Courage: Leading a life of few regrets
This is a bit of a different format, we are starting to delve into the world of leadership and psychology in keeping with our mission statement: building better people. There will be various themes explored over the coming weeks:
Courage: Leading a life of few regrets
So something happened a couple of weeks ago. My wife stepped out to try rugby for the first time. In her own words, this was right out of her comfort zone and she almost talked herself out of it. I can’t tell you how proud I was for her display of courage to do something that she was really nervous about doing.
I want to expand on this word:
COURAGE: the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation // to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in…
Let’s be clear, courage is not the absence of fear, fear is always there, courage is rising above the fear. Both emotions will exist in any situation, it’s the stronger one which will win. You don’t get rid of fear; when faith is stronger than fear, then you will have the strength to do the right thing. It goes without saying, when fear is greater than courage, you’ll do the wrong thing… Practice courage!
One of my favourite scriptures is “Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9
Courage allows you to climb through life.
Courage is like a muscle; it needs to be used and developed. An old Chinese proverb says” He who hesitates before each step spends his life on one leg.” You must step out in courage…often!
Courage encourages you in difficult and uncertain times, particularly if you’ve been in similar situations. Most people who go rock climbing or abseiling don’t start with the tallest rock they can find (usually), they build up to it. This is the same with courage, it has to start small and summoned for bigger, and bigger challenges. The beauty of the bigger challenges means that your comfort zone is expanded. “Courage is not always a roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice that says ‘Tomorrow, I’ll try again’.”
Life tends to shrink and expand in direct proportion to our courage. The late Maya Angelou says courage is the foundation of all other virtues because you cannot practice any other virtue consistently in the absence of courage: the practice of other virtues become erratic.
Courage is a choice based on your perspective…If your perspective is negative then your decision and result will follow as such…. Hmm perspective, that may be my next one… An excellent example of perspective would be the following quote “Let me win, but when I cannot win let me be brave in my attempt”. Courage sustains you; sometimes just long enough for you to win. The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart.
Courage propels you to reinvent yourself as often as you need to. It gives you the strength to leave the familiar ‘comfort zone’. When we leave the familiar, it requires us to be creative. It could open new opportunities…
So, where do we start, it’s all very well saying “be courageous”. Courage is a choice. Don’t be conformed to the thinking of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (when you know you know…). Exercise your courage muscle. I alluded to it above, start with something small and get the win, then go for a bigger challenge. Is there something you’ve been holding off trying/ doing because you don’t have the courage? Push yourself today. Every day I ask just one thing of myself: to be 1% better than I was yesterday – but being human I know I don’t hit that mark anywhere near as often as I would like to or need to. Push yourself today, tomorrow gets easier. But it must be a daily choice. My clients know that I like this saying: there are only 2 jobs in the world where you start at the top: grave digging and well digging – the rest you have to stat=rt at the bottom and work your way up. The same thing with courage, you have to work your way up. Sometimes just doing it actually builds the courage you need. Visualise and imagine yourself achieving or being in that new opportunity and follow the courage. Hey if you need to, borrow the courage from someone else! What!? How? Look at what they have done and use the same formula -results may vary, but that’s part of the journey. Courage is impossible to fake, but it’s also contagious.
Remember life shrinks or expands I proportion to your courage. Go. Be strong and very courageous