Courage is defined as “the ability to do something that frightens one,” according to Oxford Ditionary.
As humans, we are programed to avoid fearful situations, it’s in our survival-oriented DNA to run away from that which scares us. It’s the “fight or flight” mechanism built in all humans. And, let’s face it, it’s easier to run away than to fight. However . . .
To grow and improve, we know we must learn and grow, but change is scary. We must fight for our performance and our potential.
In this article, I’ll present why courage is an important key to success and how to build courage.
In the classic movie, Wizard of Oz, the lion lacked courage. To fix his problem, the Wizard gave the lion a medal, so he would have proof of his courage and everyone would know how brave the lion was.
While awards and acknowledgements are nice, they don’t quite fill what we need in order to feel self-confident enough that we will accomplish and win.
What we need is to acknowledge ourselves.
If others think you are brave, but you don’t believe yourself, you feel like a fraud, you feel afraid, not only of failing to accomplish, but also of being found and held up to ridicule. With that, people hesitate to take the actions necessary for succeeding.
We’ve all heard the sayings about overcoming fear, like, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain,” or “FEAR is just False Expectations Appearing Real,” or “Feed your faith and starve your fear.”
The first two quotes are not always accurate. If you are afraid of jumping out of an airplane and you do it anyhow, the one do die may be you, not your fear. To truly be courageous, there’s a lot to be said for learning how to be successful and then taking the right actions.
And when it comes to “false expectations,” for example with a fear of public speaking, if your audience disagrees with you or if you don’t prepare and do a lousy job, you could realize your worst and be booed off the stage.
That last quote hits the nail on the head. Gaining courage is not about what others think of you. It’s “feed your faith,” as in you feed your faith. The operant term being “you!”
How do we feed our faith, confidence, and belief in ourselves? For any goal, we can chunk the “mountain” into small steps. And with small steps, we can succeed. In fact, years ago, when I taught leadership training, one of the ideas I taught was, “If a person cannot succeed, the step is too big. Make it a smaller step, and they will be able to accomplish it.”
By acknowledging our steps toward success – small and big steps. We don’t have to wait to reach the mountaintop before we pat ourselves on the back. Every successful step we take along the way deserves praise – from ourselves, to ourselves. Not only can we give ourselves “Atta Boys or Atta Girls,” we should. Really.
When we acknowledge our success, we build more confidence in taking the next steps and the next. Said differently, as we gather small successes as proof that we are succeeding, those proofs builds our confidence that we will continue to succeed, until we reach our ultimate goal.
Not only that, as we notice how we experience small failures: we got up, got back to work, and got back on track, and started moving forward again – those experiences too become evidence of our ability to ultimately make it to our goal.
Courage is grown one step at a time. We needn’t count on awards or acknowledgements from others; we can be our own “wizard” giving ourselves “awards” every step of the way.
Barbara Loraine, AKA GiGi B, has been a entrepreneur, business consultant and trainer for years. While now she focuses her attention on her children’s program, GiGi B Club for Kids, as program director, author, filmmaker, and more – the skills and concepts she uses to build her children’s business (and stories) are the same required for all businesspeople.
Loraine can be reached for interviews, opportunities, and for providing sponsorships at
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