by Lori Milner, author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
I recently listened to the Tim Ferris Show podcast with his guest Caroline Paul, who is a fire fighter talking about Micro Bravery. I absolutely love this concept!
We often set ourselves huge challenges and then feel so overwhelmed by them that we don’t know where to start and maybe put them off altogether. The term Micro Bravery refers to the idea of teaching ourselves to be brave by taking small steps of action. Due to the fact that bravery can be learnt, to get good at it, we need to practice.
I have spoken previously about having a Positive Emotional Memory Database where you need to have a mental playlist of your most validating moments. So, if you think back to one of those amazing moments, courage superseded confidence. It was that first action that inspired you to take the next step. And then the next one...and so it goes.
It is about creating a memory that you can access the next time you felt a sense of panic. I could say to myself, “I’ve done this before, so why not do it again?” That’s how it works. In each challenging situation, we nudge ourselves: we encourage ourselves to feel a little more courageous, to act a bit more boldly — to step outside the walls of our own fear, anxiety, and powerlessness. To be a bit more present. And incrementally, over time, we end up where we want to be... hence micro bravery.
These ideas can support you on how you can implement micro bravery in your own life:
1. Get to know your fear
Understand what it is that you are fearful about. As Seth Godin says, ‘Dance with it and use it as a compass’. Embrace it and get used to having it there. Don’t view it as an enemy, don’t run from it. Get comfortable with the fact that there are things you are afraid of, and be OK with that. Consistently move forward with these things.
2. Chunk it down
Being brave is much more manageable in small pieces. If there is something overwhelming you that you are scared about, try breaking it down into small steps. If you fear giving presentations to large audiences, try practicing it in the mirror, then present it to your cat or partner, then try it out in a small group, then build up slowly to a larger audience. This can be much easier than tackling it one huge step.
3. Accept perfection does not exist
If you constantly strive for perfection, it can result in you being more afraid of failure. This is due to the fact that you may not achieve the perfect outcome you have built up for yourself in your mind. If you drop the notion of perfection and instead aim for the best you can be, failure can stop existing for you and as a result lessens your fears.
4. Transfer your bravery
If you learn how to be brave in certain situations and you practice that, this should help you out in other areas of your life, because it is a transferable skill. Once you get more familiar with being brave and practicing micro bravery in general, this can be applied across any area.
5. Work out your bravery muscle
Finally, being brave takes practice. You can think of it like a muscle that you need to work out. Like lifting weights at the gym, it’s not something that just happens overnight, it is something that needs to be built up over time and continually practiced getting better at it.
If you are brave in the small moments, they will all add up, so that you can be brave when it really counts.
Here’s to owning your bravery.
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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