I'm so excited to share a guest post from my amazing friend, wellness expert, speaker, and trainer Khaled Allen.
What would you do if you have had more courage?
- Travel more?
- Start your first business?
- Write your book?
- Speak up at work?
- Write a blog that would change the world?
Courage, like anything else, can be cultivated. Just like you choose to engage in habits that help you live mindfully, you can also choose habits to build your confidence. Change can be uncomfortable. But you can still challenge yourself without going over the edge.
Here are 4 Ways to Cultivate Courage:
1. Embrace Discomfort Daily
It used to be the case that we could not escape discomfort, so we accepted it. Now, surrounded by distractions, we avoid discomfort because society teaches us we can and should. But we need discomfort to push ourselves to grow. Without it, we would have no reason to make our lives better.
One way I cultivate the ability to face discomfort is taking cold showers. I don’t look forward to them but always feel better afterwards. I learned not to avoid unpleasant situations because I know the worst part is the anticipation.
Find something you hate doing but can tolerate and make a point to do it regularly. One great option is a physical activity or class that makes your nervous, such as rock climbing, wilderness trips, mountain biking, gymnastics, or yoga. What matters is that it is scary by your standards.
When you feel confident spending a week in the woods, visiting a new country just doesn’t seem that intimidating.
When meeting a client, I insist on a good night’s sleep, a hearty breakfast, and dressing up a bit. Feeling awesome gives me the confidence to play with the big dogs and to ask for a higher rate in return.
Feeling energetic, healthy, and brutally attractive goes a long way toward helping you feel like you can take on anything and anyone. Don’t trivialize self-care.
3. Understand that fear is only a feeling
One of my favorite mantras is the "Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear," from Dune by Frank Herbert:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
It teaches that fear is transitory and just because you feel it doesn’t mean you must do something about it.
Try meditating on this: Envision something that scares you and hold it in your mind. Notice the emotions. Don’t try to fight them or push them away; simply observe them. Sit with fear and learn that you can feel it without accommodating it.
4. Just act
When all else fails, commit to action. Create or find a plan, break it down into steps, and simply go through the motions.
When I launched my first ebook, that’s exactly what I did: I made a checklist then simply did what it said with no judgment.
It was scary, but it got the job done.
When approaching a new client or a cute guy, plan something to say and just...say...it. Move your jaw. Get the words out. The rest will follow.
The more you do this, the better you will be at trusting your higher plan and taking the necessary steps. That trust is essential to tackle longer-term anxieties like starting a business, planning a trip, or writing a book.
Patiently follow these practices and your confidence will grow. Fear will still exist, but you will be much more comfortable dealing with it. This will open up a new sense of freedom to express your true self, knowing you can handle any uncertainty that comes along.
Khaled writes about empowering psychology, holistic fitness, and the day-to-day of living a life of integrity. He lives in Boulder, CO, where he is considered normal. Check out his blog, Warrior Spirit.