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21st January 2020

The courage to meet the demands of fear, part 2.

We know we all feel fear, and we know that to succeed we must show courage in the face of that fear. But how do we build up that courage in the first place?

1) Practice and start small.

David didn’t kill Goliath first, and he wasn’t born with bundles of courage. Indeed, when Goliath showed up, everyone ran including the king so David would have needed to sum up more courage than any person alive. He didn’t say ‘I can’t do this’, he said ‘How can I do this?’ David kills a bear and then a lion before he kills Goliath. He gained confidence in his courage as he took on bigger and bigger challenges. We don’t have to kill bears, lions and giants but we can do figuratively speaking with the challenges in our lives. And for some of us, stepping outside our front door is like killing the bear.

Remember the fire fighters that ran selflessly into the world trade centre on September the 11th, 2001? They had practiced running into burning buildings many times before and they simply saw it as doing their job. If there is a fear that is holding you back from life’s true abundance, practice confronting it. I’m not saying to do this foolishly, do it systematically with a courageous demeanour.

Even failure takes courage. As I’ve said before, Michael Jordan is my all-time hero. In an advert he says:

I have missed over 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted with the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed.

All of the greats have failed before they succeeded. And even failed after they succeeded! Thomas Edison, JK Rowling, Colonel Sanders. Seek failure and seek discomfort, for they are the doorways to success.

2) Rewards are ok!

It’s not enough just to push yourself into doing something. In fact, willpower is very weak and never lasts. Instead focus on the rewards of your courage. How it will make you feel to have the body you want. What your partner might say, how your confidence will rise. Get pulled towards your compelling vision of success.

One of my best friends is a dentist. He wasn’t always a dentist, in fact it shocked the hell out of me when he told me he was going to study dentistry! He was an Army Sargent physical training instructor that had done his all arms course to earn himself the coveted green beret of the Royal Marines. He specialised in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers. Whilst studying for his Dentistry he sent me a picture of a very nice (very, very expensive) watch. He said when he passes the doctorate he is going to buy himself the watch so whenever he looks at it, it reminds him of his perseverance and courage in the face of fear.

3) Use a support group!

All good is attacked. It’s just the way the world works. They’ll always be someone who wants to bring you down no matter what good you’re doing. I’ve had my fair share and I think we all have. But you must learn to display more courage than any attack can handle. If you’re in the right tribe, the community will help you do that. Don’t go at it alone. In a lot of ways it’s how CrossFit is so successful in transforming people. The original texts from Greg Glassman include:

The magic is in the movement
The art is in the programming
The science is in the explanation
The power is in the community.

I am very protective of our tribe. They are some of the best people on the planet and I mean it. Without them giving their time and effort and sacrificing their time with their loved ones, it’s unlikely I would be writing this. When someone asks me for a recommendation for a builder, hairdresser, plumber etc… then I will always recommend someone from the tribe. Why? Because we form an uncommon bond as we suffer together. We grow together and celebrate each other’s successes. They believe what I believe. That’s why it actually hurts if someone leaves the tribe. They’ve stopped believing in what I believe. We bleed together in the battlefield of the gym, in the battle field of our minds, and it makes you stronger for it.

If there is a fight between a lion and a tiger, the tiger usually wins because they are fiercer and more courageous. They will do anything to win. Picking a fight with five lions, the tiger will lose because the lions will work as a pack and tigers work as individuals. You are the lion and you either build a team or join a pack of lions on the same path as you. #wearewhitecliffscrossfit.

4) Leverage your strengths.

CrossFit teaches us to be well rounded and eliminate weaknesses. Weaknesses that need a courageous approach. It teaches us that being a ‘jack of all trades’ actually makes you fitter over all. CrossFit competitions can punish the specialist. Imagine the world’s strongest man taking part in a CrossFit comp. He would be far ahead in a strength test but far behind on a 5k run. Sometimes it is wholly appropriate to double and triple down on your strengths. In business this is accurate. You should focus on what you’re good on and get someone better than you to do the tasks you’re not so good at. What this does, after a period of time, is give you confidence to act in the face of what you don’t know.

By focusing on your strengths whilst you build the confidence to be more courageous can be a powerful approach. This doesn’t mean neglecting your weaknesses, it means doing more of what you’re good at until your courage builds to tackle things you are less confident about.

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