How to Be More Courageous

The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

That phrase has helped me learn so much about myself.

It means that the way you show up in one situation is exactly how you're showing up in every area of your life. It's a powerful mirror.

While in Hanalei Bay in Kauai this summer, I had an experience where I learned valuable information about myself thanks to that useful phrase. 

At one end of the picturesque bay, there is a pier. On my family's first day there, we saw all sorts of people jumping off the pier into the turquoise ocean.

Because of my power word "adventurous", I decided that jumping off the pier would help me expand my comfort zone.

Zoë and Oakley, my kids, enthusiastically agreed that we should jump off together. My husband, Paul, was surprised when I announced my intention because I've spent many years being the opposite of adventurous.

Once I stood on the edge of the pier, I realized that it was a lot higher than it looked. From a mile away, the jump looked deceptively small. 

Face to face with the actual leap, I reconsidered my decision.

My kids had already jumped in with the carefree joy of childhood, so I started asking them all sorts of questions:

Does it hurt when you hit the water? Is it deep enough for me? Did you touch the bottom? Is the water cold? Are there fish in there?

I remained on the edge, literally, second guessing my ability to be adventurous and courageous. Zoë and Oakley gave me encouragement as they treaded water and patiently answered my questions (while also laughing at me).

Finally, I ran out of questions. There was no good reason for me to stay on the pier.

I took another look around, watching people of all ages gleefully plunge into the water. I wanted to be carefree and gleeful too, so I used a phrase that has helped me face many scary moments: If that yahoo can do it, so can I.

As Shakespeare put it so eloquently, I "screwed my courage to the sticking place" and then I jumped. It took a surprising amount of time to reach the surface and then it felt like I got a very forceful Neti Pot treatment as the salt water flooded into my sinuses.

All of a sudden, I was laughing and feeling exhilerated, treading water alongside my kids. I felt so proud of myself.

Reflecting on my experience, I noticed that the way I behaved in that moment is the way I behave in my day to day life too. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

From a distance, I often think that something looks like a great idea and without mch consideration, I decide to go for it.

Once I get to the heart of the project, I have a tendency to get scared and second guess myself.

If I try to do it on my own, I often give up because I'm just so afraid and I talk myself out of it. However, if I have support, especially from people who have gone before me who I can ask questions and get encouragement from, then I'm able to make a decision to be courageous.

If I've made a commitment to an ideal (such as being adventurous) or to someone, I can rise above the fear. If I have no good reason to follow through, or no support, I don't tend to follow through.

So why am I sharing this with you? 

3 Reasons:

  • to help you understand the value of knowing yourself
  • to explain how I consciously move through fear so that you can too
  • to encourage you to find support in the areas of your life where you are seeking expansion and personal growth

Where in your life can you "take the plunge"?

When you decide to go for it, notice how you show up throughout the experience, because self-discovery makes life worth living.