The Seven Principles of Courage

Did you know that a lot of our fear happens subconsciously, without us even realizing it? We’re so used to hearing that little voice in the back of our heads–the little voice that tells us we might make a mistake or that we’re not qualified or that we might be rejected or that we need to worry about what other people will think–that we just automatically assume what we’re hearing is true.

But guess what? Most of the time, that voice is lying to us.

Luckily, there’s something we can do about it.

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The solution starts with identifying what fear actually looks like to us, and understanding how it might be manifesting itself in our lives. The best way to do this is to take our Do It Scared Fear Assessmentto identify your own unique Fear Archetype.

But the next thing you’ll need to do is work on changing the way you think about fear, and to replace those previously subconscious thoughts with an intentional mindset shift.

In other words? You’ll need to adopt a new set of core beliefs that will help you fight back against those messages that until now were happening automatically–something we call the 7 Principles of Courage.

Here’s an overview of what they look like:


We need big goals to actually get big things done.

Because when it comes to goal setting, the MOST important part is daring to think big and creating a stretch goal—one that pushes us past our comfort zone or one that we might not fully even believe is attainable, at least not for us.

You see, when we set goals that feel safe and achievable, we are caving in to our own preconceived notions of what we are capable of. We’re not pushing past our comfort zone; we’re just settling for the status quo. And there is nothing inherently motivating about that. It’s comfortable. It’s what we know. It doesn’t require us to stretch or change or work any harder than we already are. And so we don’t. In fact, sometimes—often—we work less hard. We do the bare minimum. We get bored and we lose focus.

But when we set—and commit—to a big goal, one so big it freaks us out a little, we force ourselves out of that comfort zone into the unknown. Is it scary? Yes! But it is also totally invigorating and completely motivating. There’s nothing that will make us work harder or keep us going longer.


The principle that rules are for suckers is more of a reminder to develop is a healthy skepticism and a willingness to question authority and the status quo. It’s so important that you never just follow blindly because someone decided something was a rule. Know that it is okay to sometimes follow your own path.

The thing is—just because someone says something is true, or because it shows up on the Internet, or because “everyone” is repeating it as fact, doesn’t actually make it true.


So often, we play the victim card without even realizing it. Those rationalizations that we’ve made for why we can’t be successful, or why we can’t go after our goals and dreams, or why we can’t accomplish the things we really want to do are so close to the surface, such a part of our internal narrative, that they come out before we even realize what we are saying. They are such a part of our story that we don’t even recognize that we are making excuses.

But a good excuse is still just an excuse.

It’s much easier to point the finger at external circumstances than to acknowledge our own shortcomings. And it is certainly easier to give up when things get hard, especially when we are handed a perfectly legitimate excuse not to keep going. Who could blame us for wanting to throw in the towel?

But that’s exactly why taking responsibility for how you respond to everything that happens to you is such an act of courage.

Because when you always own it, you will be in complete control of all the choices you make.


The very best lessons almost always come directly from our biggest mistakes. And when you make a conscious choice to stop worrying about all the ways you might possibly screw up and instead focus only on what you can learn from the experience, you give yourself the power to simply try, regardless of what the outcome will be. It takes away all the pressure to get it exactly right the first time, and instead lets you fully enjoy the journey.


It’s not always easy to accept the things we don’t really want to hear—those hard truths, constructive criticism, and dissenting points of view. We don’t really want to deal with someone telling us we might be making a mistake, or looking at a problem from the wrong angle, or forming an opinion based on insufficient information.

That is exactly why true accountability—the accepting of honest feedback, and being willing to follow up on it—is SO courageous. It means admitting you might not have all the answers. It requires being open to sometimes heated discussion, and to ideas that aren’t yours. It means acting on wise counsel that may have initially conflicted with your opinions and desires. It demands both humility and trust.


What if this idea of balance that we’ve convinced ourselves is not only possible but desirable actually isn’t? What if it’s just a myth? A fairy tale? A trap designed to hold us back from wholeheartedly pursuing our goals and dreams?

What if balance is somehow overrated?

Because the thing is, were not called to balance, we’re called to PURPOSE.

With that in mind, what do you think would happen if you gave yourself permission to go all in, without feeling guilty? What would change if you were able to stop pursuing some mythical idea of balance, and instead allowed yourself to get obsessive about going after your dreams or pursuing your purpose? What would that mean for your life right now? What would have to change? So own your purpose and let the idea of balance go, because if everything is important, then nothing is.


The only sure thing in life is that things will go wrong.

Bad things will happen. Things will go wrong. Mistakes will be made, over and over again. People will be jerks sometimes. Accidents and tragedies will come out of nowhere. Roadblocks and obstacles will pop up. And the only way we can stop being a victim of our circumstances, and a casualty of the things that go wrong—because they will go wrong—is to stop expecting everything to go right.

So while we might think we are at a disadvantage because we haven’t had access to the same opportunities as someone else, the truth is that the end of the day, nothing matters as much as our willingness to just keep going. To take one step, and then another, and then another, and to never, ever quit.

And that, in a nutshell, are the 7 principles of courage. Dare to think big. Rules are for suckers. Always own it. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Embrace honest feedback. Balance is overrated. And just keep going, no matter what.

If you want to dig deeper into these principles, be sure to check out Episode 55 of the Do It Scared Podcast™, or pick up a copy of my newest book, Do It Scared®: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love.

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