Four Steps to Meaningful Change: Step Four
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
We have made it to the last installment of my series on Meaningful Change. This week we will take a look at Courage. All the Awareness, Vision, and Strategy we’ve cultivated over the past few weeks will be wasted if we don’t have the courage to act. This might seem like a daunting task. This new year can seem frightening. When will the virus be under control? Will the schools need to go completely virtual? What will the economy do? What will the 47th president and a new administration in Washington look like? How will the 117th Congress function? Now that I have your attention, let’s look at what we can do to build up our courage.
Our life expands and contracts based on the level of courage we have. The more courage we have, the more things in life we are willing to try. Roman historian Tacitus wrote, “The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” If we become consumed with the desire for safety, we won’t try anything new. Some people are naturally more courageous, but each of us can increase the amount of courage we have if we work on it.
What is standing in the way of you engaging your strategy? You need to think this through and talk it out with someone. Remember that our fears grow best in the dark. Fears hate to be brought into the light of awareness through intentional dialogue. Our fears are a product of our thoughts. When we change our thoughts, we can remove or reduce our fears. We may also need to shift our brain away from fear and focus on something else that engages our prefrontal cortex. Working on a project or a puzzle will do the trick. Anything that uses the reasoning part of the brain will work.
Getting comfortable being uncomfortable is also imperative when looking to expand courage. This happens whenever we try something new. So what can you attempt that you always wanted to try but never did? It can be anything, even a hobby. Anything that is new and pushes you outside your comfort zone will work. Sometimes we are afraid because the task seems so big. When this happens, just decide to start or to do the next thing—no matter how small. Any step forward will get you moving again.
All of us are afraid and lack courage at times. The good news is there are things we can do to conquer those fears and train our brains to be more courageous. If you would like to hear more examples of how you can build courage, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 187 of The Next Page podcast.