Episode 4 of the Elite Achievement podcast digs deep into courage because it plays such a vital role in our goal achievement journeys. I recently started this podcast, and it took a lot of courage for me to jump on a microphone, record and launch my thoughts into the universe. I’ll be honest – I still have a lot of fear recording each episode.
I tell myself a lot of stories that can hold me back from recording, but I am pushing through that fear and persevering anyway because I feel such a strong calling to show up and build a community!
Courage on the goal achievement journey shows up as embracing discomfort to grow in the direction of your goals. I think it’s really important to understand that we’re all going to feel uncomfortable on our goal achievement journey. We’re all going to feel different levels of fear as we are pushing through different mindset and other growth barriers.
Fear itself is such a critical topic to explore when we think about growing courage. I don’t remember where I heard this acronym, but it’s one of my favorite ways to describe fear.
In other words, we often create stories in our minds around all the terrible things that could happen if we act courageously in the direction of our goals. Yes, I get that there are some levels of fear that keep us safe and healthy, but fear can also keep us stuck. And if we buy into the stories, we probably won’t take the action we need to take to achieve our goals.
We need to recognize what we’re afraid of. We need to ask ourselves:
And then take that leap and start working through fear because it’s through action that we not only build our confidence, but we become more courageous.
I remember the first time I got on the microphone and I had to record an intro for my podcast. I was so afraid, reading through my notes and editing and recording the intro several times over.
Now when I start, there’s a little bit of fear, but I’m speaking more from my heart and realizing that I might trip over my thoughts, and that’s okay. I know the only way I’m going to get better at podcasting is by embracing the fear, showing up courageously and doing it anyway.
So, if you are waiting for fear to be completely removed from a situation, you will likely be waiting for a very long time and miss a huge opportunity to grow and achieve your goals.
Explore what’s the worst thing that can happen. Play out that scenario, and what’s so bad about it. You might realize that what you’re afraid of isn’t really that big of a deal, but your mind is making it out to be.
After you explore the worst that can happen, I encourage you to flip the script and explore what’s the best that can happen.
When comparing the worst versus the best, oftentimes, my clients find that the best case scenario outweighs the worst!
Another question you can ask:
What happens if I don’t take action?
Sometimes we don’t take action and we don’t act courageously because fear is holding us back. But if we look at the opposite end of the spectrum, not achieving our goal is actually scarier than taking the small courageous steps to make progress. If you find yourself limiting your courageous acts because of fear, considering what happens if you don’t take action can help you grow your courage muscle to act.
If we don’t act courageously:
So, as I think about demonstrating courage, I think courage can show up in a couple of different ways. I think we can demonstrate courage by being ourselves. We can demonstrate courage in our businesses, and we can demonstrate courage on our goal achievement journey.
Courage in Self
Prior to becoming a goal achievement coach, I worked in a male-dominated industry. I often didn’t have the courage to be who I truly am, because I really wanted to fit in.
On my leadership journey, I bought into some limiting beliefs that didn’t serve me well. I perceived my leadership journey to be more difficult, because I was a woman in a male-dominated industry. I locked into the mindset that “this is the way it is,” and my journey is going to be harder. Therefore, I told myself I needed to grit it out and dig my heels in. I needed to be more confident, extra confident. And I think that those perceptions held me back. They limited my vulnerability. I was afraid to admit if I wasn’t totally confident and I was afraid to ask for help.
I now know, that growing and getting to the next level could trigger my desire to fit in and conform. In these growth situations, I need to be extra aware of my beliefs and values so I remain true to who I am. I’ve learned to invite more dialogue and conversation to seek to understand others versus making sweeping assumptions.
Courage in Business
Courage also shows up in business. If you are in sales, provide a professional service or run a business, courage is required daily. We have to reach out to potential new clients and potential prospects. And we have to follow up with people. How much courage is required to follow up?!
I have wasted so much time in my own business thinking, “should I follow up?” There is power in creating a system for following up because it minimizes emotional decision-making.
I know now in my own business that I’m going to make an initial outreach, and then I’m going to do a second follow up. And I know that second follow up is key because more often than not going to get an answer from the initial outreach. People are busy and we are all working off our own agenda. A lack of follow up doesn’t always mean a no. The answer I get most frequently with that second follow up is, “Wow, thank you for following up. I meant to get back to you.”
A robust follow up system doesn’t always lead to a yes, but it does initiate answers and dialogue. And then from there, I can make a decision. Do I want to continue following up or move on? Or do I want to follow up with this individual at some point in the future? Systems and processes in business can help you grow your courage to take more action in the direction you need to take to achieve your goals.
Also, in business, we can demonstrate courage by being clear and direct. I have a lot of experience working with new financial representatives. One of the things that I’ve noticed working with newer financial representatives is that they are afraid to reach out to people in their warm market and let them know about their new work. When they do work up the courage to make contact, they tend to be super wordy and don’t get to the point in their phone conversation.
They say things like, “Hey, it’d be great to connect and catch up.” So, people are thinking that they are going to connect and catch up. And when this new financial representative tries to pivot the conversation and talk finance, it’s like, “whoa, awkward, what is going on?”
We could minimize a lot of the awkwardness if we are clear and direct up-front. But I think about all the times in my own life where I’ve been afraid to be clear and direct. And it’s because I didn’t really want the true answers. So, I danced around the issue, because that felt more comfortable. But then ultimately, I got the true answer one way or the other.
Courage in Goal Achievement
Lastly, think about courage in the goal achievement journey. It takes so much courage to pursue big goals. I talk to a lot of people who tell me, “Kristin, I don’t want to set big goals because what if I fail? I don’t want to fail.” And yes, failing doesn’t feel great. Most of us didn’t wake up today and say, “It’s a new day. How can I fail?” Or, “I can’t wait to get rejected. I can’t wait to face adversity.” But we risk living a mediocre life if we don’t set big goals for ourselves, our families and our businesses!
Being on this goal achievement journey takes a lot of courage. It takes courage to stay consistent, stay persistent and stay committed to what we want.
The only way that you are going to get better at pursuing your goals is by making that decision to consistently show up every day, whether it’s hard, whether you miss the shot, whether you fail. We have to keep showing up for our goals every single day.
So, what are some ways you can increase courage in your own life?
When it comes to courage with yourself, it’s being brave and honoring your own beliefs. It’s leaning in and trusting your intuition.
When it comes to courage in your business. It’s being clear and direct in your communication. It’s creating systems and processes to minimize that emotional decision making.
And when it comes to having courage with your goals, it’s dreaming big and taking action. It’s realizing that we can’t wait for fear to be removed. It’s being persistent and being relentless in the direction of your goals. It’s having a little bit of faith that if you put in the effort over and over again, that eventually it’s going to work out and you’re going to achieve incredibly meaningful goals.
So, if you haven’t taken the time to write out a 10-year vision allowing yourself to dream big – which does take courage to dream really, really big – then put pen to paper and write it out. Want more guidance on writing a vision? Check out this post on overcoming vision skepticism.
Drafting your vision can be an incredible way to start your courage journey. Our vision creates clarity which can inspire us to push through fear and courageously act in the direction of our goals.
You also might need to do some work on identifying fears that pop-up when you think about your business objectives or goals. There might be fears that you need to work through. You can ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? What is the best that can happen? What happens if I don’t take action?
One of the things that has helped me tremendously on my own courage journey is surrounding myself with really big thinkers to learn what they believe. I’ve been listening to podcasts regularly. I read a lot of books and I purposely interact with individuals that think big and dream big. All of this is by design; to borrow courage from others, when I don’t feel that courage myself.
I hope that you’re feeling inspired and that you’re going to act courageously in the direction of your goals. I’m curious, what’s the most important thing you can do today to move one step closer to goal achievement?