~ JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY ~
As we continue this series of blogs about self-discovery, I want to talk about something that lets us step into our destiny and stay on track no matter what obstacles come our way.
This essential ingredient is COURAGE.
What is courage?
It's not just the stuff that superheroes are made out of. Every one of us has it to some extent, but it's up to us whether we let it show itself.
Courage can either grow or diminish depending on what we do with it. Michael Hyatt said that "courage is the willingness to act in spite of fear." When we step outside of our comfort zone, go beyond what we think is possible, and do things that seem intimidating, our courage grows and so does our confidence. It's the necessary substance that turns our dreams into reality. Without it, we won't succeed.
Courage can be found in unexpected places and in people that don’t even think of themselves as brave. Irena Sendler was a social worker and a nurse during WWII in Poland. She was a little woman of less than five feet with a kind face and a soft smile. But when it came to saving 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto, she didn’t hesitate. Irena had the courage to do something that put her life in danger, but she never considered herself a hero.
Have you watched the movie The Last Holiday? Watch it today. It’s about a woman who learns that she has only a few weeks to live. The news causes her to finally get enough courage to go after her dreams and live her life to the fullest. At one point, she says to herself in the mirror: “Next time we will laugh more, we’ll love more; we just won’t be so afraid.”
A couple of years ago, I read an article by Bronnie Ware, a caregiver for dying patients. She wrote about the top five regrets of dying. Two of them had to do with a lack of courage. Her patients regretted not having enough courage to live a life true to themselves.
Let’s not wait until our time is limited. Take a risk today, try new things, do what you always wanted. Don’t put anything on the “tomorrow” shelf.
to speak up
to be yourself
to go after your dreams
to live fully here and now...
We need courage daily, especially when it comes to going after our dreams. Analyzing my own life, I see that making my writing public required stepping over a few doubts and definitely moving out of my comfort zone! But the desire to share the words inside of me was stronger than my fears. Find what you’re passionate about and have the courage to go after it.
Are you willing to take a step toward the life you always wanted? If so, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. List the things that you wanted to be able to try but never got to because you didn’t have enough “guts”. What if you were guaranteed success or could go back in time and have a do-over if things didn’t work out? What would you attempt? Think about the dreams you wrote down on Monday.
2. Imagine yourself doing these impossible things and living the life you always wanted. What would it look like? What would you accomplish? How would this make you feel?
3. What stops you now? Write every obstacle down, all your “what ifs” and “buts”.
4. Work through your list above. What can you hypothetically do to overcome these hurdles? What do you need for it? What would make it easier for you to try? What kind of support or resources would that require? How can you get them?
5. What’s the first tiny step that you can take now without stretching yourself too much? Take that little step and watch your courage grow. Don't let the fear keep you behind the fence. There is a beautiful view beyond.
Sometimes all we need to increase our courage is to have a few small victories. Make today your day to overcome a couple of tiny fears. Think ahead of time about what you will try. Pick something small, make a decision ahead of time and go for it. Mentally go over the details of what you’ll do or say. Focus on why it’s important to you. Try to remember the situation from your past where you felt anxious but did it anyway. Once the experience is over, write down how you felt about your achievement and commit it to memory. Then try something else.
You might not even realize what strength and potential you’re keeping inside until you’re faced with something that pushes it out. Push yourself instead and see what happens.
We all heard the story about the future king of Israel, David, who killed Goliath, a trained warrior and a giant, with a sling and a stone. We think of this as evidence of unusual courage, but there were a few more factors. What made David act? First, it was his passion. He just couldn’t handle the guy mocking his God and the nation of Israel. He had to do something about it. Second, he had experience and that gave him confidence. He won smaller battles when wild animals attacked his sheep. He had time to practice his skill, and when the bigger opponent showed up, he was ready.
When we work on our smaller fears and practice acting with courage, gain the necessary skills, and fuel our passion, then when the time comes to take a big leap, we’ll be less intimidated.
Courage is something we need in our everyday lives. In the story, Grace used courage to stand up for herself, speak up for the things she needed, do what she really wanted instead of trying to please everyone else, be open and express her feelings, and, of course, step out of her comfort zone to try something new. She ended up having more fun than she ever did before. Now you can too.
Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”.
Walking with confidence toward the life you were meant to live starts with one small step. Take it today.
A few more things to get you motivated:
Why Courage is Essential
Have the Courage to Act