Do you feel like your personal or private life has stalled? At some point in our lives, fear has kept us from some significant accomplishment or victory. There’s no way to avoid fear, and running away from it only postpones success. But there are simple steps you can take to overcome and eradicate your fears, unlock your bravery and get started down the path to an extraordinary life.
Set Your Goals—and Make Time to Achieve Them
Complacency is the silent enemy that can stall any aspect of life or business. Are you using your booked calendar as an excuse for why you’re not pursuing more of your life’s dreams?
To fight busyness, you need to focus on what you want and need to accomplish. That means setting priorities. Prioritizing brings clarity and direction. Grab a notebook and take ten minutes to write down the current priorities on your plate. Are you happy or unhappy with those priorities? Are they taking you in the direction you want to go? If not, you need to drop or delegate the things that are holding you back, moving you in the wrong direction, or keeping you in the same place.
Buckle Down and Brainstorm
Ideas and inspiration usually come to you when the appeal of complacency loses its luster. When people say they can’t think of a single life-changing idea, it’s usually because they aren’t making much of an attempt to brainstorm. Let your life experiences and passions speak to you. Your unique experiences give you a different perspective than everyone else. Don’t pressure ideas into forming. Let your thoughts flow and write them down as you think of them.
Now, look at that list and cross out every idea but the three that resonate with you the most. Whittle this list down to the few that you most want to accomplish or pursue. At this stage, it’s good to remember that you still have time ahead of you and it will take time to pursue ideas you want to complete in your lifetime. Don’t let the lie of instant gratification send you back to the complacency stage. It takes more than a spark of inspiration or a great idea to make a positive impact. Once you have an idea that demands your attention and won’t let go, fear will likely be your next reaction. Which leads us to…
Acknowledge Your Fears
Fear is the biggest obstacle you will ever face in life. And not acknowledging fear only makes it stronger. Fear will keep you procrastinating if you let it and it will keep you from living out your own brave journey. Take ten minutes to identify and write down your top fears. Writing them down is an important action because being able to look at your fears makes you more comfortable facing them. This exercise is half of the battle with fear: acknowledging what you’re afraid of and realizing that fear will come again, so you can prepare for it.
If your goals and dreams don’t scare you, they’re probably not big enough. Many things in life will scare you, but you have to find ways to make it through fear and hopefully learn lessons along the way. Fear wins out when we decide that avoiding fear is more important that the possible positive impact our ideas might have.
Choosing bravery over fear is usually realizing that we have a choice about which internal voice we listen to. Fear is often an indicator that you’re heading toward bravery and you just haven’t found the benefits of it yet. Stop viewing fear as something bad and begin seeing it for what it is–an opportunity. You may not always be able to change your current situation, but you can change your current perception of it.
Identify What Your Passionate About
Passion is the most useful tool in your arsenal because it is the fuel behind the work. The reason so many people don’t live a life with passion is that they only look for passion within their work, never looking to make it a way of life. We need to search for passion in every area of our lives.
Remember that notepad you’ve been jotting down things on? Grab it again and answer the following questions:
- How are you pursuing your biggest passion(s) right now?
- What would you gladly do for free that people want and need?
- How can you fit your passion into your work?
- What excites you? Gets you out of bed early or keeps you up late? What do you find fun?
- What do you want to expound upon in conversation?
Answering these five questions will help you figure out what you’re passionate about. Your passion is there to push your further.
Take that First Brave Step Toward a New Future
Bravery is knowing what you need to do and filling the gap between that and where you are currently. Bravery is not a choice that is made once and then you’re done with it. You will have to walk this journey many times in your life, but the good news is, the more you walk it, the easier it becomes.
Bravery isn’t the absence of fear but rather stepping out in the midst of fear with passion in one hand and fight in the other. So, now that you’ve defined your top fears and your passions, grab your notebook and take your time to define what bravery looks and feels like to you. Remember, bravery is not always “Look what I did!” Bravery is built on showing up; it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture every time. It can be attending your daughter’s recital when you have too much work to do. It can be fulfilling a promise to help a friend move. Bravery is not always about creating more time in your day, but it’s always about being intentional with the time that you already have. Whatever you do, do it with all your passion, so you impact people wherever you go and leave your imprint on as many lives as possible.
Life continually gives you opportunities to change, to face the road ahead bravely. And because fear only has the power you hand over to it, you have more control over the road ahead than you may think.
These five steps toward bravery were pulled from the first chapter of The Bravest You: Five Steps to Fight Your Biggest Fears, Find Your Passion and Unlock Your Extraordinary Life by Adam Kirk Smith.