Do you stand up for yourself? Do you stand up for what’s right? That’s part of what living “bravely” is about. Have you stopped to consider your level of bravery? Do you challenge yourself to work through your fears, like in doing things you’ve never done before and are uncomfortable thinking about? That’s another aspect of living “bravely”. So, let me dig a bit deeper and ask you if you are decisive, confident, and resilient? Can you live more boldly?
Everyone I know, personally and professionally, can live more boldly. I’m not talking about that “in your face boldness” we’ve all seen. In fact, sometimes that can be “bravado” people hide behind in their lack of confidence.
Living boldly can encompass conquering your fears. I have a friend who sets goals of conquering her fears, like learning to rock climb and to rappel down seemingly shear rock faces, or taking a solo month-long road trip. You can see it on her face and hear it in her voice when she’s completed her goal — she’s a stronger, more resilient woman, and that shows up in her life in various ways. Taking action bolstered some aspect of her life which ripples into other areas of her life.
There’s more to living boldly than conquering a physical fear, though that’s a great step. Living boldly is having dreams and pursuing them. That’s the kind of bravery I’m asking about when I ask you to consider your level of living bravely.
First, do you have the courage to know your dreams? Or, do you take what life offers you from moment to moment, day by day? When you take life by its lapels and go for the gusto and pursue your dreams, you gain so much by that action. That is living boldly.
Living boldly energizes you. It supports your high performance and productivity. And, living boldly highlights youthful living, that aspect you hear me sometimes call graceful aging.
Running with the assumption you don’t go all out in pursuing your dreams, I’ll now ask: Why not? Do you feel that your level of pursuit is adequate? Do you feel “adequate” is good enough for your fantastic life?!
Maybe you are afraid of what you’ll lose by choosing your dreams over serendipity. Or could it be you fear not succeeding at pursuing your dreams? I’ve heard people talk about not liking the choices they have to make along the way while pursuing their dreams; does that feel familiar, like something you are afraid of?
Do you have the courage to face those fears, and to grab your life and dreams by the lapels? Like my friend who challenges herself annually with a physical fear, your life will be stronger and more confident when you face your fears. When you take action and overcome the fears that hold you back, and most do hold us back, you’ll be more satisfied with your life. And you’ll be more resilient, more capable of really rolling with what life throws your way. Courage is a characteristic of an energized life and youthful living too.
Facing your fears doesn’t guarantee immediate success, and you might not succeed at all. You’ll undoubtedly do that overcome-fears dance: one step forward, two steps back; three steps around, and four steps forward; one step back, one step to the side, and twenty-three steps forward. You’ll step on toes, twist your ankle, or miss a beat as you perform that dance practice. But, you’ll be stronger for every step you take — action builds courage and confidence. I’d like to think that you’ll have fun in the dance too as you learn the moves.
Even if you don’t succeed the way you want, chances are you’ll be in a better place than if you never tried. Progress is worth the effort and the chance of failure. Failure in facing your fears isn’t fatal; unless you quit you haven’t even really failed. Action is the foundation of growth and progress.
Take a look at your life. How will it be different when you face the fears you presently avoid?
Will your life be better by facing those fears? Will you really lose anything if you pursue your dreams and leave serendipity for other times and opportunities, and other people? Can making choices that support your dreams hurt you? Sure, those choices might be uncomfortable because not choosing the known has the potential for being uncomfortable. So what.
Is attaining the goal worth a bit of discomfort? If your answer is “no”, then I’ll suggest your dream isn’t really a dream, but more of an interesting idea that you are toying with. If that’s the case, then keep working on identifying what your true dream is. When you know it, can feel it and see it, then you can face the fears that hold you back from chasing that dream and conquering your fears around it.
Some tips for supporting the pursuit of your dreams, for conquering your fears:
– tell people what you are doing and what your ambitions are
– take action towards that dream
– decide on bold actions you can take toward your dream
– commit to those bold actions; write them down and make a plan for how you’ll consistently act
– celebrate every small success
– regroup after setbacks and recommit to the bold actions
Living bravely is such a rewarding lifestyle. When you live bravely, you follow your heart and dreams. That’s when you can look yourself in the mirror and recognize your courage. Your confidence will bubble to the top and stay there, regardless of what life throws at you. You’ll feel more energized with each success, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll feel more youthful. That’s living boldly.