We all need courage. Courage is what takes us from where we are to heights unknown… or maybe just the next step. If you find you are lacking in courage, here are eight tips to boost your courage. Adopting just one strategy will create some change. Try incorporating more than one and see how your life expands.

Acknowledge Your Courage

Courage means feeling the fear and acting anyway. You are already more courageous than you know. Think of all the things you’ve done just in the past month that you’ve done that you did despite fear. It’s like the lion on the wizard of Oz. Once someone acknowledged his courage, he began to see it for himself. So see it in yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Once you know you have it, it will be easier to see it.

Admit Your Fear

Part of what holds us back is the desire to appear brave. Maybe that’s about appearing brave to other people or maybe it’s just to yourself. When you fight against something, you give it more power. So just admit it. Say, ‘This is really hard” or “I don’t know if I can do this.” No drama. Just let it be what it is. If you can stay in this state of mind, the fear will subside and the situation may begin to feel more like a simple choice of “Do I want to do this or not?”

Evaluate Your Fears

Fear is instinctive. It can let you know when you’re life is in danger. Your intuition can let you know when something is not right. When you feel fear, check it out! Maybe it’s trying to tell you something you need to heed. Sometimes circumstances require courage to press through, and sometimes it’s wise to back off. Evaluate your fears so that you learn to tell the difference between the two situations.

Focus on the Desired Outcome

There are two types of people: those who choose to avoid pain and those who choose to move towards pleasure. The latter tends to be happier and more motivated. Focusing on where you are going can give you motivation to act. It can fuel you once you get started so that you can cross the finish line. Know why you’re doing what you are doing. Keep reminding yourself of that if you have to. Stay focused. You can’t move forward while looking back. So don’t look back. You’re not going that way.

Find Cheerleaders

Everyone needs at least one cheerleader in their lives. A cheerleader is someone who is positive and helps you feel that you can do it. Don’t toil alone in silence. Tell your cheerleaders. They will give you accountability and energy to make it though rough spots and glide to the finish line. Or maybe they have to drag you. However you get there, it’s a lot easier when it’s not alone.

Expand Your Experience Repertoire

Let’s face it. We’re all creatures of habit. We do what we always do. But, when you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. So, get out of your comfort zone. Do new things regularly. Why regularly? Because it will create a habit of being adventurous and trying new things. People who routinely get out of their comfort zone are more courageous. They follow through more because they practice it. When you do something well often enough, you become good at it. So when something scary happens that requires courage, you can look at all the times you went out on a little limb and survived. That can make going out on a bigger one easier. Don’t you jump off the low dive before you attempt the high dive? Same thing.

Read Success Stories

Another option is to watch movies about success stories. When you hear about people who have done incredible things, it can inspire you to believe that hard things are achievable. We all need role models. If you don’t have them in your life, look outside your life. Dream big. Read stories about those who also dreamt big and succeeded. If Erin Brochovich, an uneducated single mom, can get the largest medical settlement in US history, you can ask a girl out on a date. If Louis Zamperini can survive starvation, being adrift in the ocean for 47 days, and a Japanese POW camp, maybe you can muster up the courage to get a new job.

We pattern ourselves after the people in our lives. Our outside world tells us what is “normal.” If our lives are a diet of trash tv, fast food, and cheap thrills, our inside and outside will reflect that. When we see greatness in our lives, it allows us to feel we too can be great. When you have this feeling inside of you, it’s easier to display courage.

Be Okay With Setbacks

Having courage and acting is not enough to take us all the way sometimes. Life gives us setbacks. That’s part of it. You’ve got to be okay with that or else you’ll never try again. Notice that I didn’t call it “failure.” It’s only failure if you stop trying. A setback means that the something isn’t right. It could be timing, not enough support, not enough money, the wrong people are involved, or perhaps it’s not even the best goal. Take time to evaluate everything and ask yourself how you can tweak your plan to get a better result the next time. 

The game of courage is not about winning, but of striving. A person with courage is more likely to continue striving until success is reached than one without.