Are there things in your life that you’ve not yet achieved? Are there goals you want to set, places you want to visit, and personality traits you want to be? Here’s the thing… success doesn’t hit you like a bolt of lightning and it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, success is a process that results from consistent action towards the things you want.
If you want to be successful, then you have to build momentum and leverage it -- and that’s not easy!
Why? Because the things you want exist outside your comfort zone. This means you must be be willing to take risks. You have to be prepared to thrive in discomfort and you need to get comfortable taking on things where the outcome is either unclear or uncertain.
But if you can do these things, you’ll be able to confront your fears -- and beat them. If you can cultivate the courage to take action regardless, you’ll keep building the confidence that helps you win. It’s how you can be your best, achieve your goals, and create the life you really want.
This is how fear gets in our way
It’s one thing to think about taking action. It’s quite another to actually do it! But there’s no getting away from the truth...
Whether you want to write a book, run a marathon, start a business, get promoted, buy your dream house, fulfill your bucket list, find a soulmate relationship -- or any one of an endless list of goals, you have to take action.
It’s a non-negotiable.
Sure, visualization will get you started by creating a clear vision of what you want in your head -- so you know where you’re headed. But you can’t make your goals physically tangible until you act.
And that’s going to put you head to head with your fears.
Whether fear gets you stuck or inspires you forward is a matter of mindset.
It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself when your fears get in the way, but remember your fears do serve a valuable purpose.
Fear is a red flag that warns you of potential danger. It’s a survival instinct that links to the archaic brain, which responded to help us cope with life-threatening situations.
That’s what the gnawing feeling in your gut and anxiety in your chest is all about. It’s a reminder that you’re facing the unknown. That you’re stretched beyond what you know and what you think you can handle. In this way, fear puts the brakes on your actions and gives you a breather -- so you can better assess your next steps.
In other words, fear helps you better analyze the situation and scenario you’re facing so you can make the right choice going forward.
In short, fear in and of itself is not a bad thing -- because it helps to keep you safe.
What matters is how you handle fear when it shows up. The worlds most successful people know how to differentiate between ‘real’ danger and ‘perceived’ danger.
Real danger is a threat to life. It’s what our fear response is designed to do -- help us escape from sabre tooth tigers and survive in a harsh environment.
Nowadays, we’re unlikely to get chased by an angry bear! Instead, it’s perceived fears that stop us. For example, we talk ourselves out of taking action because we’re worried about:
In other words, most of the time the fear that holds us back is rooted in an internal dialogue in our heads. And this dialogue works to keep us small and stuck in what we know.
And even if we know this intellectually, it’s still a challenge to break out -- but not impossible.
Did you know there are TWO ways to push through your fears -- so you can take action regardless?
1. Take a giant leap
I’ve always wanted to do a parachute jump. It’s something I thought would be pretty cool so when an opportunity came up to do one for charity, I jumped at it (excuse the pun!)
I don’t especially like flying, so when the big day came I did get a little bit freaked out at the prospect of jumping 12,000 ft out of an aeroplane. I was going tandem, so I didn’t have to worry about remembering to pull a cord or anything, but I was terrified that the parachute wouldn't open.
But I was committed and felt strangely calm when I was asked to move to the side of the plane ready for the freefall.
Then the next second, I was out in the air, plummeting to the ground at terminal velocity and having the time of my life.
When it comes to your fears, sometimes you have no choice but to take massive action.
For example, there is no halfway house with a parachute jump. You can’t step out of the plane and then jump back in again. It’s all or nothing. You’re either all in or you’re not doing it at all. And sometimes that’s exactly what’s called for.
And the payback for your bravery is HUGE!
When I landed safely back on the ground after that jump I was absolutely ecstatic. I felt unstoppable and I felt like a hero [especially when my 4-year-old daughter put a medal around my neck!] My fears were blown apart and in that moment I knew I could do anything.
But you don’t need to rely on giant leaps alone to expand your comfort zone.
There’s another way to face your fears and grow exponentially that doesn’t feel half as terrifying. It’s called baby steps.
2. Take baby steps
You may not be able to climb Everest tomorrow, but you could walk a mile. A keynote speech in front of 2,000 people may be more than intimidating, but you could start with a Facebook live. Writing an entire book may feel impossible, but you could start by publishing a post on social media.
For all your BHAGs, there are baby steps you could take today that would nudge you a little bit closer.
Find the courage to take a baby step every single day, and after a week, a month, 6 months, a year -- how much closer will you be to your goal?
That’s the power of chunking down your big plans into tiptoes and then taking consistent daily action.
You cultivate a habit of implementation and you start to see yourself as an action-taker who’s prepared to step up and do what it takes to succeed. Every time you move forward, your confidence grows that little bit more as your comfort zone expands. And as your confidence and comfort zone expands, you feel ready to take on more. You’ll WANT to do more!
You’ll also train your mind that discomfort doesn’t have to be scary. As you relish in the resulting personal growth, you’ll start to feel safer taking risks.
Commit to this baby step strategy and completely overhaul what you think you’re capable of.
Beware! It’s a strategy that’s going to make you think bigger and motivate you to take on bigger things!
Life happens outside your comfort zone.
Every time you say YES to the uncomfortable, you grow.
Every time you put courage over comfort, you make it easier to face your fears so you can be your best.
Every time you take action in spite of your fears, you are being your best.
So how can you cultivate your courage muscle - so you can feel more comfortable around fear and take action to be your best self? The simple answer is to create a diet of uncomfortable actions.
In other words, make it a habit to put courage over comfort EVERYDAY.
These uncomfortable actions don’t have to be related to your specific goal - in fact, the more unrelated, the better. That’s because unrelated challenges get you familiar with the feeling of being uncomfortable. They force you to engage in things where you don’t know the outcome, which empowers you to be more open, pliable, and adaptable in the face of change and uncertainty.
Introducing Courage over Comfort
A Momentum Challenge
Sign up for the challenge, and each day we’ll invite you to try something new - so you can stretch your comfort zone, thrive in discomfort, and be your best self.
This challenge is a fun, yet powerful way to prioritize your own personal growth and it costs just $29 to take part. You won’t do this challenge alone. Instead, you’ll join a group of other high-achievers who all have the same goals as you. Don’t underestimate the value of public accountability in getting you to step up!
The next Courage over Comfort challenge starts on the 1st of the month and you can sign up here.
You can do so much more than you currently think possible. None of those high achieving people you admire are any better than you. Instead, they’ve simply cultivated their courage muscle -- so they’re able to step up and take the necessary actions to achieve their goals.
You can do the same when you prioritize courage over your comfort.