Today let’s take a look at the connection between courage and self-confidence. There’s an important reason why we’re exploring this idea so early on in the challenge. Take a moment to think back on a time when you were scared to do something but you gathered up your courage and did it anyway.
Maybe it was walking away from a bad situation. Maybe it was working through a problem that seemed impossible at first glance. Maybe it was overcoming a fear of yours, facing it, and coming through okay at the other side. Maybe it was overcoming a big physical or mental challenge like running your first 10K race or acing a big exam. It doesn’t matter what it was, as long as you think of something that took courage to do.
Think about how you felt after you did whatever that courageous thing or act was. It felt pretty amazing, didn’t it?
Maybe you were a bit exhausted from the effort, or relieved that you did make it through to the other side. Mostly though, that adrenaline started pumping through your system and you felt incredibly proud of what you’d accomplished. That in turn made you feel elated and good about yourself and your own ability to do other courageous things.
In other words, you gave yourself a big boost of self-confidence. That right there, is one of the connections between self-confidence and courage.
We can boost our confidence and feeling of self-worth by getting into the habit of doing courageous things. Establishing that habit is something we’ll work on throughout the challenge. Your courageous things don't even have to be big things. I think that's something that hold a lot of people back, including me... we think that we're not being courageous or moving out of our comfort zone if it's not some huge undertaking that's going to shake the very foundations of the world. But you know what, doing something small that takes huge courage on your part is just as earth-shattering as the big gestures.
Here's a couple examples of what I mean, just to get you thinking:
Try something new every day
My big breakthrough came when my son bought me golf lessons for Mother's Day one year. I had no choice but to go out and look like a fool in a group setting. It was terrifying the first few times, but by about the end of the second week I was glad he had forced the issue.
You don't need to try anything that drastic to start with though.If you can do something small, but new to you, every day you will soon find your boundaries expanding to encompass all your new adventures.
So what can you do? Go for a walk in a different direction each day, take a new way to or from work, try a new food, check out a shop you've never been in before, or even just smile at someone on the street. All these examples are baby steps in your journey outside your comfort zone, and they all add up over time.
Meet New People
This goes along with trying new things, because as you do you will be meeting new people. For me this was a big issue, even without considering my background of abuse. I've always been a very shy person and had trouble talking to others. Trust didn't (and still doesn't) come easily so having to be around people I don't know is still a stretch for me. That's one reason that for me, the golf lessons were a great idea. I was forced to meet new people, and have actual conversations that didn't include a keyboard.
The second connection between courage and confidence
Once you’ve gotten that boost of self-confidence, you start to feel more courageous and are ready to tackle the next hard thing on your list.
In other words, self-confidence and courage work in a self-perpetuating circle. Do something courageous and your self-confidence increases. As your confidence goes up, it will be easier to do something courageous. And on and on it spirals. This is an important concept to grasp and it’s something that you can use to your advantage.
What it means is that by simply getting in the habit of doing something that scares you or that seems hard at first glance and having the courage to give it a try anyway, you can put this self-propelling spiral of increased self-confidence into motion. From there on out, every little thing you do that’s either courageous or increases your confidence in yourself, will make it easier to keep going and keep improving on both counts. The only hard part is getting started, and frankly, that isn’t all that hard or scary, is it?