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5 Strategies to Become More Courageous

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What You Can Learn from a Lobster

With a master’s degree in organizational communication, Anne started her own company as speaker and consultant to top corporations despite daunting challenges she outlines in her new TEDx talk. One key to acting with courage is to learn to see uncomfortable situations as a catalyst for growth, a lesson that Anne says we can learn from, of all things, lobsters.



“Besides being absolutely delicious, these sea creatures have got this whole courage thing figured out,” she says. “When a lobster grows, its’ shell becomes constricting and uncomfortable. The shell doesn’t grow with the lobster, so in order to grow the lobster has to shed its shell to grow a bigger one. When it’s time to upgrade, it just scurries under a few rocks and hangs out vulnerably while it waits for its new shell to grow. It continues to do this its whole life, sometimes more than 20 times. The only way for the lobster to grow is for it to be uncomfortable and vulnerable while it’s making a bigger, better shell.”

Courage is not the absence of fear, she believes. “Courage is being afraid and working through the discomfort. Just like the lobster, it means taking off your shell and being vulnerable.” More of Anne’s points:

  • We don’t like leaving our comfort zones or forming new habits, even if the new habits are for our own good. However, getting back in the game and building lasting confidence will require change, and most likely some discomfort.
  • Being courageous isn’t hard when you’re happy and everything is hunky dory. It is when you’re exhausted, emotional, angry, and life is far away from what you had planned that finding your courage gets hard. Courage is how we choose to act during these times.
  • Fear is a normal part of a full life, but when it begins to impede your ability to live that life to its fullest, it’s time to do something about it.

Here are some of Anne’s strategies for facing fear and building courage:

  1. Identify your fear and describe it. Name it.
  2. Pay attention to your physical reactions. Simply recognizing increased heart rate or sweaty palms can alert you to take a few deep breaths.
  3. Identify the root cause of your fear.
  4. Reframe your thoughts and talk to yourself. I say, “Ok, Anne. You’ve got this.”
  5. Take action, even if it’s something small.

“Look within yourself. What are you really afraid of,” she asks. “How much is anxiety and emotionally driven fear? What are action steps that you can work through instead of being afraid? It’s helpful to distinguish the emotional from the logical.”

About Anne: Anne Grady is an internationally recognized speaker and author. Anne shares humor, humility, refreshing honesty and practical strategies anyone can use to triumph over adversity and master change. Her new book is “Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience, and Triumph.” She is also the author of “52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work.”

For more information, visit www.GetStrongEnough.com.

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