11 Ways to Build Courage to Create Your Dream Life

Did you know that only 15 percent of individuals worldwide actually love what they do for their career? Only 15 percent! (Jaw officially dropped!)

And since you spend about one-third of your life at work, I’m going to hope for your sake that if you don’t love what you do right now, you start making some massive changes.

And you know what the 15 percent that live a life full of purpose, passion and joy all have in common? COURAGE! They dared to leave (in some cases) a career that was stable and secure.

And the more you build up your courage and take those kinds of steps forward, the easier they will feel and the more confidence you will have.

11 Ways to Build Courage to Create Your Dream Life

There’s a great passage by Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., that says,

“Courage is not an extreme. It is neither blind fearlessness nor cowardice. If there is a truck rapidly approaching, it is not courage to fearlessly attempt to cross the road. But if there is no sign of a truck, it is self-defeating to be afraid even if there are no guarantees that a truck will not suddenly appear. Blind fearlessness will get you killed while cowardice will keep you from living. Either way, you won’t get across the proverbial streets of life. Courage involves looking both ways, making a reasonable—albeit never certain—judgment that you can proceed, and then doing so.”

And with that, let’s dive into 11 simple ways that you can build confidence to follow your dreams, ignite your passion and live a life you love.

  1. Get clear about what you really want

Sit back and think about what it is that you want. Take the time to reflect and be clear on what it is that you REALLY want in your life.

Unless you get clear about what you want—in your career, relationships, health and well-being, and life—you’ll have little chance of actually getting it. Dare to dream big!

  1. Identify your deepest fear

What is it that you are most afraid of? What is preventing you from doing what brings you so much joy? Overcome fear by acknowledging it, embracing it and then releasing it.

  1. Don’t discount and accept that everything is OK

Do you really want just to sit back and accept that everything is OK when, in reality, it is far from the truth? Do you want to live a life that’s taking you further from the life you would truly love to live?

Acknowledging that you are unhappy or stuck in your current situation is an act of courage in itself. It is an essential step to overcoming your fears and putting into action what you REALLY want.

  1. Break your goals into smaller steps

If what you want seems to be too large or it seems impossible to achieve, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps to get to your larger goal.

You have heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” You can’t expect your ideal life to be built in a day, but you can create smaller goals with actionable steps to help you work toward and reach your larger goal(s).

  1. Create accountability

Round up the help of a support team. Maybe that will involve hiring a life coach or a business coach, or consulting with colleagues or even a service such as the Small Business Development Center.

Use these resources to help keep you on track and on time.

  1. Walk with giants

If you have a bigger vision for your life, then you need to surround yourself with people who are big thinkers and who will encourage you to do the same.

Additionally, you will want to avoid people and activities that may distract you and discourage you from reaching your dreams.

Some options include network groups, business associations and communities of like-minded people.

  1. “Work out”

Courage is like a muscle—the more you lift heavy things, the stronger the muscle and the easier those things become to lift.

The more you work out your “courage muscle,” the more ease you will experience. Soon, those heavy things, like unexpected change that comes to you on a random Tuesday morning, will be easier to lift and manage.

Plus, this gets easier and easier with time. You have to “work out” your courage muscle every day.

  1. Embrace fear

When you fail or make a mistake, get yourself back up, brush off the dirt and keep moving forward.

Learn from your mistakes and what you can do differently. Creative people often do more experiments, so they have more chances to be successful.

  1. Say “no”

It takes a lot of courage to say the word, “No.”

While it may be uncomfortable to say no right away, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Each time you say “no” to something that doesn’t serve you, you will be protecting yourself from making poor decisions.

This can keep you focused and prevent you from being pulled in too many directions.

  1. Turn obstacles into assets

You have all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

Work with what you have and turn obstacles into opportunities. Don’t think of these as setbacks but rather as gifts that are part of the journey forward.

  1. Do what others don’t

Don’t be afraid to take risks or journey down the unconventional path to get to where you want to go. It takes courage to act differently than others. Be decisive and don’t dwell on things.

Building courage takes time and intentional effort

Practicing these steps (consistently) will help you shift from fear and comfort into a life beyond your wildest dreams. So if you’re stuck in the 85 percentile and you’re ready to break free, follow your gut, your intuition and do something about it.

Photo credit: wundervisuals, Getty Images