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Edging into the courage zone

Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week.

The courage zone

Most of us hold tight to our comfort zone, where our achievements are predictable, the air is the right temperature, and people get what they expect from us. The courage zone feels like the bad lands by comparison. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s uncomfortable. It’s like a first date, food poisoning, and vertigo rolled into one. That’s why we equate courage with being gutsy. Courage is not the absence of fear but the decision that there is a greater reason to feel it.

What are you working towards right now that is truly courageous?

(Write down the endeavours that grip you by the guts.)

Consider: where fear shows up in the body and how

Practice: staying with the fear and listening to it

Decide to: use fear as a touch stone to recognise the importance of your endeavour. Reframe the feeling as courage.

Courage as a cumulative daily ritual

Whether we call it “fear” or some other name — anxiety, stress, discomfort — the cycle often plays out in the same way. We have a desire to achieve, but our fear of what might happen or the worry that we are somehow not enough can stop us in our tracks. In The Courage Habit Kate Swoboda writes about how our brains tend to seek the fastest, most efficient way to relieve stress when we feel it. We default to short-term stress relief — like procrastinating in response to feelings of self-doubt, or putting perfectionism into overdrive (which eventually leads to burnout). If we ditch the dream and return to the comfort zone, the lights dim, the soft music comes up and we are rewarded by the brain turning off the stress. The comfort zone is like a zoom filter, whereas courage is high definition living – ultimately, we are defined by it.

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Go with your guts this week.

Love your Mondays.