Cultivating Courage: 10 Tips

Cultivate Courage

 

I recently did a lot of personal exploration around my personal strengths. I have always wanted my work to exude courage and inspiration to others. My core belief is that good self care and nutrition leads to confidence and courage. 

Today what I would simply like to offer you are what I call small steps that cultivate courage. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section on what small steps of courage you regularly take or want to take.

Do you see yourself as courageous? Do you get caught in the cycle of perfection? Does your perfectionism keep you locked in a limiting habits that aren’t letting you fully live? Where would you place yourself on the courage continuum?

Conversely, if you actually thought about it, where would you say courage shows up your daily operations? I know you got all kinds of creative courage coming out of you every day, or at least up your sleeves and on the horizon.

With love,

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10 Ways to Cultivate Courage

1. Daily Meditation. Slow down, my friend. Add in 5 to 10 minutes (or more!) of meditation every day. Take a little time to calm your mind and breath and see your thoughts. Learn to sit still, learn to sit with uncomfortable thoughts, learn the art of not-doing. Mindfulness exacts right action.

2. Stop drinking, smoking, fast food, caffeine, or sugar, or whatever your non-nutritional crutch is. Start with just one item on your list. Experience your everyday life without your habit. This is not a judgy, holier-than-thou recommendation, but really a down-to-earth nudge to let go of a vice and find out what is behind it. Lighten your load and head to your preferred lifestyle destination.

3. Move your body. Everyday. Get out of your same routine and give your body a new experience. If you aren’t exercising regularly, then simple start exercising. If you are active already, try something new, like yin yoga or ballroom dance. Learn to swim. Lift weights. Try qigong. Too much of one routine or no routine will stagnate your mind-body connection.

4. Make a new friend. Gain a fresh perspective and build your community. Be strong in heart and reach out to someone who inspires you or exudes characteristics that you wish to cultivate.

5. Open your heart. Reach out to someone that has hurt or challenged you. Reestablish a new connection or recreate the relationship. Give that person a chance to change and evolve with you. Stop seeing yourself as small and unable to handle the complexities of relations. Simplify the relationship by giving what you can give and no more. Reconciliation lifts everyone up.

6. End or limit toxic and codependent relationships. Stop being in relationships that make you feel bad, small, or stuck. Take a break or create distance. Build relationships that bring you up. Regain your sense of wellbeing and confidence and readdress that relationship when you can do so from a place of love and well-being.

7. Professionally develop yourself. Learn a new skill. Pursue your passions and dreams. Educate yourself.

8. Be honest. Always. Stop doing and saying what you think other people want to hear. Develop inn fortitude and speak your truth more frequently.

9. Stop doing things you hate. Make your happiness a priority. Stop assuming that there is no other way. You are not meant to live in misery, but in light, joy, and health. Pursue and prioritize activities that make you feel strong and well.

10. Learn to see the root cause of your actions. Look at every decision you make and assess, is this coming from a place of love or fear. Learn to limit fear based decision making.

The Art of Stopping

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I admit it, I used to be addicted to productivity. Six months or so ago, I quit my secure and (mostly) enjoyable job in grant management. I always felt good about playing a big game in the educational arena. I was responsible for big decisions, big dollars, and a big hearted staff. I got a lot done, and a lot got done around me.

Regardless of my pride around this work, I decided that I had an even bigger calling around holistic health and inspired living. I can’t say that leaving my job was entirely rational, however my mind, heart, and body all said it was time to take the big leap and create a soul centered health coaching business.

Would you be surprised if I told you I panicked when I left my job? Don’t get me wrong, I had many parts of my business going that were already successful. On paper, it seemed natural that my business would grow and flourish, especially now that I was free to fully pursue it.

I worked really “hard” over the next few months. And I didn’t get much done. Truth was, I really had no clue how to put it all together. My business went from a fun extra source of revenue and inspiration, to feeding my family and paying my mortgage. More than overwhelmed, I often felt paralyzed by fear and anxiety. I did my best to put a big smile on my face and do the famous “fake it ’til you make it” dance.

Then in the dead of winter, something happened. I simply could not put the same effort forward. Every blog post I had hoped to write, remained unwritten. Every marketing effort I thought I should make for my next program remained unrealized. I simply did not have the wherewithal any longer to keep pushing myself forward.

Then it happened, I got really unproductive. Gasp. I didn’t get much of anything done. If you asked me how I spent my time, I couldn’t really tell you. For the first time, maybe ever, I just slowed down. Whatever commitments I had already, clients and classes, I did just those. I began to shift and simply savor what was on my calendar. I stopped putting so much effort into trying to move forward. I stopped trying to prove to myself that I was capable.

I cried frequently. I let go. I mulched. I grew new eyes for myself. I got inspired.

I’m so glad I stopped being productive for a season. I didn’t know how much I needed a break from the cult of “getting shit done.” I took a break from being a boss, from being in charge. I stopped being that woman who does it all. I took a much needed rest. I became so much more gentle with myself.

Prior to my break, I saw myself with the eyes of no matter how good I did, it wasn’t enough.  This is a habit that I vow to NOT take into my new work or my new being. I now consciously honor every effort I make. I also look for my effort to be matched- from the universe, from others. This is a new habit for me. And yes, it is vulnerable. Cracking the whip, on myself or others, is no longer attractive. Collaboration is my new desired currency.

Now I’m back to the land of productivity. Yes, I still enjoy tackling challenging projects and stretching myself to create and build. But something has changed inside me. Clarity, confidence, and positivity have taken residence in my mindset. I’m so much less afraid. And I am so much better at receiving help and feedback.

My a-ha, simply put: productivity is not the end-all-be-all. It is so much sweeter when balanced by good long stretches to the surrender of doing less. It is also sweeter when it is shared.

So, yes, I’m back with new resolve, which is to simple “be here with you,” sharing ideas, insights, and inspirations about foods, habits, and tools that lift our health and mindset. If you don’t hear from me from time to time, it probably means I’m doing less or simply tending to another part of my life. There is an art to knowing when to simply stop. There is also an art in receiving help and sharing the journey with others.

I’d love to hear from you. When was the last time you slowed down? What happened? Did you lose out? What did you gain?

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