I worked with a field hockey team once who was so afraid of failure they were scared to try anything if they weren’t absolutely sure was the “right” thing to do in that moment. The result was hesitation and constantly second guessing themselves. It was not at all surprising that the team had very little success. In order to win they had to learn to play brave. The same is true in life. If you are so afraid of making mistakes that you do nothing, you have no chance to succeed.
What can we do to help us play brave in the game of life? I am SO glad you asked!
- Know your goals. If you don’t know what you want to achieve how can you possibly know where to make brave choices to get there. Make sure you are facing the direction you want to go.
- Commit to playing offense. Success is reached by having a plan and executing it. As they say in sports “You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.”
- Surround yourself with a great team. It is so much easier to play brave and risk making mistakes when you know your team is there to catch you when you stretch just a little too far. Will the people in your life help you up when you fall or laugh? If your “friends” find humor instead of opportunity is your life challenges, you need different friends.
- Tell yourself the truth. When an opportunity arises to be brave and you stutter-step ask yourself why. You can’t fight a fear you don’t understand.
- Go for it! Step out on the limb. Take the plunge. Use whatever cliché works for you but get that ball rolling toward your goal.
- Evaluate quickly. Did the action you took move you in the right direction? If yes, do it again! If no, why not? Is the action useless or improperly executed?
- Be proud of yourself for being brave and do it again! When it comes to bravery, once is never enough.
There is no one who has ever been successful by doing nothing. Decisions must be made. Action must be taken. Give yourself permission to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Something is only failure if it is the last action you take before giving up.
I have a quote by Mark Twain hanging on my office wall. It reads:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.”
I would add, “Play brave!”
What would you accomplish if you just went for it? How are you brave? What is keeping you from living bravely? Let us know in the comments?
Next week: Panic is not a fallback plan
Last week we looked at why the jerk in your life might actually be good for you. Read it here if you missed it.