5 Ideas for More Courage

In the French language, courage translates to "heart and spirit." If you brought your heart and spirit to your work, what would you be able to accomplish? One of the biggest obstacles holding people back from achieving their dreams is fear. The antidote to fear is courage—attack your fears with your "heart and spirit."

1. Treat courage like a muscle.

Courage is not a fixed skill; it can be developed over time. Much like a muscle, your courage needs to be conditioned and strengthened with practice. You can become more courageous by seizing opportunities to flex your courage muscles in daily life. For example, you may volunteer to lead a small group presentation even though you "fear" speaking in public. The idea is that you want to find small ways to challenge yourself to build up your courage muscle.

Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.
— Ruth Gordon

2. Know your deeply held values.

Courage looks, sounds, and feels different to every person. Courageous people tend to have a strong sense of who they are. Their values are clear, and their values influence everything they do and think. When you have a strong grasp on who you are and what you care about, you’ll have a deeper sense of self. Thus, you will have more courage because your sense of self will not depend on external results.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
— Anaïs Nin

3. Courage and high risk behavior are not the same.

Doing something wild and unsafe just to impress someone doesn’t qualify as courage. In fact, that’s a sign that you’re overcompensating for your insecurities. Use your common sense and apply courage to situations that can advance you personally and professionally in the long term.

Courage does not mean the absence of common sense.

4. Be willing to miss.

Courage doesn’t always guarantee success. In fact, the most courageous people tend to fail more often than their less courageous peers. But here’s the catch: the more willing you are to fail, the more successful you will be. This all comes down to the fact that you’re simply taking more chances. You’re putting yourself out there more often, and while that leads to higher rates of failure, it also increases the chances that you’ll successfully get where you’re trying to go.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston Churchill

5. Practice courage both personally and professionally.

As we learned in the first tip, courage is a skill that must be practiced and honed. Many opportunities present themselves in the workplace, as this is often a place where we feel challenged to pursue our goals and work harder to achieve them. However, courage should also be practiced in your personal life too.

What good are wings without the courage to fly.
— Atticus

Please add to the conversation—comment below or on Twitter at @gregbellspeaks.