We all wish we could be a little braver, but fear keeps us from acting, progressing, and even causes us to procrastinate.
Bravery is mental toughness, knowledge, and confidence all wrapped up into one. Bravery helps you make tough decisions, act without wasting time, and approach uncomfortable situations. You need bravery when you take on new tasks at work, confront others who rub you the wrong way, and even when your work suffers because you're afraid of doing something less than perfect
Bravery is not something you're born with and it's not something you can acquire overnight.
Like all desirable traits, it's something you work at developing. If you want to be braver, you need to:
Be terrified of something.
Do it anyways.
Be moderately less scared than the first time you do it.
Otherwise there's only one alternative and that is to be terrified of something, do nothing, and still be terrified.
Bravery is just as much about understanding risks as it is about taking them. Bravery is learning how to confront your fear head-on and repeatedly turn uncertainty into approachable, calculated risk. By doing what you fear, little by little, you slowly take away the uncertainty of it all. If you're afraid of heights, go somewhere high up. Experience it. Feel it, and next time, go a little higher. As you go, you'll see how small the risk really is, and you'll be braver for it.
I want to share this TED talk by artist and poet Cleo Wade.
Start by being brave enough to care
When you do something brave, try to remember it. Celebrate it, take a picture, find a keepsake, anything that can remind you of how awesome you were at that point in time.
Notice those times when you're feeling strong and competent. Pause and take a few slow, deep breaths and tell yourself, "This is who I am." The more you recognize when you're being strong, the more fearless you'll become.
Big or small, brave moments are fuel for future brave acts. That fuel rolls over to any time you need it. When you're scared, you can just remind yourself "hey, if I could do that, I can do this."
Ask Yourself What You Would Do If You Weren't Afraid
Sometimes being brave is just a matter of looking at things from the outside. If you weren't afraid would you actually be capable of doing what you need to do? Probably! If you weren't afraid do you think you'd be better off as a person? Most likely! When you reflect and look at your situation from a different perspective, you may find that you really are capable of doing things wholeheartedly, without fear.
If you can't find bravery in the moment, pretend that you're not afraid. Others might see you as brave, and who knows, you might just convince yourself that's all in your head too. Imagine all the things you could get done if you weren't afraid and you were brave instead.
I Am Brave is a mantra I say to myself every day. It has moved me past many stop signs and I hope this does the same for you.
Lee Pryke, LIfe Coach, Mentor