Today, I want to talk to you about courage, which is one of the key qualities to develop and nourish in order to get the life we want. It is courage that will help us to get out of our comfort zone and dare to try new thing. It might sound obvious but the truth is that while it’s easy to grasp on an intellectual level it’s much more difficult to implement and live. And why is that? Because trying a new thing means exposing ourselves to the risk of doing less that perfect actions. And that is something we’ve learn to avoid. Think about it, when was the last time you ever failed doing something new? I mean a real failure, not just something like failing to do all the stuff you had pending on your ToDo list. But something a bigger than that? If you have difficulty remembering it, you are probably not trying new things often enough!
We have a lot to learn from children here, these little creatures that have not learnt yet to avoid challenging new things. Like learning to walk and fall down at least a thousand times while doing so. But isn’t the achievement of learning to walk worth the pain? Obviously yes you would say. Well same goes for us adults in our little safe environments we have created for ourselves.
Now you might be thinking ‘I’m not really a courageous person, I’ve never been’. But become more daring, is something that can be done. Little by little, one step in a time, using the following 3 strategies:
1. Set up a safety net
2. Manage your failures
3. Learn and celebrate your victories
Setting up a safety net means that when taking risks, we make sure that they are calculated that the impact of failure is not too hard. Just as we wouldn’t go bungee jumping without a cord, we don’t drop resign from our job to start over without some kind of economic buffer. And we don’t call up this one dream client of ours without proper preparation and research to make sure the conversation will at least be decent. In other words, we limit our exposure in case of failure. A safety not only be physical but also psycological. We need to create a safe environment of people are supportive of us, that they will encourage us no matter the outcome of what we do.
Secondly, we have to make sure to manage the failures that will, inevitable, come our way. This means that we decide to make from unpleasant event we’re trying to brand as a failure, a narrative as a part of a learning path. We all have the power to decide on the stories we tell ourselves and others and how we tell them. For example, will we mention with tears in our eyes that we didn’t manage to make a penny this months on our new professional activity (and how bad we are a forecasting and how we should have seen it coming etc.) or will we tell the story and laugh with our friends on how we really needed to make this important learning on ‘never to trust the forecast’. Will we be the victim or the student?
Last, but not least we need to learn from our victories. Really savour them and think about all the things we did right, what we should continue doing for next time and what we could improve. This will help us grow stronger and more confident as we advance, however small the steps might be. Maybe you spoke up for the first team on a sensitive topic at work or with your partner? Victory! What to learn from it for next time? Or you got a new client? Celebration and looking forward, what to repeat going forward. Myself, I keep a ‘Learning’ journal where I store the learnings I’ve made both from painful moments in my career, and from the very sweet ones. It helps to keep track of my learnings and also see the progress I’ve made.
With the three little strategies that you can implement right away, there’s not reason anymore for holding back and taking those brave steps forward!