What does it mean to live courageously with intent? It means choosing to step out of your comfort zone to dance with your vulnerability, while acknowledging that we are all instinctively wired for safety and protection. Here are five tips to add a little more courage into your life:
- Step out of your comfort zone: Do something that makes you face a fear – big or small – and build your confidence with each step along the way. Some time ago I made a decision to do something each year that forced me out of my comfort zone. By doing so, I’ve added a few memorable moments to my inventory of life experiences. For example, spending a night alone on pink granite as part of an Outward Bound sea kayaking adventure overlooking Georgian Bay. Or experiencing my acting debut in community theatre as a master of ceremonies for a Women’s Shelter fundraiser or riding through the Rockies on horseback with my youngest daughter. These experiences have stretched me personally and professionally, making me appreciate what’s possible, and I am grateful for each moment.
- Speak Your Truth: How many times have you sat through a meeting or conversation and remained silent while someone else in the room expressed the words or questions spinning around in your head? They had the courage to ask the tough questions, to probe a little deeper and in doing so, created a better outcome for all (and perhaps a more productive use of everyone’s time). It’s not always easy to speak your truth, and the wisdom of age and experience gives you greater courage to do so. But if we are honest with ourselves and those around us, speaking our truth, while being mindful of the impact of our words, is an opportunity for growth and personal empowerment.
- Embrace vulnerability: Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent the last decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched talks on TED.com, Brown notes that the concepts of vulnerability and courage are inextricably linked. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is not a weakness – in fact, it is an act of courage. It’s taken me a long time to make peace with my vulnerability, however life is much easier and you can live much more authentically when you embrace that which makes you human – and there is a little human in all of us.
- Define success on your own terms: Whether we like it or not, we are all the product of our past. Our belief system is made up of old thought patterns, impression, conditioning and programming from childhood. But at a certain point in life, we each have an opportunity to realize that the system you work in doesn’t tell you who you get to be – you can decide who you get to be. How do you define success? Is it a productive career? Making a difference in your community? Or raising confident children? We all define success differently. When we define success on our own terms, being mindful of who it is we want to be, and then living into that intent – then the odds of living to our full potential are amplified.
- Listen to your ‘horse’: In her book The Power of the Herd, author Linda Kohanov notes that your body is the horse your mind rides around on – a sentient turner, receiver, and amplifier of all kinds of nonverbal information. Our physical response to a situation can help us gather information in unfamiliar situations, develop fresh approaches to challenges, and “read a room”, sensing the unspoken feelings of concerns of others. Our body lets us know when we are tired and ready for a break – even when our mind tells us to keep going. To live courageously with intent, we must tap into all of our senses – our head, heart and our gut. If you were to take a walk in your body from head to toe, what would it tell you about your life today? Are you listening?
Want to live courageously with intent? The Mane Intent creates unique learning experiences for individuals, couples, small groups and teams interested in exploring what’s possible in life and work with a little horse power. Book your session today at www.themaneintent.ca