“Courage is showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

– Brené Brown

Who ever thought courage was needed to live everyday life?

When I thought of courage, I would think of …

… Lion tamers entering a ring with an unpredictable beast.

… Astronauts exploring an unknown frontier.

… A bungee jumper throwing themselves off a bridge.

… A Torero dueling with a charging bull.

I now realize that choosing to enter the world of dangerous activities is not a display of courage. Its a rush of excitement, a challenge, or the result of an unfulfilled dream.

That’s not the type of courage I am referring to.

Living everyday life takes courage.

“Courage is knowing what not to fear”

– Plato

I don’t want to put a negative spin on fear. Fear can be healthy. It is programmed into your nervous system, and gives you the survival instincts you need to keep yourself safe from danger.

Fear is unhealthy when it makes you more cautious than you really need to be to stay safe. And when it prevents you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy.

“Taking no chances means wasting your dreams.”

– Ellen Hopkins

Some people even fear success as much as they fear failure. I know that sounds bazaar.  But look at people losing weight. Once excess weight is gone, they don’t know how to live in their new body. Subconsciously in the mirror looking back at them, they see the overweight person that is familiar.

It takes courage to face the unexpected, the unpredictable. To travel an uncharted course.

Isn’t that what life is?

There are no guarantees what lies one step ahead of the other.

No Guarantees

When I was going through my cocoon stage. Wrapping myself in lost dreams I had for my life. Career gone, health gone, activities gone. (If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much, believe me.)

Someone said to me during that time, “it takes courage to live’.  My reaction … “what the hell are you talking about?”

“If you want your life back it takes courage”.

Now I understand.

You have to reinvent yourself; your career won’t look the same.

The come back trail to good health won’t be easy, but there is a way. You will only find the courage if you believe in yourself.

It’s Too Hard

Wanting to be the ‘comeback kid’ takes more courage than you would think.

Mentally you need to say to yourself “I can do it”.

That doesn’t come easy knowing the mountain you have to climb. Possibly being older, not physically as strong and times change in a new unfamiliar world and body.

It feels like the world is judging – waiting to see if you have a second chapter to your life.

“Without fear there cannot be courage.”

– Christopher Paolini

Life Is Scary

Failure to find your new path can be daunting. All failure does is eliminate what you don’t want to do. That’s a good thing.

Opening new doors, some being slammed in your face, builds tenacity and resilience. After the first few rejections, the rest are just routine until the right door opens to a bright new future.

“Resilient people accept their fears, and that builds strength to embrace, overcome and harness fear.” When you focus your fearful experiences as sources of personal strength, it can help you learn strategies that can build resilience. 24Life.com

On another note…

Courage can be mislabeled sometimes on people that put their life in danger when they don’t care to live. I saw this first hand when my daughter lost her 2 ½ year old little girl. The remnants of that loss resulted in dangerous activities. This behavior could have been perceived as courage but I saw it as ‘I don’t care to live anymore’.

For my daughter the courage was not in the dangerous activities, but the courage to go on with a broken heart.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” 

– E.E. Cummings.

Courage

Where does courage come from?  How do you get it? Is it environmental or hereditary?

You do not inherit courage. Rather, you develop it, by living a focused life committed to your values and goals. You strengthen courage by confronting your fears with purpose. When you believe in yourself, and have the courage to act on your belief, success will follow.

The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz

A pretty impressive act of bravery, no? Still, the lion lacks confidence until he receives a drink of courage from the Wizard of Oz. Though the drink is only a placebo, the Lion gets an instant dose of self-esteem, declaring that he feels “full of courage”.

Courage starts at a young age.

Parents can gently encourage small children to confront their fears with purpose. Some of my kids did not like getting their picture taken with Santa Claus, or having a clown confront them. A teaching moment would be to reassure them that it was a safe environment in place of avoiding the activity

First day of kindergarten, dealing with bullies, peer pressure, can all get their roots of courage in the first decade of life.

As you grow try new things, challenge your fears, build your confidence. Those successes are filed away in your subconscious for future opportunities when courage is needed.

Courage is a part of character. Courage enables you to speak up when it’s much easier to remain silent. Courage propels you to attempt new ideas, even at the risk of failure. Courage provides the inspiration you need to pursue your dreams, even at the risk of great disappointment.

“Courage is the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
– Winston Churchill

I have always been fortunate to have the confidence to try new things. If anyone said it can’t be done, that’s when I set out to prove them wrong. In a performance review I was labeled a ‘provocateur’. Someone that stirred up the status quo. I carried that comment as a badge of honour.

Courage. Purpose. Determination. Necessity. Power of Conviction. All are character traits of a successful life.

Taken to another level courage is displayed when you are committed to a cause even willing to die for your country, freedom, and family.

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

– JK Rowling

Just living day to day courage is manifest in our life to different degrees. Getting out of bed and facing a new day takes courage for some, to others leading a team of patriots.

I once had the courage of a lion, until the tragedies of life took me out.

As I remember the courage I had creating past successes, it became the springboard to reinstate my badge of provocateur.

The Courage to Live roars inside me again.


“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 

– Anais Nin
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