7 Ways To Be Brave

Uncategorized Oct 04, 2021


I’ve been coaching for almost fifteen years now, and the longer I do this work, the more I learn some profound yet simple truths. And one of those truths, which comes up again and again again, is this:

Fear is behind almost everything that’s stopping us.

It shows up in a million forms: anxiety, self-doubt, limiting beliefs, even anger and depression. At the root of all of it is good old fear.

That’s why so many mindset tools are designed to help us overcome fear. And that’s why today, I want to talk about a powerful topic that can help anyone at any stage of life, whether you’re building up a new career, feeling stuck in business, or struggling to help your kids through a tough time. 

It’s about being brave. 

In The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver, the psychologist Robert Biswas-Diener writes that bravery is the result of two things: 

  • Your willingness to act
  • Your willingness to control fear

Why is that? Basically, we have two motivational systems. One is the behavioral inhibition system - the hippocampus, lower brain, and brain stem. This part keeps us alert, signals danger, and triggers fight, flight, or fright. (There’s that fear again.)

Then there’s the second motivational system - the behavioral activations system. That’s the one that makes us go for our goals, take action, and take risks.

The division of the two is what gives us the courage quotient.

If your willingness to act is a 10, then your fear is a 5, then your courage quotient would be 2.

If your willingness to act is about 8, and your fear is a 10, then your courage quotient is 8/10, or .08.

I like the simplicity of that system, and I like being able to assess. (Sometimes assigning a number to something like fear and motivation can seem over-simplistic - but try it! It actually works way better than you might expect.)

The goal, of course, is to get it to a 10, so you can see what we need to do - bump up our willingness to act, while shrinking our fear.

Let’s look at seven creative ways we can do that right now.

    1. Create a role for yourself. Find a label you’d like to step into. (I know, usually “label” is a bad word, but not this time.) Maybe you’re the Brave Leader, the King or the Queen, the Warrior, the Fighter, the Superhero - whatever sounds fun and powerful. Taking on that title, even if it feels a little weird at first, helps you step into that role. What would that person do? How would they act in the face of fear?
    2. Remember that bravery is a muscle. Do something everyday to strengthen it. Get outside your comfort zone in small ways, and that will widen your comfort zone - and help build up your bravery.
    3. Fall in love with courage, not control. We’re often fearful and trying to control our lives, and we become control freaks who are afraid to take chances. But if you fall in love with the idea of being courageous instead of trying to control, you’ll find yourself taking braver actions, and feeling braver overall. This one also helps us embrace failure, which is a powerful reframe - instead of dwelling on the negative side of “failure,” we can benefit from its positive side - what we learned from it, and how it’s made us stronger.
    4. Find your why. If you’re motivated by a deeper force, that will help you in times of stress or fear, and you’ll be more likely to step into your brave self.
    5. Deflate fear. Often when we think of fear, a picture or an image comes up. Use that. Maybe it’s a big blob, or a black cloud, or a scary person. Change it. Change its size, shape, and color. So if your fear looks like a giant, literally deflate it - watch it shrink. Make it smaller, maybe a mouse (unless you’re afraid of mice). Change it into a kitten or a puppy. If it’s a dark cloud, change it into a flower or a ray of sun. 
    6. Play to win, not to not lose. Notice the difference? Go big! Go all in! Sometimes we think we’re playing to win, when really we’re just playing to not lose. It may seem like splitting hairs, but notice how that subtlety changes things. For more on this, check out my blog here.
    7. Moticise! It’s hard to be proactive when you’re tired. Feeling good, exercise, and mindset tools all tap into your motivation center - and that's exactly what Moticise does! If you want to give it a try, check out my Mindset Reset bundle here. You’ll be surprised how much you start to like exercising :-) 

I invite you now to find your Courage Quotient in one area of your life.

So first, what’s something you’re working on, or something that you’re struggling with? Maybe part of your business, maybe a relationship - something that’s keeping you up at night or bringing you down.

Now, on a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to act in that area?

On that same scale, how willing are you to control your fear?

Divide the first one by the second, and voila. Your courage quotient.

Now, if that’s a 10, great job! Go out and act. You’ve got this.

If it’s less than a 10, then go ahead and pick one (or several) of the 7 ways to be braver. Any one that speaks to you right now is the right one. Give yourself the gift of doing that one right now - and notice how you feel. Maybe calculate your Courage Quotient again to see if it’s changed.

Then go out, be your brave self, and shine.


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