With so much talk about living authentically, we seem to have forgotten the origin of the word “authentic”. Etymologically, it derives from “one acting on one’s authority” – from the reflexive “auto” – self, one’s own, by oneself, of oneself. If authentic, you author your life, acting on your authority.
On the other hand, most of us get stuck trying to find our way back to “our authentic self” – as if there were some original, static version of self that we could find and refer to.
If only I were true to that version of me, I would be authentic!
While the news media is only partly to blame, making a killing of FUDGE (fear, uncertainty, doubt, greed, and envy), they are not the sole culprits. We live in a world where fear, stress, and anxiety are normalised. Each one of us chooses, on some level, to play this game. Or at least, we pretend that we have no other choices.
It takes deep courage to live up to your potential from a place of authenticity. Most of us are afraid of how we might alienate others if we chase our dreams. We are simultaneously afraid of failure and success.
But in your commitment to moving forward and growth, I encourage you to use courage to drive your motivation. You will be rewarded by living in alignment with the best version of yourself you could be.
Courage to live the life of your dreams:
If you want to change the terms of your life, you will need to drum up courageous action and move forward. Living your best life requires moving forward despite the fear.
Don’t get me wrong – you don’t want to use dumb courage. Allow compassion to soften your courage: for yourself, not just for others. The invitation to courage is one lead by inner wisdom: courage that is both compassionate and creative.
Then you can look at moving into action. When you put your plans into motion, you will start to get results. You might find that some of the actions don’t have the expected results. At that moment, you will need the courage to review your plans and recalibrate. In some cases, you will need to create new plans without giving up on your heart’s desires or values.
Taking action on your plans and goals is a process that goes hand-in-hand with facing your fears. You will not need to wait to feel courageous. Instead, you drum up the courage “from your loins” by moving forward. As you do this, your courage will grow.
Taking Action on your Goals Consistently:
If you want to feel courageous, then take consistent action despite the obstacles or challenges you face. As you choose to take steps all the time, you will find yourself overcoming your fears more easily. It becomes less stressful to be outside your comfort zone and using your gut to move you forward.
You will need to plan out the necessary steps, even if the only step you know is the next right step forward. It’s not always possible to know the big picture, but you are more likely to take action if you have a clear path for your next step.
Courage builds up the motivation with us. While our desires might motivate us with a large flaming fire, it is the fire in your belly of courage that will truly move you forward.
Motivation Drives you Forward:
Think of motivation as paddling with the waves to get to a beach. Each time the wave hits you, it drives you forward. But if you fail to paddle between the waves, you can also get pulled backwards by the currents.
So, while you are waiting for the next wave of motivation to hit, keep paddling courageously! Allow yourself to be pulled towards your goals and passions by your consistent action.
Rather than allow fear to push you away from whatever pain you are trying to avoid, allow your desires and motivation to pull you in the direction of your authentic self.
Motivated to Create Opportunities:
When you live as your authentic self, you will find yourself motivated to create opportunities. These might be moments to spend quality time with those that you love. Perhaps it’s merely the opportunity to create treasured memories or moments of your own, where you feel complete freedom and joy.
Most importantly, the awareness you create when you face your fears with courage opens up the possibility of creativity and playful exploration. Rather than being driven by feelings of stress, fear and anxiety, you can become curious about possible outcomes in your decision-making process.
As you listen to your deep inner wisdom, you will understand the difference between legitimate self-preservation needs and procrastination. Look at the opportunities around you to take action, even small steps.
The crux of courage is that taking action builds confidence and trust in yourself. The more you keep your promises and your word (to yourself), the greater your trust in your own inner wisdom. This awareness of the connection between desires, expectations, and action will lead you into taking more small steps forward.
As you take action, you create more inner peace and a growing sense of self-worth. Taking action is what creates certainty within your heart and mind. You can truly be yourself when you are certain you will keep your word.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of taking action is that you begin to attract like-minded people into your life. Your fears of losing people may well be valid: you will leave some people behind as you move on. But you will also be rewarded with a new sense of belonging as your choices build new relationships and a network around you.
There is a special beauty in having deeper conversations about what truly matters to you: and as you learn to “know thyself”, you will build new connections and relationships. These richer relationships will allow you to feel fully supported: but be prepared for the fears that arise as you notice relationships dropping away.
Courage allows you to push through the fear:
If you are committed to making changes toward living authentically, allow your courage to grow. We talk about people being spineless or growing a backbone. Allow your backbone of courage to grow, and come forward.
As emotions go, fear is typically felt and sensed at the front of the gut. Courage, on the other hand, is something we experience at the back, close to the backbone. So when we talk about “pushing through the fear”, it’s a metaphor for what we are physiologically sensing within. Courage literally pushes through the fear to mobilise us.
If you are looking to thrive, move forward with more action and small steps.
And suddenly, in a flash, 2018 is ending & 2019 is upon us. I spent the first 15 days of December on Facebook talking about how to take your heart’s desires & convert them into heart-led goals. And the reason that I took 15 days to talk about this – not one hour – is that I think the topic is simply profound. Yes, it’s profoundly simple. But it’s simply profound. I don’t believe we are served by being ruled by our emotions.
However, if you want to live without regrets, then you need to live the best version of yourself.
You can’t live a lie. You have to follow your heart.
– Paul Weller