Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
~ Ambrose Redmoon ~
Courage is an interesting phenomenon. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is and what triggers it.
One kind of courage is triggered on the spur of the moment when facing life or death circumstances. Most of us hope we never have to face such circumstances. And I believe our hope is that if we do come up against them, we will muster up whatever it takes to do the brave thing. But we won’t know for sure we’ve got it in us until the time comes.
There’s a different kind of courage we face many times in our lives – whether we have the courage to design a life that includes pursuing Big, Juicy Goals that matter. It’s harder to pin down what triggers that level of courage, but one of my favorite parts of coaching is watching and listening for it. It often goes something like this:
1) You have an idea for a Big, Juicy Goal you’d love to turn into a reality. Maybe it’s been simmering in the back of your mind for years, whether it’s buying your first home, starting a business, changing careers at age 50-plus, getting your degree, or taking a year (or more) off to travel the world.
You think about all the reasons why you can’t do it. It’s not practical, you can’t afford it, or you believe the people you love will think you are loony-bin-crazy. But you can’t stop thinking about it.
2) You do some research, read books, or follow people online who are doing what you want to do. You enjoy reading and learning about them.
You think about how you could do what they are doing. You still aren’t ready to take action, but you imagine what it would be like if you could make that dream come true.
3) You attend workshops and seminars. Maybe you join a mastermind group or you decide to work with a coach or a mentor. You network. You meet others just like you who are going after their own Big, Juicy Goals.
You find out they struggle with the same issues you struggle with. You see them make progress despite the obstacles. You catch a glimmer of possibility that you can actually achieve your goals.
4) You begin taking action. Most of the time it feels like you are just going through the motions. Deep down inside, you still grapple with Big, Juicy Doubts. By this time, you may see your Big, Juicy Goal as possible, but not probable – not really – but it can’t hurt to play the game just to see what happens.
5) Somewhere along the way, as you continue taking action, a switch flips. Sometimes it’s the result of an “aha” moment. More often it’s subtle. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment when it happens, but when the switch flips, your energy shifts. A spark ignites inside you.
Your Doubter Voice quiets down. The drama disappears. Your actions get bolder and more certain. Your heart, mind, and spirit align. You no longer question whether you will achieve your goal. As far as you are concerned, it’s a done deal. You are not just imagining the goal, you see and feel yourself as having achieved it.
The switch flips with a single choice. By the time you make the choice, it no longer seems momentous. But it’s one you could not have made at the beginning.
With that one choice, you have crossed over a line. You know that achieving your goal is more important than whatever has been stopping you.
The tricky part is staying with the process until the switch flips. That requires courage. There’s no predicting when it will happen or exactly what will trigger it.
As a coach, that makes what I do challenging, fun, and exciting. While I cannot flip the switch for you, I can help facilitate the process, and in my role as observer, I often recognize when it’s happened before my clients do.
Once the switch flips, coaching becomes easier because you have taken full ownership of your goals and responsibility for achieving them. Congratulations! You are on your way to success!
Is 2016 going to be your year for making your goals more important than your fear? Registration for my complimentary Introduction to January Jumpstart: Nailing Goals that Matter teleclass on January 14, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. PST is now open. Reserve your spot early!