My wife Shelley and I recently watched The Zookeepers Wife. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s the true story of how the zookeepers of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland, Antonina Zabinski and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski helped to save the lives of over 300 Jews during World War II.
After the Nazi’s bombed the zoo and invaded Poland, the couple used their zoo to work with the Resistance to smuggle refugees out of the ghetto. What stood out to me the most was how much courage the couple needed in order to help so many people. After all, if the Nazi’s had discovered what they were doing, they and the refugees they were helping would have been killed.
Big decisions require courage. When we venture into the unknown, we can quickly become filled with uncertainty. That unknowing can create fear and doubt which leads to stagnation and feeling stuck.
While writing a book doesn’t compare to hiding Jewish refugees during WWII, I did learn that it still takes courage. Courage to put my words out into the world where they will be scrutinized by critics. Courage to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Courage to keep getting up early every day, writing what I believe and hoping my words will help others and impact their lives in a positive way without receiving much feedback.
If you plan to go for your dreams, you must find ways to muster the courage. To ‘Take the road less traveled by’ as Robert Frost put it.
To create more courage in your life, I have created the following list of ideas to help you in your day to day struggle to be yourself and go for your goals.
3 Ways to Be More Courageous
Be clear on what you want.
Lack of focus or clarity in a situation can cause us to become filled with fear. When they Zabinski’s were risking their lives to help others, they knew what their objective was. To provide safety and shelter for those in need so they could save lives.
When I write, I know my purpose is to express myself in a way that inspires others to live happier more productive lives. I want to share my knowledge with the world and impact others in a positive way. I also want to make a living do it so I can provide for my family while doing what I love to do.
Visualize positive outcomes.
Fear usually stems from the pictures we are creating in our mind’s eye. When we create images of adverse outcomes, we begin to feel scared and nervous. These thoughts then trigger our sympathetic nervous system which begins sending adrenaline through our body resulting in feelings of fear.
In addition, when we don’t believe we are capable of handle something, we feel weaker and less resourceful. Our natural inclination becomes the desire to run or escape the situation. However, when you are picturing a positive outcome where you have the ability to face the challenge and succeed, you become more resourceful and stronger.
The Zabinski’s didn’t focus on getting caught. Instead, they used their mental energy to imagine saving innocent lives. When I write, I don’t think about the people who will judge and criticize my work. Instead, I imagine people smiling, enjoying, and benefiting from my words.
Focus on what you can control.
The third strategy I use when feeling less than sure of myself is to direct my energy into what I can control right now at this moment. When I am writing, I focus on the next word I am going to write or the next idea I am going to expand upon.
The truth is, I can’t control whether or not others will buy my books, read my blog or enroll in my courses. But I can work on getting better at what I do. I can learn from my results and continue to persist towards my desired outcomes. By paying attention to this moment, and not my negative thoughts, I can overcome my fears and get results.
In the end, courage is not something you possess, it is something you do. It is the result of knowing what you want, visualizing positive outcomes, and taking action by focusing on what you can control. The next time you begin to feel less that courageous, remind yourself that what you handle it.
As Christopher Robbin said in Pooh’s Big Adventure, “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
Question: What strategies do you employ when needing to experience more courage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.