“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”― Anaïs Nin

I’ve discovered from doing my FREE strategy sessions that many dream of being an entrepreneur, but only a few have the confidence and courage to leave the comfort of a steady pay check to take the leap into entrepreneurship. And for some seasoned entrepreneurs their mindset ( limiting beliefs, fears, lack of confidence and COURAGE etc.) stop them from taking action to grow their businesses.

In this post I’m focusing on COURAGE  as a continuation in my series “The 7 Cs of Entrepreneurial Success.”

Courage plays an important role in the success of entrepreneurs.

Ben Horowitz, a founding partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, states that courage is one of the two key qualities of successful entrepreneurs. (The other is brilliance)

Help! My courage muscle needs to be strengthened.

We are all born with the potential to be courageous. Like confidence, courage is a skill you can learn. It strengthens your courage muscle each time you face your fear to do thing you’re afraid to do. It takes courage for me to write my blog posts because writing is not one of my strengths. I’m always apprehensive that my content will just plain suck … but I do it anyway. Over the years instead of focusing on what I don’t want (content that sucks) I’ve focused instead on how I can improve my writing.

If you lack the courage to take risks and face the challenges to become an entrepreneur, or to continue your entrepreneurial pursuits …

Here are four tips to help you build your courage muscle and live your entrepreneurial dream.

1. Do the thing you fear the most.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”― Ambrose Redmoon

 

If you want to be an entrepreneur but you’re afraid to leave the security (an illusion) of your present job make a conscious decision to leave your fear behind and do it anyway.

If you’re already an entrepreneur but fear keeps you from doing what’s necessary to take your business to the next level? Don’t give up! Embrace your fears. Remember WHY you wanted to be an entrepreneur. Address your insecurities and vulnerabilities instead of running from them.

Read Vulnerability: Why it’s important to be vulnerable
Read  Are any of these 5 fears holding you back?

2. Preparation

“The more prepared you are, the less pressure you feel.” ― Orrin Woodward

You wouldn’t set out on a trip around the world without intensive research, planning and preparation, would you? Of course you wouldn’t.

Preparation is just as important for launching and  growing an existing business. This will ease most of your fears and uncertainties about entrepreneurship.

Now there’s a difference between preparing and delaying. Preparation leads to productivity. Preparation calms the fearful mind.

Alert! Don’t use preparation (some entrepreneurs do) as an excuse for not moving forward to live your vision. Preparation doesn’t guarantee success; but it will give you the confidence and courage to take entrepreneurial action.

3. Take Action

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~ Walter Anderson

Without action your entrepreneurial dream will morph into a fantasy. It isn’t enough for you to decide to be an entrepreneur. It isn’t enough to plan. It isn’t enough to have ideas. Talking about what you’re going to do doesn’t mean anything until you take action. You must take decisive action to start and grow your business.

Lack of confidence and courage keep entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs stuck in the planning stage. They become overwhelmed by too many ideas and distracted by one shiny object after another. The way to become unstuck is to take consistent, persistent action. Each action will fortify your confidence and courage.

4. Master your mindset.

Mindset – a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations.

Successful entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily more intelligent, talented, or skilled than most people. What they have is the right mindset for entrepreneurial success.

Here are a nine of the many habits you can develop to cultivate your courage and gain self-confidence.

a. Persistence is one of the most powerful mental attitudes of successful entrepreneurs. For success, you must persist in spite of obstacles, challenges, stress, ups and downs and your darkest days.

b. You’ve got to rewire your mind to take intelligent risks. Marcus Lemonis, of CNBC The Profit, said it best ” If you don’t believe in taking risks you are not really an entrepreneur.”

Steve Pavlina wrote an informative article on intelligent risk taking here

c. Monitor your thinking. Your thoughts are the GPS of your mind. Negative thoughts weaken your courage muscle and drain your energy. They’ll stop you from taking inspired action and believing in yourself. One negative thought can spiral out of control into a mountain of more negative thoughts. Entrepreneurs with the right mindset aren’t immune to negative thinking. They acknowledge their negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

d. Focus on your strengths and master them. You have to wear many hats to jump-start your business as an entrepreneur, but as time goes on it’s important for you to delegate those things that aren’t a good leverage of your time. Those with the right entrepreneurial mindset focus on their strengths, their brilliance and master them.

e. A mindset of gratitude will give you latitude. A thankful mind is fertile ground for the seeds of your desires. Water them regularly with more thankful thoughts and their growth will astound you. They’ll blossom when chaos and uncertainty abounds. They’ll bear fruits in spite of stormy weather and pesky weeds.

f. Use tools and resources to stay calm, focused and centered. It’s easy to become frazzled and overwhelmed as an entrepreneur. Courage retreats from this type of mindset. Use your favorite tools and valuable resources (yoga, meditation, hypnosis, exercise, a hobby, nap, dance, sing, read etc.) to nurture your courageous mindset.

g. There’s no way around it, you’ve got to do the work. Even if you aren’t feeling courageous or your confidence level is low, do your work. Courage and confidence will join you along the way. They’ll want to be on your success team because (from your action) they know you’ve got what it takes to be a successful.

h. Be you. It’s their courageous mindset that allow successful entrepreneurs to stand up and stand out in authenticity. They don’t follow the crowd. They don’t have to fit in. You’ve got to resist the temptation to be the cookie-cutter-version of someone else. Be you! Be authentic! Even if it’s uncomfortable. Your courage muscle will become stronger each day.

i. Be open to change. Your ego shouldn’t drive your decisions in business or your personal life. Carving your strategies for starting and growing your business in stone will sabotage your success. If you’re not flexible and open-minded you’ll never make it as an entrepreneur. You have to be willing to shift your thinking, welcome constructive criticism, take detours and carry out new ideas. You have to be willing to rewrite , edit, or discard your blueprint for success if it’s not creating what you’ve envisioned.

It’s a wrap

Does confidence ignite courage or is it the other way around? I’ve pondered this question many times. I don’t have a definitive answer, but here’s what I BELIEVE – confidence says “yes you can” and courage says “what are you waiting for?” Let’s do it!

Confidence is that top performance car in your garage, but courage is the fuel that’s going to make that car do what it’s supposed to do. Without fuel that top performance car isn’t going anywhere.

But wait! I also BELIEVE that confidence and courage work as a team. On those days when your self-doubt kicks in, courage says “you can do this” and you reignite your confidence as you courageously (in spite of self-doubt) move forward.

Your turn

What do you think? Does confidence ignite courage or is it the other way around?

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