Ordinary Courage

Brene Brown coined the phrase ‘ordinary courage’ to describe those everyday moments when we demand a little more of ourselves. To face a fear, to accomplish something we’ve never done before, to sit with someone in their pain, to apply for a job, stand up for our values and beliefs. We experience our ordinary courage and see it in others around us.

Facing Fear

And all of us, no matter the level of our success, have to face challenges and difficulties. I was listening to Jo Malone on the radio last night when spoke about her acceptance that anxiety would perhaps always be a part of her life, but she would never let it win. As a creative person she recognised her tendency to catastrophize everything. However her real breakthrough was when she stopped being frightened of being anxious. She told herself “Jo if you can stand there and have a panic attack in front of 500 people … and still give an inspirational talk … stop being frightened.”

“when you overcome and when you find a way through it stops holding you and you are able to move on”.

Jo Malone

Here are some of my tips to harness your courage in order to move your life on:

  1. Believe in the person you want to become. Spend time imagining what they are like, what they believe about themselves. Author and Psychiatrist Dan Siegel’s research tells us that as we visualise and connect with mental imagery, the brain can begin to rewire, helping you towards becoming what you have visualised and focussed your mind upon . So visualisation is a powerful tool, use it and see yourself exactly how you want to be.
  2. Fear – False Expectations Appearing Real. Experiencing adversity, challenges, not getting on top of things, feeling stuck, all can have an impact on our expectations of ourselves and of the life we create for ourselves. Remind yourself that fears are not facts, they are thoughts, they are imagined. This will help you get some perspective.
  3. Take action – action trumps fear every time. A psychotherapist I admire, Bill O’Hanlon, wrote “Do one thing Different.”  In essence, he is inviting us to look at our lives and do one thing that will break us free of our habits, limiting beliefs and limiting decisions. Is one thing you do every day that is holding you back? Start there and change that. Also Dan Seigel’s work tells us that when we face our difficulties instead of avoiding them we develop resilience and the capacity to overcome.
  4. The pursuit of perfection is useful unless you experience perfectionist paralysis. “I will be happy when”, “I will put myself first when”… We all know that the conditions might not ever be perfect. The only time you have is now. So let go of perfection, of control.
  5. Let go of over analysis. Over thinking keeps people stuck instead to taking action. Be active, shut down any negative mind chatter and analysis. You will free up your mind, your energy and gain greater clarity.
  6. Be here and now. Ask yourself what you can do, what is within your influence and control? Stop your mind from wandering off and being consumed by worries of the future and issues of the past. Be in the here and now. This is the place where your power and courage reside.

Why not let courage help you?

Watch my vlog on ordinary courage here