The Simple Formula For Courage (Simple, But Not Easy)

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It’s time to get practical in our attack on fear.

The past two blogs in this series have unpacked the nature of fear and the role it plays in our life.  In Fear Is Not Your Frienemy (even if it feels like she’s ripping your heart out) we looked at the science of fear and how to understand your own physiological signs of fear.  In @#$% Fear | How To Look Fear In The Face And Rip Her Lashes Off One-By-One, we explored the similarities between fear and excitement and how to reframe a situation to gain more control over your reactions.

In order to understand how to overcome fear, it’s important to consider the end goal.

That is, courage.

Let’s take a look at some great examples of courage in history:

  • Anne Frank and her family living in secret to hide from the Nazis
  • Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus
  • Martin Luther King Jr. standing up for equal rights
  • Joan of Arc facing harsh criticism and burning at the stake for her beliefs
  • The police, firefighters and citizens who rushed into buildings to save lives on September 11, 2001

And more recently and closer to home, our first responders and medical staff fighting to protect us all from bushfires and the deadly risks of Covid-19.

What Do All Of These Heros Have In Common?

They were all working toward a higher good, a bigger picture, a long-term end-game.  They all had an ultimate mission that was so important to them, it outshone any experience of fear.

COURAGE emerges when what we WANT is bigger than what we FEAR.

If you think about a time when you demonstrated courage, I bet you can identify the factors that you ‘feared’ and those that you ‘wanted’.  How did each measure up?

Here is a simple tool to help you find your courage, next time you’re faced with a situation that induces fear:

Use this as a guide to help you tease out the things that make you feel fearful and the things that you are working toward.  Give each item on each list an ‘importance rating’ out of 10 so you can make meaningful comparisons between factors.

Let me know how this technique works for you at @mel_schilling1

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