Courage Crunch Challenge

This week I delivered a motivational speech about how exercising your courage muscle and stepping outside of your comfort zone can lead to a rich and rewarding life.

Neale Donald Walshe is famously quoted as saying ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’. I personally have another version of this statement. I believe that while life may not begin at the end of your comfort zone, it is certainly more interesting just outside it. I live my life by this simple principle and have had some amazing experiences and opportunities as a result of it.

I wonder if you prefer your comfort zone? That steady, secure, easy, anxiety-neutral state. Are you allowing your comfort zone to control you? It’s really easy to do because our comfort zone is… well comfy! I’ve definitely had periods when I’ve been happily sitting in my comfort zone and not really moving forward in my life. But as I’ve got older I step outside my comfort zone more and more because I have realised that the more I push myself beyond what is easy and normal for me the more rich and rewarding my life experiences.

I left a secure job in my mid-thirties to backpack around the world and discovered a resilience and a resourcefulness I didn’t know I had.  It led me to starting a new life 10,000 miles away from my family and friends and everything that was familiar; writing, producing and performing my one woman play and recently leaving another secure job to become an entrepreneur.

I didn’t know how these things were going to turn out for me but until you try something, you don’t know what you’re capable of. And it is a proven fact that people who step outside their comfort zone, push their boundaries and extend themselves are more successful in life and business than those who don’t. And who doesn’t want to be more successful?

So I’m going to share with you the key to an interesting, fulfilling and successful life; a daily exercise that will lead you to rich and rewarding experiences. I presume you have heard of abdominal crunches that exercise and strengthen your abdominal muscles? Well, I’m going to introduce the ‘courage muscle crunch’ which will exercise and strengthen your courage muscle. And your courage muscle needs to be toughened to allow you to develop and grow as a person, and encounter new and interesting people and situations to enhance your life.

For some of you it might be more of a challenge than others but let me reassure you that I’m not talking about doing hundreds of crunches like you need to do daily for flat abs. With my technique you just need the courage to do one small thing each day that is new and stretches you beyond what’s easy and normal for you. By doing this you’ll start to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and that is the key. Because soon you’ll begin to enjoy the butterflies and start feeling alive and excited about what’s possible.

Think about what you could do in the next 24 hours. It might be about having that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding, singing at karaoke, chatting up someone you fancy, joining a dance class or taking that first step to improve your public speaking skills by finding a coach, enrolling in a workshop or joining a group like Toastmasters.

Make it your habit to exercise your courage muscle on a daily basis, step outside of your comfort zone and notice the changes. Notice the strength and confidence that comes with stretching beyond what is easy and normal for you and notice how this makes it easier to stretch beyond what you currently think you’re capable of.

Author and poet Maya Angelou is quoted as saying ‘One isn't born with courage. One develops it by doing small courageous things’.  I encourage you to commit to doing at least one courage muscle crunch every day and notice how much more interesting your life becomes – it may even be the beginning of a life beyond your wildest dreams.

Why not decide on your first courage muscle crunch right now - the first step to action is committing to it!

If you enjoyed this article, click here to access Mel Sherwood’s ‘Top 5 Tips for Public Speaking Success’

Mel Sherwood is a pitch and presentation specialist who prepares ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals to take centre stage, embrace the spotlight and present with more confidence, credibility and conviction.

Mel's book 'The Authority Guide to Pitching Your Business - how to make an impact and be remembered... in under a minute!' is available on Amazon. To find out more go to or follow Mel on Twitter @MelSherwood_