How to Grow Courage with Personality Assessments
June 1, 2023
Based on the Tilt365 Framework, courage is represented as one of the four meta-strengths comprising the three strongly related character strengths: Integrity, Boldness, and Confidence. Most people have a preferred quadrant of the Tilt Framework that their personalities reside in, yet through self-awareness and practice, it is possible to Intentionally Tilt to a different personality quadrant that is more aligned with the needs of different contexts. Intentional Tilting is especially useful at work, where people need to be able to change their mindsets quickly as new problems and situations unfold throughout each day. Being able to mindfully shift personas is also referred to as being agile.
The other three meta-strength quadrants that make up the Tilt365 Framework are; Humanity, Resilience, and Wisdom. As the Framework functions on polarities (opposing forces), the meta-strength of Courage resides across from the meta-strength of Humanity, as its opposite. Additionally, the three character strengths that comprise the meta-strength of Humanity are, Likability, Empathy, and Trust. Just as the four meta-strengths act in counterbalance to each other, so do the twelve character strengths–three per meta-strength.
In relation to the meta-strength of Courage, and its opposing meta-strength of Humanity, these character strengths pair as: Integrity←→Likability, Boldness←→Empathy, Confidence←→Trust. Therefore, based on Intentional Tilting, balancing these corresponding character strengths is the key to boosting your overall expression and embodiment of Courage.
The Neuroscience of Courage
From a neuroscience perspective, courage has also been shown to be an aptitude that can be strengthened, not just an innate trait possessed by select individuals. Through neuroplasticity, people can build and strengthen their courage with practice.
At its essence, courage manifests as the ability to act during situations of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and doubt. For example, a very common fear for people that comes up in work settings is presentational speaking. Being able to continue through a presentation, despite having anxieties during the situation takes courage.
Therefore, part of strengthening courage involves facing fears instead of avoiding them, because it results in weakening the fears over time. From speaking up with your opinion in a meeting to making decisions in ambiguous situations, leveraging uncomfortable situations as growth opportunities will change your mindset about them.
Strengthening Your Will to Act
Tips for strengthening your readiness to take action while afraid:
1. Embrace the opportunity to learn through failure.
Whether you’re resolving a conflict with a colleague or presenting your reasons for a promotion, your initial attempts rarely go as planned without practice. Therefore, the first step in preparing yourself against your flight response is to come to terms with the inevitability of making mistakes, and then learning from them.
2. Envision the beneficial results of action versus inaction.
Imagine all the rewarding outcomes versus negative outcomes of what would happen from taking action versus not taking action. What is the risk versus reward of asking for a raise versus not? Mentally simulating the outcomes of your different actions helps to reinforce neural networks that become activated when projected circumstances arise.
3. Centering your attention on the purpose behind your actions.
If you’re preparing for a situation you know makes you nervous, reviewing the reasons behind your intentional discomfort can help alleviate your nerves. If, for example, you’re preparing to deliver a presentation that makes you feel nervous, simply reviewing the objective purpose of the presentation can help. Evaluating why you’re doing things that make you feel uncomfortable in the moment, and their purpose can help reduce your anxieties through stressful situations.
4. Centering your attention on the required actions of the moment.
While in the present experience of a stressful situation—like standing in front of a room of colleagues to deliver a presentation—focusing your attention on your intended and desired actions helps dilute the surrounding stressors that can cause paralysis or your flight response. Practicing focusing techniques like mindful meditation can help you remain present in moments that can cause you anxiety.
Managing Your Fear and Anxiety
In addition to strengthening your ability to take action in the face of stressful situations, being able to manage your fears and anxieties in healthy ways is a crucial component of strengthening your courage. Fears and anxieties often intertwine between your personal life and professional environment, so it’s important to find sustainable ways to manage them. Here are some tips for managing your potential fears and anxieties:
Nurture a positive mindset.
Staying positive is easier said than done. Yet, as most know, keeping your mind and thoughts positive has numerous emotional benefits.
Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations.
Refrain from judging yourself negatively.
Visualize your success and set goals.
Practice breathing exercises.
Take moments to calm down when needed.
Recognize that most worries never come true.
Focus on factors within your control.
Get enough sleep, eat well, and engage in physical activity.
2. Face your fears in small doses or head-on.
Gradually expose yourself to your fears in a safe environment.
Confronting your fears directly helps them go away; the more you perform an action, the easier it gets. Avoiding fears can make them scarier.
Challenge fearful thoughts by objectively reasoning their validity.
Transform uncertainties by actively seeking information and clarity regarding your concerns. Strategize what to do during potential worst-case scenarios.
3. Seek assistance.
Seek support from friends, family, or professionals who can provide guidance.
Talk about your fears with someone you trust.
Consider therapy to curiously explore the root causes of your fears and seek a deeper understanding of their origins.
The first step is recognizing that you need to increase your level of courage. Tilt’s suite of assessments provides a quick and accurate way to understand your current preferences. Building up your courage involves practice. As shown in neuroscience and Intentional Tilting, strengthening courage involves rewiring your mind through different methods and techniques. In addition to different mindfulness habits, Tilt365 offers a clear and actionable path toward growth and allows you to keep reassessing yourself as you become more balanced and intentional about your approach.