THE BLOG
11/07/2014 10:16 am ET Updated Jan 07, 2015

The Importance of Courage

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We all have heard stories about courage. When we are kids, courage comes from superheros taking down bad guys and saving the world. And as we get older, we hear of the mesmerizing accomplishments of courageous people who fight in wars, spur massive social change, and save lives.

These are all courageous acts, but sometimes these narratives make courage seems inaccessible, and we are unable to realize that we do indeed have the ability to be courageous each day of our lives as well. I believe a key ingredient to happiness is being courageous, in both large and small ways. We all have the capacity to live courageously in our lives.

The first step is to speak your truth. Your truth is just that -- yours. Define your personal values and beliefs and live your life by them. There are just as many opinions in the world as there are people, and that means that there is a tremendous amount of opportunity to be side-tracked from your goals. Remember to always be open to the beauty others' experiences and insights, but keep your voice strong. Defining your truth requires you to be honest about what drives you, what you believe, and, most of all, what you fear.

Fear is a secret everyone shares and no one wants to talk about. Everyone is scared of something, even the people we view as the strongest in our lives have, at one time or another, been fearful. You can turn your fear into an asset rather than a hindrance, all depending on how you use it. The first step to conquer fear is to face it. Turn your fear into a motivator to achieve your goals.

In work, as in life, fear is something that will often hold us back from happiness. Fear of negotiation is one of the leading causes for why people don't negotiate. That's why only one fifth of people negotiate for their salaries, and men negotiate at a much higher rate than women. A few extra thousand dollars a year can mean a lot to the wellbeing of a family. When the ability to support ourselves or our family is in on the line, conquering that fear becomes all the more necessary. Learning to negotiate is critical to your career success; think of every negotiation as a practice for the next one. Even if you are not successful each time, you will learn something and benefit from the experience.

Whatever plan you envision for your life, remember to always have faith. Not everything will happen the way you would like, not everyone will support you, and no one will be successful 100 percent of the time. When we face challenges in our life, resilience makes all of the difference. Even if you ask for a raise and are turned down, you are still a winner!