it your best shot. You can’t expect any more of yourself than that.

2. Decide to get into action

You can choose comfort or you can choose courage, but you cannot have both – Brene Brown

The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later. You can’t read a book about building confidence and expect to have it. Confidence doesn’t happen to you; it happens within you.

Being brave isn’t easy when the outcome is uncertain. Action creates results. Speak up, give the feedback, have the difficult conversation or put your name forward for example. Having a go entails nailing it and failing it – it’s the way we learn. Every result – whether you perceive it as good/bad or right/wrong – is simply feedback to help you take the next step. Being on the court and having a go is a lot more empowering than holding off and hoping and wishing things were different.

3. Get the support you need.

Your support network can champion and challenge you, especially when things don’t work out the way you planned or wanted. Asking for support is a gamechanger and you’ll often find supporters in unexpected places. It all starts with a conversation.

Bringing it all together

Your mindset is a daily choice. How you think drives every experience you have. The starting point to your empowerment is to appreciate that you are whole and complete the way you are. There is nothing to get outside of you and there is nothing to fix within you. Decide you are good enough, because you are and always have been. Like everyone else, you have progress to make too.

No one else can realise your potential. What is one action you’re going to take this week where you will choose courage over comfort? I’d love to know how you go.

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