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