Nina Grunfeld’s 10-step guide to your best year yet. Step 6: Courage

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Wellbeing -

Re­mem­ber the Cow­ardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz who was search­ing for his courage? Many of us like stay­ing in our com­fort zone be­cause we’re scared of what might hap­pen. What if we were suc­cess­ful? What if we failed? Isn’t it eas­ier to mud­dle along as we are, dis­con­tented but safe?

But do we re­ally have to look for our courage? No, we don’t. As with the Oz lion, it’s ac­tu­ally inside us all the time, but we push it away, al­most scared of the power it might bring. You don’t have to use that power, but it’s lib­er­at­ing to know it’s there wait­ing for you.

Start by think­ing about all the times that you’ve been brave in the past. Not nec­es­sar­ily bungee­jump­ing-brave — al­though that should cer­tainly go on the list — but brave in terms of telling your boss how you felt about an is­sue. Or run­ning your first work­shop when your part­ner had just left you. Or telling your mother-in-law that you won’t be com­ing for Easter. And even brave about com­ing to life clubs when you aren’t sure what to ex­pect. Ev­ery first thing you have ever done re­quired courage of one sort or an­other from you, so start mak­ing a list of all of them.

If there’s an ap­pro­pri­ate mo­ment, ask friends, fam­ily and col­leagues what they think of you. Feed­back can work won­ders in boost­ing your courage. You can even make it re­cip­ro­cal. Wait pa­tiently as they tell you ev­ery­thing they feel about you. It will warm your heart and make you feel heroic.

Hear­ing from oth­ers and see­ing your­self through their eyes can be cru­cial in form­ing pic­tures of your­self. Oth­ers can see us soar and hold a pic­ture of us that is much big­ger than any­thing we could imag­ine.

That’s why peo­ple come to life clubs. You work with some­one you’ve never met be­fore who can give you ob­jec­tive feed­back and take you as they find you. With no agenda of their own, the way they see you can give you strength, too.

Fi­nally, push your­self. Just go for it. Ev­ery week (or even day if you feel like it), set your­self a goal, no mat­ter how small. Again, make a note of each goal you achieve. And, if you don’t achieve it, ask your­self if that goal was too big or whether you re­ally wanted to do it. Be­cause I bet there’s some courage in there that it would be great to ac­cess this year.

Next week: imag­i­na­tion.

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