The courage habit - How to accept your fears, release the past, and live your courageous life
How much do I want to read more? 9/10
I didn't expect this book to be this good. It has a fine grained psychology approach to deal with our fears and go toward the life we really want.
It's like being coached. The author changed her career to be a life coach and help people making the switch to a new life.
In a long and deep life, we will have to find our courage.
How could I create a career I loved, share my gifts, and pay my bills?
it’s a matter of practice. Courage is a habit.
It’s a muscle we can strengthen for each small or big victory at a time.
brave it is to change old patterns, make bold, new choices, and do it all with love and panache.
Deep, meaningful transformation requires rationality and emotional intelligence; heart and grit.
I don’t want to do this, anymore.
“If you had a million dollars and all the time in the world, what would you do with your life?”
feeling is fear. I know things need to change, but I’m completely afraid of actually changing them.
I was afraid that I’d never figure out who I was or what I wanted.
I acknowledged that the fear existed and that it had controlled me without my realizing it.
Now with more awareness of the situation, I had another realization: I had a choice.
At first, I thought that simply “putting my mind to it” and deciding to face my fear would be enough.
But the months that followed brought near-constant stops and starts as the old patterns didn’t go away so easily.
I want to write. I want to spend a summer in Italy learning Italian. I want to work with people in some way that makes their lives better. I want to teach.
discontent and unhappiness are signals worth listening to. There’s an authentic part of all of us that refuses to be a liar and pretend that things are okay even when they really are not.
Not feeling great about your life? pay attention to why those feelings are showing up in the first place.
our desires are valid. What we want for our lives matters. to be a primary focus in our lives.
going after what we desire will always involve some sort of fear or self-doubt. There is no one who is perfectly “fearless.” This person doesn’t exist. Going after what you truly want will require coming back, owning and understanding your fears.
We’ve got to examine our fear responses, and work with and through those responses.
If we want to make bold, courageous life changes, we need to also understand how our habitual ways of being are either supporting or stopping us from change.
We respond to fear in habitual ways, and far more predictably than we might initially realize, which means that seeing the routines that we default to during times of stress, challenges, or change is crucial.
Understanding the role of fear in habitual routines, breaking them down, and creating different, courageous habits is how you change your life.
I became a life coach working one-on-one with clients who, like me, wanted to shift something about their lives.
changing those fear routines is the heart of where we get unstuck. This process of getting unstuck through authentic self-examination and releasing old habits.
“So what is it that you truly and deeply want to be different in your life?” Some people want to do something tangible and goal oriented, while others want to shift a way of being:
- More time, more money, more sex.
- Have more fun.
- To give perfectionism the boot.
- Make decisions with confidence, without doubting myself, or second-guessing myself.
- Just be myself; be happy with who I am; feel like I’m enough.
- Feel like I’m totally capable and can create what I want in my life.
- Less insecurity.
- To feel more confident and capable when making decisions.
- Writing that book.
- Improving my marriage.
- Stop comparing myself and feeling like other people are prettier, more successful, or thinner.
- Lose the weight.
- I want to accept myself so that I don’t feel like anything needs to be different.
- Better boundaries with people who criticize me. I want to stop caring what they think.
- I want to change jobs.
- Get focused and finish what I start.
To match who we are on the inside (our values, deepest desires, and creative expression) with how we live day-to-day is what creates personal happiness and fulfillment.
However, when asking those same people a follow-up question about what has stopped them from making that change, they can give me a thousand different reasons for why change hasn’t happened: there’s not enough time or money; they’re stuck because of how they were raised; it’s the fault of that shitty ex-husband, a health challenge, or a crappy boss. Most reasons are a cover for the same thing: being afraid. They might call it something different, like self-doubt, but really we’re talking about fear.
When we don’t follow up on our desires for change with action, an old, habituated fear routine has taken over without us realizing it or being aware of it.
It might not have seemed like you were “afraid” when you ditched your book-writing goals for Facebook. In the moment, you might have had plenty of logical justifications for why you told yourself you’d change, and didn’t.
Trying to navigate a new way of behaving is stressful, and stress is synonymous with fear. The brain is an intelligent organism that will seek the fastest, most efficient way to relief when confronted with stress.
When the brain is confronted with the challenge of trying to choose new behavior, the older and more familiar behaviors are the much less stressful option.
Try to take a new step such as moving in the direction of something you’ve long dreamed of doing, and your brain will flood you with anxiety because this is new and unfamiliar.
you can recognize what the impulses are and start “retraining” the brain by teaching it that there are other ways to respond instead of the fear-based impulses that you’re used to. Cultivating courageous behaviors as a regular part of your day and as a response to feelings of fear can stop fears from getting in the way of creating a bolder, more courageous life. When courage becomes a habit, it’s easier to take action in the direction of the changes you desire.
you can look at each piece of the pattern, get honest and real about how you typically respond to fear, and make conscious, deliberate choices to respond differently and courageously.
Breaking Down the Courage Habit
This book will follow the coaching model, asking you to clarify what you want and how fear has kept you from getting it, and then showing you how you can use the Courage Habit process to work with your fears differently, this time.
Working in real time with a coaching client, we typically meet for biweekly phone sessions for at least three months, with the client using the time between sessions for integrating and implementing the changes we talk about during our sessions.
In Chapter 1, we’ll talk about what it is that you want to create in your life, what goals you’ve shied away from, or what ways of being you’ve found it difficult to change. What big dreams have you been holding back? If your “most courageous self” was the one running the show, what would you be doing differently? We’ll get real about your truest, most authentic desires for your life.
In Chapter 2, things get exciting as you get some education on habit-formation—the keys to unlocking behavior change.
When you feel fear, you’ll learn how to create the four parts of the Courage Habit as your new “routine.”
in Chapters 3 to 6, Instead of fear being this feeling that stops you, or that you have to fight against, you can choose behaviors that will leave you more resilient and grounded. you’ll start to feel like you’re truly capable of creating the life that you want.
- Access the body.
- Listen without attachment.
- Reframe limiting Stories.
- Reach out and create community.
Fear isn’t logical; we feel it in our bodies before we can “reason with” the voices of doubt or inner criticism.
you’ll be able to recognize fear sensations in the body right when they start.
You’ll be slowing down and getting mindful to get smarter about how your fear is operating and what you can do to keep it from running you.
Listen without attachment:
Most of us want to avoid dealing with any fears.
When you learn to listen without attachment, you’ll be taking radically different action with that Inner Critic. Instead of trying to fight against or ignore the Critic, you’ll create a relationship with it that’s based in respectful communication.
Reframe limiting Stories:
Once you’ve slowed down enough to recognize the fear cues through accessing the body and you’re listening to fear without attachment, you’re ready to shift out of “I can’t” and into “I can.”
noticing those moments when a fear-based Story comes up and consciously deciding to reframe it as something that counteracts that fear.
For example, if the fear-based Story is It’ll take too long to make that dream come true, you could reframe it as Even if it takes a while to make this dream happen, I’ll go after it because my happiness is worth it.
What’s the number one factor that can reinforce a habit? Being among people who also practice the same habits.
find and make more connections with like-minded people.
From Fear to Courage
Typical self-help advice for “becoming more courageous” asks people to attempt to ignore their fears or doubts by reciting affirmations to “stay positive” or by ordering the Critic inside to shut up and go away. none of them work long-term.
this book starts with how you can be authentic, in charge of your own life, and trust yourself. You decide what your courageous life looks like and what your most courageous self wants to be, do, and experience. Then, you use the Courage Habit steps to create exactly that life. You get to see it come to fruition!
while the critical voices were condescending and often loud, that didn’t mean that she had to do what they said. From there, she “reframed” the limiting, fear-based Stories.
“Even if my ideas are judged, they are worth sharing. I can’t know for sure how anyone will react.”
The clients I’ve worked with all have different goals or want different things, but what they have in common is that they are tired of fear or self-doubt running their lives. They’re tired of waiting for the day when they’ll somehow “feel courageous enough” to make a change, and they want to start taking effective actions for following their dreams.
When you start to practice each of the four Courage Habit parts, your most courageous self begins calling the shots, not your fear. You don’t have to wait to start living with more courage. It’s something you can begin, today.
The Question Before You
going after what you most desire, facing fear along the way, and seeing your courageous life come to fruition is absolutely possible.
As you’re integrating what you learn, take care not to get caught in what I call the “self-help hamster wheel,” where you’re running and spinning furiously as you try to “improve.” Like most of my clients, I spent years “working on myself,” reading self-help books, and attending workshops, hoping that they would “fix” me. Fear was the identified problem, and I spent a long time hoping that if I could chant away, meditate away, logically reason away, or fight away my fears, I’d finally feel I was good enough. I now see that model as an old model, one that is particularly sold to women. That model prioritizes logic over emotion and intuition, and striving to achieve perfection to be considered “successful.”
Instead, the Courage Habit model is about learning to be with the things that are uncomfortable and living from a place of wholeness. It’s about embracing the fear and the courage, the doubt and the success, the expansion and the contraction, and fundamentally trusting in your own resilience, capacity, and goodness along the way. These are the heart-based conversations that I’m having with coaching clients, where we talk about life not as a series of goals to meet, but as a process to engage with.
Learning to engage with a process takes time, presence, adjustment, and refinement. I still regularly encounter fear as I go after the things I want in life, speak up about injustice, or face critics. I believe that if I didn’t continue to regularly practice the tools that are available to me through the Courage Habit, I would come to feel stuck all over again.
daily: like accessing my body to see what I was really feeling or reframing limiting Stories when they cropped up. honestly reinforce this work in your daily life.
The most courageous work you’ll ever do is being willing to look squarely at who you are, the life you are creating, and to change course if you aren’t happy. Is the life you’re living right now a life that you’ll look back on and be proud of? Are words like joy the first that you’ll use to describe how your life feels? I want these to be your new metrics for a happy, fulfilled life. You only get this one life. It matters that you live it well.
The question before you is: Will you choose to identify and shift any fear-based ways of living in favor of creating your courageous life?
We can learn to let go of what others think, and give ourselves permission to live how we want to live. We can decide that we’re sick of the status quo and step off the tracks we’ve been on, and develop the courage to trust in our capacity to figure out a better way to live.
We can prioritize being real and honest, and find other people in the world who hold those as their highest values as well. This requires looking honestly at your fears, and then deciding how you’ll practice courage. You’re capable of doing it. The question is this: What will you choose?