”Courageous Moments” Strategy

pexels-photo-courage moment

Every month I’m going to highlight one strategy that I have found useful in managing anxiety. The strategy for this month is to recall and relive moments in your personal history where you did something courageous. Courageous Moments. This is an appropriate strategy for this month’s Ownership theme, because while we are getting used to the difficult process of accepting all parts of ourselves…the good, the hard and the awkward…it is motivating to remember that through it all, we do amazing and brave things every day.

It happens without warning. Your fears are just… gone. You have a crystal clear focus with not one second thought. You are filled with a thundering yet controlled confidence. The kind of confidence that surges through your body, calms your breath and squares your shoulders. You don’t care if anyone notices. You don’t need any praise or recognition. You just revel in this feeling of ownership. You absolutely, positively, matter-of-factly Own. This. Bitch. You know what you want to do. You know how to get it done and most importantly, you have made an irrevocable decision to execute.

This last step is the game changer. After all, there are about a million things that you want to do. And you have at least three solid, well thought-out plans for accomplishing each one. But the execution…that’s where fear typically steps in front of you and says,

“Wait! Wait! Wait! What about this? Have you thought about that?”

But that loud, doubting voice isn’t here right now. You don’t know why or how…where did it go? Who cares. You are in control. You are in charge and this is a courageous moment.

This calm and focused sense of bravery is what I consider to be one of two categories of courage. This is of course the ideal. I cherish and hold onto these moments because that is how I want to feel ALL THE TIME – Calm, Focused. Strong. Brave. Secure. I consider these rare moments gifts to be treasured—remembered—and recalled often.

The second and MUCH more common category of courage, is the one where you are scared outta yo mind! Before you do it. While you do it. After you do it. But when the dust settles, you are so unbelievably proud that YOU DID IT! These moments are just as important as the first type of calm and collected courage. In fact, they are more important because they are much, much harder. These moments should also be treasured, remembered and recalled often.

We must recognize, glorify and cherish these moments. If not for these moments, you might see yourself as nothing more than a quivering mass of gooey, whiney potential – hiding in the corner (or in the Perfect Harbor), watching everyone else live out their dreams which are not half as brilliant or well thought out as your own, but they are being executed, which is all that matters. Courageous moments remind you that you are strong. You are brilliant and you DO know how to handle things. Any things. All things. These are your moments of hope and inspiration that will carry you through dark and fearful times. These are better motivators than any celebrity, athlete, hard-luck story or Rocky movie out there. Why? Because these moments are about you, from you, by you. Nothing provides a better catalyst for being brave right now, than a reminder of you once being brave.

So, right now, instead of reliving that time you sweated your way through a big presentation, instead of envisioning all of the ways that tomorrow’s dinner with your future in-laws will go horribly wrong, think about that real moment in history when you were brave. The time you voiced your opinion on where to go for lunch among a new group of colleagues. The time you went to that event by yourself instead of staying home…and had a great time.

These times in your life are not flukes or lucky accidents; you actively engineered these moments, so OWN them. Because in these moments, you owned yourself, without apology and without explanation. Hang onto these memories. Recall them as often as you can and relive the feelings that coursed through your body. After all, we are what we think we are. So the more we think of ourselves as brave, the more we will be brave. And guess what? The more we focus on these courageous moments, the less we will replay negative moments! This is what I look forward too! Let’s replace as many negative reels as we can with courageous ones!!

Next week, I’ll share with you one of my courageous moments that I keep in my back pocket, to remind myself that, yes, I do own a pair of big brass ones and I can screw them on at any time. But, until then, I want to hear from you.

What is a courageous moment from your past when you stepped up to show the world “this is me, and this is what I’m about?” Something that you can pull out of your mental files in order to give yourself an injection of bravery.

In fact, go ahead and make a whole heaping list of them. Sit. Take a deep breath. Relax. Don’t rush. Don’t panic. You have these moments. Plenty of them. It may take some practice to drag them out if you are not used to thinking this way, but you can do it. Choose one or a couple and share them in the comments section. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss future posts!

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4 thoughts on “”Courageous Moments” Strategy

  1. Totally fits with your last post on Brené Brown’s book. Own your story! Your post and your question made me think back to the “oldest” courageous moment I can remember. I think it would be when I decided to leave my long-planned career path to become a Community Organizer. I had for so long though I wanted to be a physical or occupational therapist but when a fork in the road came up I had to choose one path or the other…I took the road less traveled and I definitely all the better for it. Thank you for this reminder I had never thought of that choice as courageous until now. <3

    1. That’s a great example!
      Decision making can be so hard…especially those HUGE life decisions like your career. There are so many factors to consider and most of the time, you can’t get all of your questions answered before you choose — you just have to make the best assessment you can and trust the unknowns to work themselves out. I especially applaud you for going with your gut and leaving the known, comfortable path in favor of the unknown one. Very courageous indeed 🙂

  2. Most of my have to do with my travels, I’ve realized. The first solo trip, to Madrid for a month, to attend a language school, turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life–I was beyond nervous, but I made some golden memories and am still in touch with some of the friends made at that school. #2 (which was mainly inspired by the great experience in Madrid) was moving to London on my own with no job, finding a job (well, three, actually) and a flat, moving flats, dealing with immigration issues down the line, and ending up staying eight months longer than planned. Again, despite the stress, one of the best decisions I ever made. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I did these things unmedicated, but curiously, I actually find being in foreign countries alone liberating–no one knows who I am, so they have few preconceived notions, and I have few, if any, obligations while I’m there. I’ve grown addicted to the feeling!

    1. Anita –
      Courageous Moments, or should I say, Months in solo travel. That is so great! I would be scared out of my mind to travel for such extended periods by myself! But that’s the whole point, right? My favorite part of your example is how you acknowledge how nerve wracking the experience was, yet you realize that the rewards are SO much bigger than the nerves so you keep at it! I also love your description of the clean slate, liberating feeling you describe while traveling alone in a foreign country — Amazing.
      Thanks for sharing 🙂

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