Why courage is crucial for transformative change
Having courage is one of the most important qualities you need to develop if you want to instigate change to a more purposeful and passionate life. Courage is what helps you to develop and strengthen your willpower. Courage is what unlocks your power and leads you to a life where you’re fulfilling your highest potential. Sounds heavy right?! Well good, it’s supposed to! We’re trying instigate transformative change so you better expect shit to get real!
“It’s just not the right time.” “My head’s not in it.” “Things are too busy with the kids, maybe I’ll find time when they’re back in school/out of school.” “I can’t find the time to get to the gym right now.”
Rationalize much? The excuses we tell ourselves, or rational lies we buy into, are really just a form of disguise for something else. What we’re really saying is, “X, Y, Z is hard, it’s going to make life difficult and I’m scared of that.” We encourage, and help clients to show themselves some self-compassion in challenging times. But we don’t confuse that with various versions of “letting yourself off the hook” stories we’ve heard a million times. We know that most of the time, what you really need to do is stand up and show some courage.
Let’s dive deeper into this concept of courage and how you should apply it when working towards dreams and goals.To see the content below you must be logged into your account and have an active subscription. Not a subscriber to The Own Your Eating Lifestyle? Check out our Lifestyle memberships starting from less than $1 a day!
1. Give your Dreams Scope
First of all, when you have a dream or a goal you have to have the courage to own that dream. Maybe your dream is to drop 3 dress sizes and WOW everyone at your high school reunion with your incredible transformation. Or maybe you fantasize about making it to the CrossFit Games or running the Marathon des Sables. Those are all wonderful dreams! Have you shared them with anyone? And I mean actually told someone that you’re deadly serious about doing it, not just casually mentioning in passing “yeah it would be cool to get to the Games, maybe in 20 years!”and laughing it off. Speak up and tell your truth! Have the courage to do that. Assuming your family and friends are decent people, they’ll find a way to support you.
If you don’t have a dream or goal yet then have the courage to dream. Dream big! Sure the cynics in this world (and there’s plenty of them) might tell you you’re crazy, maybe even the voice inside your head tells you you’re a little bit crazy! But don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you, you can’t have or can’t achieve something. You have to be courageous and turn your pipe dream into something more tangible. Overcome your self-doubt and give your goals and dreams the scope and expression they need in order to transition from intangible dream to a concrete reality.
2. What’s working for you & against you?
This exercise can be two-fold. You’ll need to figure out the external factors at play that are working for and against you as well as identify your own strengths and weaknesses. External factors might be something like, being a single mom working a full-time job and you can’t find the time to work out between work and your kids’ activity schedule. A personal strength of yours though might be that you’re an organizational queen and easily influence others. So why not take care of the gap in your fitness by organizing a parent boot camp that coincides with the kids outdoor sports activities?
The problem is that people often lack the courage to claim their strengths because then they have to do something with them! Organizing a boot camp may be a bit of a challenge to set up if you’ve never done anything like that before, but it also takes perseverance and commitment to keep it going. Addressing your weaknesses is just as difficult because then you have to own up and accept that there is something you’re responsible for. In a world full of demands, the thought of adding another responsibility to your list is exhausting. We get that! But if you don’t have the courage to do something about your strengths or weaknesses, you’ll find yourself living your life as a reactive machine. Allowing your routine and your behaviors to be influenced by someone or something else. Have the courage to regain control of your life, you owe it to yourself!
3. Find your Voice – What’s your Reality?
“The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – George Bernard Shaw
In order to take your dream and make it a reality there are certain steps you have to take to get there. Confronting your own reality and having what I like to call “crucial conversations” is a very necessary part of it. What that essentially is going to involve is sharing your perspective with someone about your current circumstances or reality – maybe your partner, or someone else you live with or even your coach – and asking them what it is that they see.
Give Feedback Kindly
The conversation is likely going to involve some feedback on both sides, so it’s important to try to remove criticism, judgment and negativity. In order for you to get to where you need to be, you need to have the courage to confront that person with your feedback – maybe your partner doesn’t pitch in as much as they should around the house and a little bit of extra help would make a huge difference to your own schedule.
Receive Feedback Graciously
Likewise you need to have courage – and a big dash of humility – to accept feedback in return. Just like recognizing that you have the responsibility to do something about your weaknesses, being able to accept or at least explore another person’s standpoint of your situation, will help to remove any blinkers you’ve had in place and widen your own perspective.
We know how beneficial dialoguing your reality can be. That’s why we offer our clients the opportunity to talk with their coaches on the phone and have an actual conversation instead of just an email exchange. We all hear what we want to hear and most people don’t ask for feedback. When you show that you’re willing to ask for the good, the bad and the ugly, that’s when you’re willing to step up and be a better version of yourself.
4. Never Stop Learning & Growing
Complacency is the enemy of progress. We should always have the courage to learn and grow. Sometimes in life when we have had prior success we can become complacent or unwilling to explore uncertainty or unfamiliarity. Maybe you’ve lost weight in the past following a variety of methods but none of which provided you with long-lasting results. Reasonably, you know that you should try something new, something that will actually teach you about nutrition and help you develop the skills you need to be able to sustain good eating habits and maintain a healthy weight. But exploring different options brings with it a certain level of uncertainty. “How do I know this lifestyle will work for me?”, “I don’t know if I can weigh and measure all my food”, “Figuring out how to use another app sounds time consuming.”
Yes, trying something different is daunting. We understand that no one wants to invest time and energy in something that isn’t going to work. But growth and progress usually involves learning something new and placing your trust in the fact that everything becomes easier with time. We have to have the courage to step up to that challenge and give up the addiction of playing it safe. Sure, you can go back to the south beach diet, or Atkins or hours on end of cardio, or you can concede that there might be a better way, if you just have the courage to step into that uncertainty.
You have to care! No one else is going to or at least they’re not going to care as much as you do. Vulnerability is often thought of as a sign of weakness. Not only that, but showing or admitting to yourself that you care about something, opens you up to disappointment. Often people prefer to hide under a facade of confidence because they don’t want to fail. In my opinion, being vulnerable and open to the possibility of failure is actually a huge strength. Being open is incredibly important to your potential for success. Think about how much you can learn from others when you simply say “I don’t know what I’m doing, help!” or to give you a more concrete example, “I have no idea what kinds of breakfast foods are high in protein, can anyone share their ideas?”or “How do I know when I need to adjust my numbers?” These are the kinds of questions we help clients with every day in our Lifestyle group.
If you haven’t watched Brené Brown’s TED Talk about the power of vulnerability please watch it now! Like most great TED Talks, it’s the kind that will leave you with goosebumps.
Some of you might be thinking, cool! Action! Now this I do, I have the courage to do stuff all the time. The trouble is, too many people act without information. Although it might be tempting and seem logical to take immediate action to yield results, this isn’t very strategic. You can be doing lots of different things with little benefit if you’re not acting in a way that’s consistent with your highest and best use. If you take the time however, to identify and reflect on the previously mentioned acts of courage and steps, then you can take intelligent action and follow a clearly defined path of action. You might be doing less, but what you’re doing is having a greater impact.
Doing only what is truly essential to reaching your goal and eliminating everything that is not. It might sound extreme but forcing yourself to be systematic and discerning about what is truly important will empower you to regain control of your life and your own choices. Spend 10 minutes thinking about all the things you’ve said yes to today that have in some way derailed you from what you hoped to accomplish. Think of every “yes” as a strategic “no” to something else important, whether that be spending 20 minutes doing a workout, or spending quality time with your spouse. Ask yourself, “what is it I need to say no to?”. For more insight on how you can employ this kind of tact and develop the mindset of essentialism, have a read of Greg McKeown’s, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”,
What do you think about courage? Do you lack the courage to make your goals real? Don’t worry you’re not alone! Let us know what you think and how we can help you find the courage you need to create change!