by Dr. Charlotte MacFarlane

Success takes courage. Plain and simple.
There are many different kinds of courage. The most obvious is physical courage — where you jump into a busy street to push someone out of harm’s way. There is also moral courage — speaking up for someone else, like stepping in when someone is being treated unfairly or bullied. But courage does not have to be some big showy act.

There are much more subtle forms of courage. There is psychological courage — facing your own fears and insecurities in order to become more your authentic self. And everyday courage — keeping a positive attitude, showing up with a smile every day, even through the toughest of situations.

For each and every one of us, courage means something
different.

Maybe we can agree that most acts of courage have three things in common:
Personal Risk
Personal Fear
A Good Reason to Act

These three things must be present for an act to be ‘courageous’. So whether it is jumping in front of a moving car to save a life, or if it is revealing a part of who you really to be more in connection with your authentic self, these acts are all courageous.

Acts of courage can be big or they can be very small. Courage is really about the outcome, the positive effect that you can achieve. And that’s something most of us can get behind.

Courage is not easy.
Courage is a skill that can be learned, a muscle that needs to be strengthened.

All three of our requirements for courage are difficult. Risk is scary, there is a chance you could not succeed, a chance you could end up worse than how you started; and you have to decide if the risk is worth it to you.

Real risk leads to real Fear — the kind that makes your palms clammy and your heart race — because you are about to leap, and risk real, personal damage (mental, financial, physical, other?).

But the reason you are taking the leap is because you have A Good Reason to Act — a noble, authentic, life-enhancing goal (big or small, personal or global — it doesn’t matter, they’re all the same). These goals can be the hardest part, because — even if they are small goals — they can feel so big and insurmountable.

Achieving our goals will not be a smooth and easy ride. It will take real mental, emotional, and sometimes physical struggle. The good news is that each time we act courageously, whether it be a big step or a small step, we flex the muscle, and we get better and better at pushing through our fears.

Planning for Acts of Courage
Everyone on the planet has goals for their life, but some of us will succeed and others will not. The difference, in my mind, is preparation. Every goal will require an act of courage — a leap — in order to succeed. The question we must all ask ourselves is, What is the leap that I will need to take? What is the thing that scares me? In other words, What is it that has kept me from already achieving this goal?

We must understand our fears in order to surpass them. When we understand our fear, we can prepare to overcome it. We can study and learn more about overcoming this fear from others who have already overcome it. My own mentors (including the fabulous Dr. Louise) have been invaluable for my own growth, both personally and professionally.

FEAR IS THE REAL GROWTH PLAN. STRUGGLE IS THE TEACHER. COURAGE IS SIMPLY THE ACT OF SHOWING UP.
So, I encourage you to ask yourself, How can I show courage today? How can I plan to overcome my fears? What small act can I do today to start succeeding in my goals?

Dr. Charlotte MacFarlane is a holistic veterinarian, award-winning fiction author, and health and wellness blogger from Alberta, Canada. For more health and wellness articles and to join the healing team, check out Happy-ology.com. Her fiction can be found on Amazon or through your local bookseller.


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