Hitting the Bull’s-Eye with Courage

Last time I wrote that hitting the bull’s-eye means being on target. The term came from seventeenth-century English longbow yeomen in small hamlets. After church services they immediately held archery practice since this was the only time when many of the archers could gather. A common target was the white skull of a bull, and the aim was to hit the bull’s-eye. Before practicing the skills needed to hit the bull’s-eye in your life and work, you need to know that you’re aiming at the right target—then act with courage.

So how do you become courageous by simply being courageous? How can you increase your bull’s-eye accuracy? Here are three bull’s-eye strategies:

1. Determine why you are living off target. If you seldom feel like you hit the bull’s-eye, you may be focusing on negative external factors rather than listening to the affirmation of your heart. Many times negative factors or beliefs represent the lower levels of courage consciousness such as blame or apathy, and statements such as “I deserve it! I have worked hard.” Some researchers assess that many “adults” never developed from the stage called adolescence. Staying stuck in adolescence would impede a higher level of courage consciousness. In “Higher Development Research Project,” Elizabeth Debold, EdD writes, “When researchers and theorists speak about higher development, they are referring to levels or stages that go beyond Piaget’s formal operational stage. Early formal operational thinking is typically acquired in adolescence. Many people reach this stage and happily live the remainder of their lives from it. In fact, pooling across a variety of studies in the U.S. that include a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, roughly 79% of adults do not develop beyond this level.” As you gain a healthier perspective about who you are, where you are stuck, and the obstacles that keep you in StuckThinking™, you begin to limit off-target shots that stall you from leading at work and at home with your everyday courage.

2. Enhance your accuracy with meditation. Learn to take time to reflect (pause, like an archer to focus inwardly) so that you live from the core of your true being. Meditation can reveal your motivations such as belief systems that thwart you from making a change in a job you loathe. Complacency is a courage-killer that breeds in lower levels of courage consciousness. Meditation is a contemplative process that begins to reawaken your true courage. A courage-centered life, one that comes from the heart and spirit (the original definition of courage) develops and enhances the five levels of courage consciousness. Soon you are not only hitting the target, but living a bull’s-eye life. 

3. Start to underscore your bull’s-eyes. Underscoring your defined behavioral competencies is noted as the times when you feel energized or animated about your life and work—your spirit is being regenerated. Maslow called it self-actualization—you have maximized your potential.

Why is increasing your courage potential important? When you increase your courage you increase your self-esteem. When you increase your self-esteem you increase your self-fulfillment. When you increase your self-fulfillment and your time comes to pass on you will have no regrets. No regrets connote bulls-eyes!

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.

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