Bravery is one of those character traits that seems to only come to mind when you’re watching a movie or TV show with intense battlefield scenes or daring rescue attempts.
But being brave is a part of everyday modern life.
Contemplating a career transition, making a relationship leap, starting a family, standing up for someone else in need, or expressing an idea that others may not receive well are all examples of actions that rely on significant amounts of bravery. Some are big and some are small, but all make you who you are and each contributes to your growth.
In situations like these, we often don’t realize “brave” describes what we’re doing and we don’t give ourselves credit when it’s due. For example, someone recently told me I was brave and it took me a minute to think about that and realize what they meant, that what I was doing was brave if you looked at it in the right light.
You have probably done many things that other people would consider brave — public speaking, helping a stranger, fixing something on your own — that you probably gave yourself no credit for.
But without recognizing the little moments of bravery in our everyday lives, we miss out on the opportunity to see ourselves as brave. When you realize you are actively being brave in one situation, it can help you to be brave in another situation that might feel even harder or scarier. But you know you’ll be able to do it, because you know you have already practiced bravery in many other ways.
Bravery doesn’t mean being brash or taking extreme risks without thinking; it is having and showing courageous character and behavior. It’s a quality that takes more effort to nurture and develop in some people than it does in others, but with that effort comes great results.
Here are some easy ways you can be braver today and in the days to come, in both your professional career and personal life.
Being brave has its benefits
There really is a brave part in all of us.
But sometimes, we have to draw it out little by little, encourage and support its development until it becomes a stronger part of you and your personality. As with any trait or quality you’re seeking to develop (overcoming shyness, becoming a better version of yourself), working to be braver is no different.
It is about practice — both practicing being brave, and practicing seeing yourself as someone brave. Because really, when you see yourself as someone brave, that’s just about all it takes to actually be brave in real life.
Being brave is pretty awesome and has great benefits, each of which can improve your life for the better, whether at home or in your career:
- You’ll be more confident and courageous when confronted with difficult or uncertain situations, and feel more comfortable doing what you think is right
- You won’t let fear take over and hold you back, no matter what shape it comes in: procrastination, worry/anxiety, or perfectionism.
- You’ll achieve goals and dreams that will take hard work and pushing boundaries
- Others may notice the change and be inspired to make similar adjustments in their life.
With a bit of effort, becoming a braver you is doable, believe in yourself!
How to be brave: 6 tips to a braver you!
The tips and ideas below will get you started on the path to learning how to be brave.
Take baby steps if you feel this is daunting, or turn it into a full blown 30 day challenge using your Ink+Volt Planner. No matter what approach you decide to take, commit to it and be patient with yourself as you work on becoming braver.
1. Don’t let fear of ____ hold you back.
Courage and bravery are hampered by fear. It holds you back. But don’t let fear have so much power over your life. (We know, this is easier said than done.)
First, look at yourself, your patterns of behavior, and try to notice the times that fear is holding you back and why fear comes up in those situations – is there a common theme? Ask yourself:
- What is causing the fear? For example, is it the unknown, an intimidating person at work, the possibility that you might fail or lose out on an opportunity, or that you’ll stick out more and not fit in with the majority or norm?
- When does this happen, in what situations? Is it just with certain people or is it only at work? Look for a pattern.
- How are you reacting and responding to the fear? For example, do you procrastinate and put off doing the work? Do you try to please everyone around you without considering the consequences for yourself?
Fear is a normal part of life. Just because you feel afraid doesn’t mean you can’t be brave. Bravery, by definition, is simply facing your fears.
So by identifying your fears and the what, how, when, and where of them all, you will learn to recognize the times that you feel afraid — which will enable you to do something about it.
By recognizing the fear, you can tackle it so it doesn’t hold you back; you are removing one of the barriers to being braver and more courageous in your actions and thoughts.
2. Be brave in everyday situations, not just the big ones.
Make courage a habit every day. It is possible to do in small ways. For example, let’s say you recognized that you feared putting yourself and an idea out there at work, and it was holding you back. If you took steps to overcome that fear and share your idea anyways, that’s a big accomplishment.
Another example is standing up for someone else’s idea at work; maybe it wasn’t received well or presented clearly, but you liked it and saw potential. By expressing your agreement and/or rewording the idea in a way that helps get others on board, you’re being brave.These are little things you can do in a day that are brave and worth recognizing.
3. Practice self-confidence and trust yourself.
Are you failing to be brave in a situation because you don’t trust yourself or your ability to be taken seriously? Remind yourself where you are, where you’ve been, and how you got there. In a work setting, don’t forget that you have things to offer, that’s why you’re there.
Sometimes you might need a pep talk; talk yourself up to yourself or ask a close friend or loved one to talk you through what’s going on and ask for their support. It’s easy to talk ourselves into thinking and believing we don’t have the experience or know what we’re doing, but getting another’s perspective can go a long way to helping you overcome a fear so you can act with bravery and courage.
4. Say no or be the unpopular voice in a room.
Don’t forget that being brave can mean:
- Taking an unpopular stance
- Saying no to something everyone else is saying yes to
- Recognizing when you are wrong about something and need to apologize
If you truly believe something is possible or the right approach, speak up and share your opinion. This is an example of being brave that can inspire others too. There have been so many times in my life where once one person has spoken up, everyone else in the room suddenly reveals that they were feeling the same way too. You can help steer the course of a conversation or a project in the right direction just by sharing your opinion.
And if you make a mistake, owning it and admitting where you went wrong is equally brave and courageous; it will be appreciated by those around you too.
5. Care for yourself.
To be a braver you and encourage courageousness each day, take time to take care of yourself and do things that will make you feel stronger, more confident, and courageous.
If a kickboxing class makes you feel on top of the world, that will carry into other areas of your life and make you feel stronger and more capable to take on situations where you want to be brave. If you feel meek and quiet when you’re not well rested, try adjusting your bedtime routine so that you’re asleep by an hour that works for you every night.
6. Ask questions.
When you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. This is a true act of bravery that so many people are terrified to do.
Concern about looking stupid shouldn’t take the lead when it comes to things that are very important or critical to understand. Have you tried to figure it out on your own, but it’s still not making sense and is unclear? Ask the question, even if it feels dumb.
Think about the alternative. You don’t ask for help, and you end up doing your assignment all wrong. Does that feel better? No — it is far better for your image and reputation to simply ask when you don’t know something (assuming it’s not something you could easily look up and figure out yourself) and then do your work well.
Putting yourself out there and exposing to others what you don’t know can be uncomfortable, but in the long run it’ll be worth it.
No matter what point you’re at in your career, being a little bit braver each and every day will get easier over time and help you in the long run. You’ll be more flexible and adaptable to change too because you’ve learned how to tackle fears and not let them take over.
Be excited and proud of the little and big brave steps you take each day, they’re worth celebrating!