Why aren't more people successful? I think it's because they fall prey to the three deadly fears: 1) fear of the unknown, 2) fear of rejection, and 3) fear of failure.
However, I haven't yet explained how to develop courage in yourself. For me, courage came in increments, small acts of courage that I practiced every day.
Over time, those small acts created the momentum I needed to start my own business, pursue my dream job and create the life I felt I deserved.
With that in mind, here are three small steps you can every day to develop and strengthen your courage.
1. Feel the fear but take action anyway.
Courage is not the absence of fear. The absence of fear in a dangerous situation is just denial, which encourages you to act without considering realistic outcomes or consequences.
Courage requires a willingness to experience the fear, learn what it has to teach you, make your best plan based on your best understanding, and then take action... in spite of that fear.
For example, a fool in denial will cling to a business strategy that's not working because the idea of failure is too scary to contemplate.
By contrast, a person of courage heeds the warning signs that failure is imminent and takes the risk of pivoting before all is truly lost.
So, starting today, take at least ONE action that you've been scared to take. Make a tough phone call. Write that email you've been putting off.
2. Persevere in the face of adversity.
Courage is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets. And, like a muscle, the best way to exercise it is by fighting against resistance.
Being alive means constant problems; running a business means constant challenges. Each time you solve a problem or overcome a challenge, you emerge stronger and more courageous.
Investors often look for entrepreneurs who've dreamed big and failed big. Because they've fought against the odds, they've got the courage to fight again.
Every time you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and throw yourself back into the game, you're create an inner reservoir of courage.
So, starting today, resist the urge to give up too soon on just ONE project. Don't get distracted. Power through your discomfort. Get it done.
3. Stand up for what's right.
Cowards are not born. Cowards transform themselves into cowards by tolerating petty acts of bullying, both of themselves and others.
Cowards destroy companies. I once watched a billion-dollar company go bankrupt because everyone was scared of the CEO's sharp tongue.
People of courage tell the truth to those in power. They set boundaries of what they will and will not tolerate... and hold firm when those boundaries are pressed.
The more you stand up for yourself, and other who need your support and help, the easier it gets and the stronger you become.
So, starting today, decide that you will no longer tolerate something that you know isn't right. It might be something you're doing to yourself or it might be something that somebody else is doing to you. Declare publicly that you're done with that and then make it stick.