A deep dive into one of the 8 Critical Capabilities from the book PowerUp8 BY Debbie Craig
“Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.” Brene Brown
The courage to be vulnerable
If the one constant in life is change, then the antidote to the fear of uncertainty and perceived loss is courage. I don’t think it is within the reach of most of us ordinary folk to have no fear. Fear is a natural part of our psychology and survival instincts – our in-built fight, flight or freeze brain response.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s view on courage is that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
Susan Jeffers defines BRAVERY as: “Taking responsibility means never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling.”
It takes courage to face tough times with pragmatic honesty AND with the optimism that comes with knowing and trusting that everything will work out in the end, and that we grow most through challenges. It also takes courage to be authentic, share both your strengths, and your struggles, ask for support, and speak up with bold ideas or requests. Courage is a skill that can be built with patience and practice and a willingness to fail knowing that you can get back up and bounce back.
Courage is also….
• Speaking up in a meeting or to your boss when you know it is the right thing to do
• Confronting a friend or loved one who has been pushing into your boundaries
• Asking for honest feedback about how you are showing up
• Saying no to friends or a lover when you are not in the mood for food, drugs, sex, alcohol or company
• Dealing with your own frailty through illness or inability to do or achieve something
• Coping with let-downs, disappointments and failures, but still taking the next step
• Reaching out and helping a friend or stranger in need and being willing to sacrifice something of yours (time, plans, money, convenience)
Feel the fear and do it anyway
We may recognise that a dash (or bucket) of COURAGE can help us find our authentic voice, set boundaries, speak up, say sorry and make a difference. We also are constantly aware of the underlying FEAR that is our constant companion that holds us back from many of these important actions. There are many fears that keep us awake at night – usually associated with loss of some sort… loss of status, income, belonging, health, love, life, failure, humiliation … even success.
We are seldom either courageous or fearful, but rather move up and down a continuum depending on personal attitudes and life circumstances. Where do you spend most of your time and where would you like to spend more?
Courageous Adventurers believe that life is an endless adventure, that they can achieve anything they put their minds to and have a healthy trust in themselves to handle life’s curveballs. They generally feel passionate, courageous, determined, optimistic and brave. They use language like “feel the fear and do it anyway”, “let’s try again”, “if we fail fast, we’ll learn fast”. They have daily habits like speaking up, taking the next step, questioning their fear and staying calm in the midst of chaos. They also are not afraid to talk about their inner struggles.
The Anxious Controller on the other hand, believes that humiliation, pain or failure should be avoided at all costs. They believe they need to be continuously on guard and in control to be safe. They generally feel anxious, nervous, fearful, worried and doubtful. They use language like “it is too risky”, “what if we fail?”, “lets gather more data”. They have daily habits such as worrying, procrastinating, making excuses, criticising (self and others) and planning obsessively for eventualities
Daily hacks and habits for courage
Practice these daily habits to identify, confront and act with courage and a spirit of adventure despite your fear.
Habit #1: Identify source of your fear
Where could you be feeling fear out of an over-developed need for control, perfectionism and “being good enough” or a pleaser. Reframe these fears into some more constructive beliefs
Habit #2: Do something you are afraid of
Travel on your own, start a project, initiate a friendship, have a courageous conversation, stand in for your boss, apologise and ask for help
Habit #3: Learn to say NO or Not Now – with grace.
Be willing to say no when requests cross boundaries that are clear. Learn to ask for what you want or need. Learn to share how you feel without apologising for your needs and feelings.
Habit #4: Fail on purpose.
Learn to laugh at yourself and with others. Courage is persevering toward a dream after failure or not getting that deal, or that promotion or that relationship, or that business.
Habit #5: Practice vulnerability.
Ask for feedback or initiate an honest conversation with a friend, colleague, spouse or boss. Calibrate your own version of how you show up with how others experience you.
Tips, tools and resources
We have listed a few COURAGE resources below and many more are in the PowerUp8 book. Check out … tools in the link below.
- The Five Truths About Fear by by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway, Dr Susan Jeffers
- Daring greatly, Brené Brown