Words of Encouragement: Getting the Courage to Overcome our Fears

Words of encouragment can provide that added boost just when we need it. I spent some time contemplating the subject of courage, and how people often approach the subject.

Those of you from Western countries may know the phrase, "Ready, Aim, Fire!" If not, it should be easy to understand when you think about it. What I've noticed is that many of us are good at the first two steps: "Ready and Aim." Unfortunately, many of us let fear stop us from actually firing. We get stuck in the "Ready, Aim, Ready, Aim, Ready, Aim..." cycle. We think. We plan. We organize. We numb out and forget. We talk. We do some more planning. We think some more. We prioritize. We may even fiddle with the firing button a little (I'm imagining a space rocket being fired). But then we feel the fear. "I'm not ready yet," we often say. "Better Aim some more." So we Aim, but then we feel...fear. So we think we must not be ready. Lots of "Ready, Aim" but no "Fire!".

For example, we know our work isn't satisfying (for whatever reason), but we don't stop and take steps to do something else no matter how many words of encouragement we get from our co-workers. We put up with our job. Or perhaps we know our relationships aren't working, but we don't tell the truth and begin the transformation process. We put up with our relationships. Or maybe our creativity is blocked, but we don't turn off the TV and just begin to create something from right where we are. We put up with not expressing ourselves. Or we know our health and fitness is lacking, but we don't stop eating junk food and start making better choices. We put up with being unhealthy and out of shape.

Perhaps we do some "Ready, Aim" around finding meaningful work, creating vibrant relationships, expressing our creativity, or improving our health. But have you noticed that "Ready, Aim" doesn't do much...at least without the "Fire" of action!

If you're not stuck in any of these areas right now, congratulations! You might not even need to keep reading. However, if you lack motivation, are stalled--and ALL of us have been MANY times before--here's a wonderful tool: Switch the order of the steps.

"What?" you ask.

Yes, switch the steps to: "Fire, Aim, Ready." If you know at least one small step that you can do right now...do it! Don't think about it! When you FIRE FIRST, you notice that you're moving. Now that you're moving, you figure you better take AIM. What about the "Ready" part? Who cares?! If absence of fear means you're "Ready", you'll rarely be ready. You'll often feel fear when it's time to take action. Feel the fear, honoring the messages that are being sent your way, and take action. Fire! The more you do, the more you are in alignment with your Authentic Self.

The Encarta World English Dictionary defines courage as "the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action". Courage is not about fearlessness. Courage is about starting with "Fire", doing the "Aim" step as you are in motion, and knowing that you may never be "Ready" to leave your comfort zone. So why not just push the "Fire" button today?

I enCourage you to take immediate, tangible steps to get a job you can love. (Yes, it IS possible.)

Regarding your relationships, if you listen most of the time, I enCourage you to start telling the truth about who you are, what you feel, and what you need. If you talk most of the time, I enCourage you to ask respectful questions and listen to those with whom you're relating. That way you can begin to understand who they are, what they feel, and what they need. Then you can more easily discern if you're compatible. Or not.

I enCourage you to turn off the tube, or put aside whatever else distracts you, and start expressing your creativity now. I'm not just talking about art, music, or dance. You can express yourself through gardening, latchhook, yodelling or a million other activities that get your energy moving. Pick something you've always wanted to do and start. Let go of having to be good. Enjoy the delicious experience of being a beginner and not having a clue what you're doing. Just start getting your creativity moving and leave your judgment in the closet (don't worry, it will still be there when you need it).

I enCourage you to eat some food that actually has life in it. Most food is dead and doesn't have much life. It's taken me twenty-five years to begin to like fresh vegetables, but I'm getting there! Take a walk. Go for a swim. Take a hike. Do some gentle Yoga. If you have a disability, do what you can. Begin. Start moving your energy. Then continue. "Fire, Aim, Ready." You don't have to belong to a Gym or own one of those infomercial exercise machines (but if you do, dust it off and get moving...gently at first). Drink some pure water. Get a great night's sleep. Release a deadly habit. Eat more fiber. Take those nutritional supplements sitting over on the counter.

If you put off this first "Fire" step until tomorrow, tomorrow will soon be today and you'll have trained yourself to wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow can never come with that kind of thinking since tomorrow is always tomorrow. "Why procrastinate now, when you can do it later?" Now is where doing work that matches your life purpose lives. Now is where honest communicating and vibrant relating live. Now is where creativity and self-expression live. Now is where health and wellness live. Right here. Right now. That's all there ever is.

OK...I've got to stop writing now. Too much sitting on my butt in front of this computer. Time to "Fire" and go swimming with a couple of eight year old friends who will be intent on drowing me (well, almost anyway). Why not join me and take some kind of positive action right now? Even a one minute investment in yourself will plant a wonderful seed. (Hint from Alana: Even the "little" actions are huge.)

"Fire, Aim, Ready"

By Kirk