Simone Biles displayed extraordinary courage as she stepped back from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics gymnastics competitive events. She displayed even greater courage as she spoke publicly about the pressure and stress experienced, yet continued to support her teammates with genuine enthusiasm. Tennis professional Naomi Osaka’s courage in pulling out of the 2021 French Open and speaking about the mental health challenges she was experiencing opened the door for Simone to step up.
What do you think was going on inside Simone’s head and her heart? Can you imagine the myriad of emotions she went through and what it would have been like to be in her shoes? What decision would you have made?
Consider the weight of the expectation to be at her best and perform with flawless execution. That is not humanly possible for any of us 100% of the time. The world was watching. How could she possibly push back against what everyone expected her to do?
We often think of courage as this iron clad facade that makes us look strong and in control. That’s not sustainable. And, that’s not real courage. Simone demonstrated that to us.
From Fear to Courage
How do you find the courage to get through your setbacks and struggles?
Follow these three steps:
- Face your FEAR – Recognize and accept that fear is present. Name the type of fear you are experiencing. When facing a challenge or unexpected change, common fears include the fear of uncertainty, the fear of loss, or the fear of failure. Identify where the fear and resulting stress are coming from. Is it based on the realities of the situation or from the unfounded stories we tell ourselves or hear from others?
- Reframe Your Stress – Reframe the negative self-talk. See the potential rather than everything that is bad about you or the situation. What are the facts? What is the best that could happen? The worst? What do you have control over that you can do something about?
- Take a calculated step forward – You don’t have to walk into the dark abyss blindly or by yourself. Courage does not mean stepping out unprepared, but it does mean that you take a step. What are your options? What are the pros and cons of each? Once you take that first step, it’s like ‘aha’, the road ahead begins to illuminate for you. One of the most important things you can do is reach out for support, whether from professionals or from your family and friends. You are not in this alone.
You too, can discover the courage to get through the challenges you face. And, when you do, your courage can be a light of hope not only for yourself, but can also encourage others.