15 Strategies For Finding Courage When Facing Life's Challenges

15 Strategies For Finding Courage When Facing Life’s Challenges

There’s a saying that life is what happens while you’re busy planning. While you may try to be ready for every eventuality, setbacks will happen no matter how much you prepare. We’ve all been in a situation in which an obstacle or event has left us feeling intimidated or even frightened. It’s important to view these times not as an invitation to give up but rather as a chance to prove our mettle.

To help you get through stressful situations, below 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their advice on how to persevere when you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain.

Members of Forbes Coaches share tips for turning a negative mindset around.

1. Think of someone less fortunate.

Remind yourself that what you are going through is relative in nature. Think of others who are facing even bigger obstacles than yourself. Be thankful that your challenges are not as intense. Then take a deep breath, make a plan of action and prepare for both the best and the worst scenarios. Being in the game is half the battle. – Karan RhodesShockingly Different Leadership

2. Reframe your fear.

Neuroscience says the more we think about something, the bigger it gets. Acknowledge your fears and sense of feeling overwhelmed and ask yourself, “What’s another perspective? Are my assumptions really true? Could the challenges be reframed as opportunities?” Break things down into bite-sized pieces. Focus on one thing you can control, then the next. It’s normal to feel afraid at times—go easy on yourself. – Susan SadlerSadler Communications LLC

3. Engage in self-talk.

When fear arises, we are often too quick to react to it, but living it out or pushing it aside only feeds it further. Connect to the truth of the fear. What scares you is what you’re experiencing internally, not externally. Go within. Talk to that part of yourself that’s trying to tell you something, and go past the irrationality of it to find the wisdom behind the fear. Then, courage will emerge. – Lin TanCollective Change Institute Pte Ltd.

4. Let go of what you fear to lose.

Someone like Deepak Chopra would tell us to practice “detachment” from outcomes, but I think Yoda said it best when he urged that we must train ourselves “to let go of everything you fear to lose.” Fear of losing those things is usually strong enough to prevent us from accepting the loss. If we can imagine a life “without the thing” we can proceed with courage (and be “detached” from the outcome). – Jeff KlubeckGet A Klu, Inc.

5. Break down the action steps.

Often when we feel fear our brain makes up worst-case scenarios, which can keep us stuck. Reality-check the obstacle by writing the facts down. Getting over or through the challenge is a series of steps, not a giant leap. Write down the steps of what it will take to get through this and do the first thing on the list and then the next thing. Before you know it, you have tackled the challenge head-on. – Frances McIntoshIntentional Coaching LLC

6. Go to the roar.

Gazelles are much faster than lions. Lions hunt gazelles by having the young lions chase gazelles in the direction of old lions that are hiding. When the gazelles are close to the old lions, the lions stand up and roar. The gazelles are frightened and run toward the young lions, which can now kill them. Had they run toward the roar, they would have escaped. Fear kills them. Go to the roar. – Jeff AltmanThe Big Game Hunter

7. Understand the motivation behind your emotions.

Uncertainty, fear and lack of clarity often generate negative emotions and beliefs. When triggered, this can be detrimental. Becoming curious and investigating our emotions fuels our self-awareness. Once the distortion or limiting belief is identified, we are then able to open and align our beliefs and strengths to shift ourselves out of resistance and into productivity and accomplishment. – Lori HarrisHarris Whitesell Consulting

8. Accept what you can’t control.

If you are looking for courage, you will not find it. However, if you focus on accepting what you can’t control and focus your energy on what you can control, you have made the important decision to not be a victim. Spend time on what you can influence. Maintain a determined attitude. It’s only then that the momentum of forward progress calms fears and allows courage to find you. – Jim VaselopulosRafti Advisors, LLC

9. Tap into your inner value and unique capabilities.

Fear is normal. It is usually a response toward losing something or an unpleasant situation. But in reality, anything external remains external. It is the inner value—which we continue to retain and which remains unchanged—that matters. Remind yourself of your capabilities and uniqueness as an individual. Are those still present? If they are, there’s less to fear. – Chuen Chuen YeoACESENCE

10. Draw on your past experience.

Think back to a moment when you felt strong and capable—remember it as clearly as you can. Start with the environment around you. Where were you? What was the atmosphere like? The clearer the picture becomes in your mind, the more the feelings will come back as well. Remember what it felt like, and draw strength from it for your current situation. You are that strong and capable person—even now! – Rajeev ShroffCupela Consulting

11. Visualize the outcome.

When I need courage and inspiration, I first visualize the end: “At the end of this journey, how will I or this cause or this group be better or different because I participated?” Visualization is motivating. Next, I map out the support system of people and groups that I can activate to help me toward the goal. Fear is squashed with others by your side. You don’t need to do everything alone. – Wendy FraserFraser Consulting, LLC

12. Expect greatness even in times of fear.

Everything you project you get back. Your immediate world is a direct reflection of you. Everything you perceive outside of yourself is a mirror image, an internal reflection of something within you. If you fear, you’ll find something to fear. If you love, you’ll see love everywhere. What you experience outside of yourself is a projection of your expectations. Practice expecting greatness. – Pasha CarterThe VIP Network

13. Reach out to those you trust.

We are a social species. Even in a time of social distancing, the opportunities to reach out and connect remain. Fear and the unknown can be paralyzing. Paralysis will do nothing to help you handle your situation. Reach out to a colleague or other trusted person and speak through your fear or/of the unknown. Then take one step forward, then another. What was previously out of your control you now control. – David YudisPotential Selves

14. Pause and remember to breathe.

In times of panic and fear, we operate in survival mode, triggering our fight, flight or freeze response. Our breathing contracts, our heart races and our thinking can get foggy. By pausing for a moment and taking three to five deep breaths, we get more oxygen flowing into our brain and can begin to relax and think more clearly. We can move ourselves out of survival mode and into a productive, more effective state. – Daphna HorowitzDaphna Horowitz Leadership

15. Put things in perspective.

One of the key things that I learned when I trained with the Navy Seals is that to overcome challenges, you need to create perspective. They have a mantra that says, “Things can always be worse.” This reminds them that it is not as bad as they may think. When life hits you hard you need to remember that someone in the world has it worse than you and they are overcoming the challenge. So why not you? – Raul VillacisThe Next Level Experience



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. He is hired to provide No BS Career Advice globally. That can involve job search, hiring staff, management, leadership, career transition and advice about resolving workplace issues. Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.


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