I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

Are your fears holding you back from living? But what is courage, really? Courage is the ability to continue moving forward even in the face of challenge, adversity, and fear.

Just as Mr. Mandela says in his quote, it is in the triumph over fear that is courage.

I have said often, that you should feel the fear and do it anyways. This never means you are not afraid, it means you are stronger than the fear, taking action and moving forward.

Courage is a muscle that needs to be exercised.

Being brave is similar to lifting weights. The more you do it, the easier it gets. But you need to practice and you need to repeat often, so that it becomes easier.

How do you get started?

• Start out by making a list of the things that you're afraid to do but wish you weren't.

• Now put that list in order from least fearful to most fearful.

• Begin at the top and work your way down.

Yes, just do it, stop thinking about it.

Strategies will help you get started:

1. Decide. Decide it is the time to conquer your fears. The simple act of making a decision means you are committed. You already took action by deciding so you can take the next step.

2. Accept. Yes, you will feel some fear. Remember that living courageously means dealing with fear but going forward anyway.

3. No Excuses. Fear isn't a good enough excuse to stop taking action. Unless you're life is in danger, being afraid is an excuse for taking action.

4. Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" Many times you are stuck in analysis paralysis, the fear is in your head, but you might find out the worst that can happen isn't that bad.

5. Rewards are Good. After you complete one of your list items, give yourself a treat. Be proud of yourself; you certainly earned it!

6. Recognize. Recognize that you might not understand the feelings you are having, are they really fear? Is a rollercoaster exciting or scary? It's a thin line for most people. Feelings are overwhelming and well emotional, when you are caught up in them, you might not know how to change them. Try telling yourself you're just really excited the next time you take action to do something on your list.

7. Tools. Use every tool at your disposal to minimize your fear. All kinds of things can help! Here are some suggestions:

• Therapy
• Practicing your values and principles
• Prayer

You can live courageously. Get into action now. Take the first item on your list and do it today!

Remember that being courageous is all about taking action in spite of fear, not the absence of fear. There's no time like the present to cultivate your courage.

Author's Bio: 

Lori Lynn Smith is a passionate and authentic teacher who shares her real life experiences about creating a holistic lifestyle and business. At her blog Sacred Earth Partners you will find a wide range of topics relating to Lifestyle Design and Lifestyle Businesses. Get her FREE digital magazines Inspired Balance and Inspired Actions. Click Here