So many of the things we do in our daily lives require courage – from the smallest thing like talking to a stranger, to bigger things like starting a new business. We need courage to say no, just as we need it to say yes. We often link courage to heroic situations, but in our life, there are so many daily situations that ask us to be courageous.
Last week I received an exciting phone call from a client of mine. She is an actress and wanted a session before an important audition she had. In the session, she talked about her fears. She admired the director very much and had auditioned for him before, but failed the previous time, so she was understandably anxious for this next audition to go well.
I asked her what was scaring her and the conversation quickly became more focused on what she wanted to give, rather than what she was afraid of. She talked about how she wants to touch others with her acting, about her passion and her love of exploring a new character. We also talked about her family and the feeling she had that she had disappointed them throughout her life. When I asked her a bit more about this, she realized that no matter how much she cared about her parent’s expectations, she had still always done what she wanted to in the end – that was in fact what led her to become an actress.
It had become clear that no matter what the expectations around her were, she always chose what she loved, rather than what was expected of her. I encouraged her to breathe, to feel her energy, her heart and her strength. She could connect once again to her own center and strengthen her desire to be acting.
The phone call I received from her later really warmed my heart. “I’m on my way to my audition, feeling happy. Whatever happens, I know that I’ll do it in the best way I can. I feel a bit scared but in a good way, strong, excited, and curious. Whether I’ll succeed or not, I feel that I already passed my own test”. Her experience really inspired me and I realised that many points from our discussion are useful, when talking about how to find courage when it’s needed:
Yes, I know that this is obvious, but somehow when a courageous act is required of us, we start to compare ourselves to others. If you deliver anything less than your authentic self, you will not only find it difficult to follow through, but you might end up disappointed with the results in the long run.
Remember That Nobody is Like You
You are unique in every one of your cells and your path is not like anybody else’s. Maybe others can do it differently or in ways that can be perceived by you as better, but nobody can do it exactly like you.
Don’t Forget the People That Are Important to You
There are those you truly care for – your family, your loved ones, or your best friends and it’s important to remember that they love you and respect you no matter what will happen. They will be the ones that so often will help you find courage. Their belief in you will remind you of who you are and will help you to remember what you are capable of.
It’s Not About Succeeding – it’s About Showing Up
We are all dancing to our own unique tune that evolves over time. Failure often depends on the way we look at it and if we believe that every experience – our failures and our successes – can enrich us, then we can focus more on action. What matters is that you showed up and let yourself express who you really are.
Find Your Center
This is a personal experience – it’s different for each of us. For some people, it’s about focusing on their breathing, for others its concentrating on feeling their legs. Some people need to think of a place they feel safe in, or somebody they love. Think what the specific thing is that centers you and make sure to remember it when courage is required.
Create Your Ideal Set of Circumstances
Some very practical things can make a huge difference to how courageous you feel. If being late stresses you, make sure to try to be places a little earlier. If having too much time triggers you to think too much, arrive on time. Everything from how you dress, to what you eat and how you communicate can affect how brave you feel. Giving importance to what makes you feel strong and positive will allow you to create the best conditions to face things that challenge you.
Find Your Motivational Sentence
It can be something inspirational you read somewhere or a kind word or sentence somebody said to you. What’s important is that it matters to you and can give you strength in a moment of weakness.
Remember your goals
Allow yourself to think about what you are doing and why. We can get caught up in going through the motions and turning to the obvious answers. But what is actually your motivation? Why do you want to act? Think about how to achieve goals and what your objectives are in this situation. Why are you going to meet that person, how will you go about choosing a career, or offering your opinion in any given situation?
A final note – remember that even if you decide for whatever reason, not to act at certain moments, don’t judge or blame yourself. Personal development is a process and in time, you may realize that maybe your motivation was not strong enough or clear enough. It just might not have been your time to show up.
What helps you the most when you need courage?