Bravery is the result of confidence developed from both repeated success and repeated failure.
Often the bravest people aren't the ones who have had all doors sail open and who have had their ideas welcomed with open arms all the time--they've actually had a mix of both.
Success can give professionals a sense of crucial validation. However, it is the failure that builds bravery.
Failure means you have to walk through the fire, and sometimes stay in it. It's either set one foot on the scorching coals or give up. After you walk, or sit, through the fire and come out the other end, you can't help but grow a spine of steel.
1. Start Small
One way to get braver is to push yourself out of your comfort zone in your daily life--in situations when it doesn't matter.
Ask that cashier how she's doing and what she had for lunch. Go up to a complete stranger and ask for sightseeing tips (even if you're a city native). Knock on a random neighbor's door and introduce yourself.
Small moves like these help you expand your sense of power, push through your fears of rejection, and allow you to abolish the perceived barriers that keep us all in the jail cells of our comfort zones.
Once you've taken small risks and built up your stamina, how about arranging a coffee date with a crush? Or walking up to that attractive person at the party/bar/networking event and introducing yourself?
The braver you start to behave, the more you will be open to taking bigger risks, even going after your own happiness no matter what.
2. Find a way to make it fun
If something isn't fun then you can be 100% sure that it's not working to its full potential.
If you take a second to give yourself permission to try some of your more out of the box ideas, it will often illuminate your situation in ways that nothing else can't.
For example, you might say, "today, I'm going to get my design inspiration from the local art museum/ice cream shop/petting zoo." Or you could say "today I'm going to show my product or idea to a child and get a young person's opinion.
Alternatively, if you're feeling very adventurous (and a little masochistic), pitch your idea or explain one of your goals to a teenager. On the other hand, determine which song or album best encapsulates your business, or idea, or latest goal? Is it Abbey Road? Dark Side of the Moon? The Black Album? 1989?
Try to connect your present endeavor to a song or album. Read about the band/artist and how they came up with it. What were they doing at the time? What inspired them to write it?
You'll be surprised to find that the artist(s) probably endured challenges similar to the ones you're facing or have faced.
Ultimately, you will be reawakening the original fun for your work that you may have lost.
3. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone
The ability to use the phone properly separates the doers from the dreamers in any field.
This is because so often when we pick up the phone, it is because we need to ask others for help.
Weak people try to do everything themselves. Strong people know that it takes a village to get something worthwhile done, and that shared success is even better than sole success.
Strong people also know that when they ask others for assistance they might be dismissed, diminished, or made to feel as though their work isn't important. However, they do not ruminate on such things and continue to progress forward by continuing to pick up the phone.
4. Your personality is your secret weapon
Cultivate and develop your personality every chance you get.
Sure, we all see funny people like Kevin Hart, Seth Meyers, and Ellen DeGeneres on the small screen and it's common to feel a pang of wistfulness about their ease of communicating.
When you feel like that, it's best to turn inwards.
Your personality also has something to offer. Maybe it's your warmth or your listening skills. Maybe it's the fact that you radiate a sense of practicality. Maybe you possess great empathy for others.
Resist the urge to crack one-liners (unless that's totally you) or to try to be something you think others want.
Your unique personality is valuable because when you embrace it, you are being authentic and people appreciate authenticity. They crave it. And you're more interesting than you realize.
At the end of the day, forcing yourself to be brave means you're acknowledging your own limitations and forcing yourself to expand beyond them.
Your future success and development depend on this.