Courage does not mean that you are not afraid. Courage means that sometimes, we decide to do things even though we are scared.
Courage is the power to do the right thing. It is the power to stand up to your friends when they are doing something you believe to be wrong. It is the power to go to the doctor for your immunizations even though you are afraid of shots. Courage in the real world is seldom the courage of swimming with sharks or of skydiving although those activities do require physical courage. More often, the courage we need in our daily lives is moral courage to stay true to our values. We have to find the courage to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.
It’s OK to be afraid, everyone is at times. The important thing is to say, “I’m nervous, but I’m going to do this anyway.
When helping someone find their courage, the worst thing you can do is say, “don’t be afraid”. Instead, acknowledge their nervous feelings and tell them that it’s OK to be afraid. Ask them to imagine how they will feel if they do the activity they are afraid of versus if they don’t. Ask them to think about how they will feel if they accomplish this goal. Ask them if they can think of how a friend might overcome being afraid. The point is to focus on the positive feelings that will come from accomplishing this goal, while acknowledging that they feel nervous.
Find opportunities to mention when you are doing things that make you nervous. This might be a big presentation you have to give at work or visiting the dentist. Point out that you are nervous, but are going to do it anyway.