Guest Post by Margie Warrell
What would you do if you were being brave? Have you ever looked back and wished you’d been braver? I certainly have. What we often don’t realize is the profound toll that fear can take when we let it call the shots in our lives.
In fact research shows that the number one regret of the dying is that they lived too safe and risked too little, living the life others wanted them to live but not the one they wanted for themselves.
Overcoming our innate fear requires courage. But not one big bold act of courage, lots of smaller ones, every day. The good news is that courage is not an attribute endowed on the lucky few. It’s a learned behaviour, a skill. And like all skills, it can be strengthened and mastered with practice. Just like building your muscles at the gym, you can build your bravery in your life simply by committing to ‘train the brave’ in small ways, often.
This requires embracing discomfort as a prerequisite for your success. That is, consciously choosing to take emotional risks and do the very things that put your pride and sense of safety, security and significance on the line for the sake of something more important. Like your hearts deepest longing and avoiding the greater risk of every having to look back and ask yourself “But what if I’d tried?”
Having worked with clever, capable and creative women around the world for the last 20 years, I’ve learned that there are few things more powerful than a woman who has found her courage to defy her doubts and step into her power. So if you aren’t sure where to start, or just feel terrified that you don’t have what it takes to go after what you truly want, or change what you don’t, here I share seven acts of everyday courage to get you started on building your courage muscles for life, borrowed from my book Train the Brave.
I know that if you commit to one a day over the next 7 days, a week from now you will feel braver and your future will grow bigger and brighter.
We fail far more from timidity than we ever do from over-daring. So if there’s an area of your life right now you aren’t inspired about, set yourself a bold goal that really lights you up (even if it scares you a little, too). Like going on 10 dates in the next 10 weeks, or doubling your revenue in the next two years, or running a marathon. Many women underestimate themselves and never get to know what they’re capable of. Don’t be one of them. Only when you dare to do more than you think you can do you realize how little reason you ever had to doubt yourself.
It’s very easy to fill your day being busy. The question is, busy doing what? Many women struggle with saying no. But if you say yes to the many “good” offers, invitations and opportunities that come your way, you could be using up all your capacity to pursue the truly great things waiting for you. Does saying no mean you might disappoint people occasionally? Sure. But better that than to feel disappointed in yourself later on. Sometimes you have to say no to the good to create space for the great.
If you find yourself frustrated that you’re not getting what you want or need, consider that you may not have asked for it. People aren’t mind readers, and expecting them to know what you want often just ends in frustration and resentment. If there’s something you want, dare to ask. Seriously, what have you got to lose? Even if they say no, at least you know where you stand. My experience has taught me that the more people who know what you want, the more who can help you get it.
Too often, our fear of causing offense or ruffling feathers keeps us from saying what needs to be said. When writing my book Stop Playing Safe, Kathy Calvin, President of the United Nations Foundation, shared with me, “Whatever your career, you have to be willing to take risks, to speak up and to push back when you don’t agree with what others are thinking.” When all you do is try to fit in, “people please” and keep the peace, you negate the difference your difference can make. Some boats need rocking.
If there’s something you’ve been investing in (whether it be time, money or energy) that is clearly not working for you, have the courage to call it quits, learn whatever lessons you can, then move on. Every day you spend investing in something that isn’t moving you closer to what you most want is a day you aren’t channelling your energy in something that could. In short, if you’ve landed in a hole, stop digging.
Often, fear of making a wrong decision keeps us from making a right one. So take a few moments to sit quietly and tune into the inner voice of wisdom that knows what is best, then make the call. Life rewards action, not indecision.
Watch this: https://youtu.be/5ejCdIFf7r8
When all you do is conform, all you offer is conformity. This isn’t about breaking the rules for the sake of it. Rather it’s about doing what works for you even if that means defying the expectations and ideas of those around you and going out on a limb for whatever it is that tugs most at your heart. After all, to ever achieve outstanding success you’ve got to be willing to put yourself ‘out there.’ Just remember, playing it safe can provide a short-term sense of safety but in the long run, it just leaves us less secure, not more so.
So whatever it is that you’ve been putting off for fear of falling short or looking foolish, now is your time to stop letting your doubts call the shots. Only by daring to do the very things that make you scared can you ever come to realise how little reason you ever had to feel afraid to begin with.
Train the brave. Each time you take action in the presence of your fear you dilute its power and grow your own. Promise!
Margie Warrell is a bestselling author, international speaker and host of the Live Brave Women’s Weekends. If you’d love a little more support to step bravely toward a future that lights you up, please join other AWE members for Margie's Live Brave Women’s Weekend October 25-27 in beautiful Kent Island, MD. Live bravely!