Five ways to be braver in 2017

By Margie Warrell | Jan 06, 17 09:09 AM

'Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it, the braver you become,' writes Margie Warrell

Think of something you did over 2016 that you’re really proud about. I bet it involved you being brave in some way. Likewise, if you think back to anything you feel some level of regret around, chances are that fear was sitting in the driver’s seat at the time. Fear of confrontation. Fear of making a fool of yourself. Fear of being alone. Fear of criticism … the list is long.

The truth is that in some shape or form, courage lays at the heart of every worthwhile endeavour. It’s why the things you want most for yourself in the year to come – in your career or business, in your relationships, in your health and every area of your life – will require trading the comfort or security of what you have now for the possibility of what you want most.

And that’s scary.

Of course if it were easy to lay our vulnerability on the line, to risk those very things we fear in the pursuit of the very things we yearn for most, we’d all be doing it.  

As human beings becomings, we’re wired for safety - to lean away from risk, not toward it. We’re also wired to focus more on what could go wrong than on what could go right and to discount the price we pay for doing playing it safe… to convince ourselves that we’re being sensible, that the risks are too high and our capacity to handle them too little.  We women most of all. 

Whatever it is that change or achieve in the year to come, it will require putting yourself ‘out there’ in some way. Out there … beyond the familiarity of where you are now. Out there... where you risk messing up or falling short. Out there … where you risk ruffling feathers or being let down. Out there … where people may judge you harshly or worse, reject you outright.

The question you have to ask yourself is, what are you putting at risk if you don’t?

Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it, the braver you become. So as you step back into the fast lane for 2017, here’s five ways you can practice being a little braver. After all, what you want most is riding on it.

1. Risk imperfect decisions

Some people live their lives on hold waiting for the perfect conditions to make the perfect decision. But waiting until you are 100% sure you can’t fail can be far riskier that simply making the best decision you can with what you know now.  The very act of making decision holds power. Wield it.

2. Risk awkward conversations

The tough conversations you least want to have are often the very ones you most need to have. People may not always like what you have to say, but they will generally respect that you’ve had the courage to say it.

3. Risk rejection

My first book Find Your Courage was rejected by over 30 publishers before I finally landed a publishing deal. I remember feeling increasingly dejected as each ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter arrived. Yet it taught me that what other people think of you or what you’re offering them doesn’t define you nor does it define the value you bring. It’s just their subjective opinion at one point in time (and often says more about them!) The truth is that the more you put yourself “out there” where you risk rejection, the faster you’ll create the opportunities and relationships you most want. So don’t over personalise rejection. Rather, use it to hone your offer, sharpen your pitch and then, risk more of it.  (I’m happy to say that Find Your Courage is now in seven languages!)

4. Risk standing out

It’s part of our psychological DNA to want to belong – we like to be liked and are hardwired to steer away from acting in ways that risk disapproval.  But while no one wants to be disliked, criticized or rejected, only when you risk all of those can you add the unique value you have to bring to the world.   So own what makes you unique, forge your own path, express your own opinion and make a stand for what's true for you. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "You can't lead from the crowd."  When all you do is conform, all you offer is conformity.

 5. Risk being ‘found out’

Imposter Syndrome is the domain of the high achiever so if you’ve ever suffered from it, you’re in good company (my own included). Countless talented women have shared with me over the years how they’re just waiting for someone to realise they’re not as smart, knowledgeable or (fill-in-the-blank) as people think. Yet having needed to send my inner critic back into its box (too) many times, I also know that the only way to ever realise just how worthy and deserving and ‘enough’ we truly are is not to let our fear of exposure keep us from risking it. As Helen Keller once wrote, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”

Imagine what would be possible for you in the year to come if you were willing to risk exposing yourself to what scares you. One thing I know for sure is this, while bravery may not guarantee success, it always precedes it.

Want to learn more from Margie? She's a Business Chicks Premium member and you can connect with her here. 

And as a little bonus, Margie  will be running her Live Brave Day on February 4th in Melbourne helping us all to chart a braver path in 2017.
 Enter BIZCHICKS for a $70 discount off all registration options. 

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