When we talk about what it means to be daring (which, ICYMI is this month’s editorial theme), we tend to think big. Like jumping out of airplanes, quitting your job to peruse your passion, or cutting off all of your hair kind of big. And while all of those things are daring, they can also feel so far out of the realm of possibility in our day-to-day lives. But these leaps of faith aren’t the only ways to live a daring life.
Because when it comes down to it, being daring is more of a practice than it is a personality trait.
By incorporating small pushes beyond the limits of your comfort zone — whether it be rocking that new trend you’re not sure is flattering or saying no when you’d usually say a begrudging yes — you’re able to strengthen those daring muscles. That way, when it comes time to move across the country or chase a big dream, it won’t feel like such a big leap after all.
image by kristen kilpatrick
Being honest about your feelings and needs may not immediately come to mind when you think about being more daring. But pushing yourself to speak up instead of letting something slide is really an exercise in vulnerability — and one that can take serious guts at that. So, start small by sharing an idea you’d normally keep to yourself in your next meeting at work, or ordering what you really want next time you go out to eat instead of what you feel like you should be having.
Once you get the ball rolling with these little instances of showing up as your honest self, you’ll feel more confident daring to tackle bigger things like boundaries and emotional needs.
We so often treat those closest to us, whether they be your group of closest girlfriends or your significant other, as a security blanket. So, next time you’re feeling a bit stuck in life, try flying solo instead of falling back on that safety net.
Again, it pays here to start small — maybe take yourself out to that movie you’ve been dying to see or settle in at your local wine bar with a book in hand. After you feel comfortable in those spaces on your own, work on branching out. Ask the woman next to you in your weekly yoga class out to coffee or strike up a conversation with your seatmate at the bar instead of scrolling through your phone. And remember: Not every interaction will introduce you to your new BFF, but you’re slowing building your daring muscles (and your confidence!) each time you try it.
One of the most subversive ways we hold ourselves back is by waiting for the right moment to hit to make our move. Don’t get us wrong, timing for big life decisions is obviously important, but what we’re talking about here is how damaging it can be when you let waiting for the little things add up in your life. Instead of telling yourself you’ll sign up for the gym next month or start that passion project next weekend, take a hard look at why you’re delaying doing what you want. You’ll likely find that the reasons you’re holding yourself back aren’t so important after all when you start to unpack them — and once you discover that, you’ll find plenty of little ways to be daring every day.
What each of the three little ways to be daring above really boils down to is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The good news? There are plenty of ways you can work to do exactly that every day. Figure out what small steps you can take that feel good, and try to do at least one of those things once a day (keeping a running list of ideas in a journal or as a note in your phone is a great way to get inspired if you’re feeling stuck). Once you feel comfortable with the baby steps, make those pushes a little bit bigger. Before you know it, you’ll be inspiring others to live a more daring life, too.