And given that courage is a muscle, you strengthen it the same way you strengthen any muscle – you use it.
And the very funnest way I know to work your courage muscle is by doing Improv.
(Yes, Grammar Police, I just used the word funnest. Breathe..)
Improv is a Courage Gym.*
And unlike big wave surfing, Improv is something you can do that will successfully scare the crap out of you and will almost certainly not result in a fractured pelvis. Bonus!
When I tell people that I teach and perform Improv they often say, Oh, I’ve always wanted to try Improv but it’s so scary!
Yes. You are correct. Improv is scary. And that’s a fantastic part of it! The scariness is a major piece of why Improv is so thrilling to watch and to do. You follow your fear in front of a live audience, who is on the ride with you and loving you for taking those risks.
Improv is a blast and a half and I highly recommend it.
And if Improv is not your thing, then I strongly encourage you to find another pursuit that will consistently give you the opportunity to take risks in order to get accustomed to conquering your fear.
Instead of Improv you could:
Do what Felix Baumgartner did and jump from the edge of space, reaching a top speed of 843.6 mph as he barreled toward Earth.
Do what Jason Collins did and be the first athlete in any major team sport to come out of the closet. (Well, I suppose if you did this you would technically be the second athlete.. Even so, that would certainly give your courage muscle a workout..)
You could do what Malala Yousafzai did after getting shot in the face by the Taliban for going to school and become an International education activist.
Take your pick, just do something to work that Courage Muscle.
Get in the habit of taking risks, big and small:
Ask her out.
Wear the hat.
Smile at the stranger.
Call your father.
Use soy milk.
Quit the job that’s eating your soul.
Become a Rabbi.
Free a country.
Legal Disclosure: Nelson Mandela is not an official spokesperson for Rachel Hamilton Improv. Yet.
Here’s the simple formula at work here: Everything you practice you get better at.
- Every time you do something that scares you, you get more courageous.
- Every time you choose not to do something that scares you, you become more afraid.
So, take every opportunity you can to press forward when you are afraid.
The world needs you to strengthen your courage so that your fear will not get in the way of you following your calling, discovering your truth, bringing your gifts to the world in the way that only you can do.
Also, let me remind you that energy is contagious. If you want to be more courageous, hang out with people who are being courageous. Every Improv class is, by definition, populated by people who are being courageous. I’m just saying…
Big Courageous Love,
*You can even wear your Lulu Lemons if you want to…(out here in NoCal, we just call those pants..)
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