By Jeff Lerner

Growth requires courage. Success requires growth. It is impossible to succeed without trying new things. How do we know this? Because we’ve done the work. Look around: has doing the same old thing every day gotten you to where you want to be, or do you want more? If the answer is the latter, then what is it in your life that needs to change?

It takes courage to step away from the familiar and branch out into the unknown.

So the big question is: how do we foster courage in our lives? How do we begin to choose courage over fear? Here are a few things I have learned in this endeavor.

Be Yourself

In order to be yourself, you have to first know yourself.

Do you know who you are? It matters because it makes all the difference in your future success. Only you know if you are being your authentic self. Are you honoring who you are? When you look in the mirror and see someone whose life experiences have brought him or her to today, then you are on the right track to success.

Honor who you are in the decisions you make. Only by knowing yourself will you be able to identify your fears and the reasons behind them. This is the first step in conquering them. Until you know the problem you cannot honestly address it.

Visualize Your Future

Becoming a champion means becoming an extraordinary human being; it means accomplishing your greatest goals and aspirations. In order to become the champion you were born to be, you have to visualize your success first.

Do What Others Don’t

It takes courage to take risks and to go against mainstream convention. For instance, you’ve probably been told your whole life that the best way to make money is to work harder. That isn’t true. It goes against cultural thought to let go of the idea that you have to trade hours for dollars and instead begin to work smarter rather than harder.

Learn to Say No

To find your own success, you have to begin to prioritize. This means saying no to distractions. If you are a people pleaser it will be very difficult, but then it’s even more essential. Knowing what is essential to your goals and what is a distraction will equip you in becoming a better decision maker. The power to say no can be difficult to learn, but it is essential to your success.

These steps will help you to embrace courage over fear. It takes courage to face yourself in the mirror with all of your flaws and triumphs. It takes courage to visualize a different future and to go down an unfamiliar path. It takes courage to make your own dreams a reality and to begin to say no to all of the distractions that life presents.

Will you choose courage today, or will you continue down the same path you’ve been traveling?