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Are You Courageous?

#courage Apr 15, 2023

I recently had an interesting conversation in my group coaching program. You see, April is a month we focus on the Intentional Optimism tenet of COURAGEOUS, and as I always do, started off our zoom call with some questions to get us talking in the direction of applying the principles of that tenet in a practical way.

(New to me? Check out What Is Intentional Optimism? to get started!)

I think if I'd not reminded them we were talking about courage, I might have received different answers, but when I asked: What’s one thing you’ve done (good or bad) in your life where you look back and say, “I can’t believe I actually did that!”  What I received was, "I don't think I realized that what I did was courageous, it was just my life."

That, my friend, is why we need to talk about Courage

Courage is highly subjective, and it's easy to see other people’s lives as courageous, while thinking yours is, well, just "your life." 

For instance, my clients said things like:

  • “I spent 4 weeks biking through Europe when I was 15… oh, wait. What were my parents thinking?”
  • “I wanted a college scholarship so badly that I gave my first speech to a men’s golf club even though I was painfully shy… hmmm, I guess that was a turning point for me.”
  • “I trekked the wilds of Africa, getting lost, yet eventually exploring bat caves… I would never do that now!”

Now, those are BIG things. What they didn’t automatically think about was that each of their lives are chock full of courage!

The things they didn’t mention include: choosing to be a single mom; choosing to not have children even though that’s what everyone else expected; quitting her job; moving across country to a new town, “sight unseen;" and starting an entirely new business AFTER retirement. 

Do any of those resonate with you?

Well, how about some of mine…

  • I went to seminary as a single woman, thinking I’d be a missionary. Instead I married a pastor… whew… not sure which one was more courageous! 
  • I had Gastric Bypass Surgery in 2005 because I couldn’t get my weight under control, and I knew I was at very high risk for several diseases. Best. Decision. Ever. My counselor (through the process) said it was one of the most courageous things he’s ever watched unfold.
  • Went on a private adoption journey when I was told I had a 13% chance of a “live birth,” even with IVF… we adopted our son nearly 2 years later. He’s currently upstairs “resting” in between mowing the front and back yards. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Those are some big ones… but here are some things we don’t always talk about.

  • I sat with my mother in her final hours, administering pain and anxiety meds.
  • I quit my job and started coaching, consulting, training, speaking, writing, podcasting… the list seems to continue to grow.
  • I supported my husband through two separate church splits.
  • Did I mention our son came to us when I was 42? So I’m 56, with a 14 and a half year old son with ADHD… God is keepin’ me young!
  • I’ve maintained my weight loss 18 years after surgery.
  • I stood up to a bully school counselor in a meeting with my son and his middle school administration.
  • I’ve been a “safe space” for women to come and talk, get advice, or brainstorm - for more years than I can count. 

You see, when I discount or overlook all these courageous things I’ve done, it’s easy to feel insignificant - like I’m not making a difference or a contribution. When I’m in THAT  head space, I get small and fade into the background. (I know it's hard to believe…) It’s not easy for me to “toot my own horn” either, you know?

So while those things are “just me livin’ my life,” I’m living it in ways that are in line with my core values and strengths. You see, they are also fabulous examples of the three main components that make up the tenet Courageous

Those three components are:

Leadership (me being a safe space and listening, standing up to bullies), Adventure (adoption, seminary, quitting my job), and Resilience (maintaining weight loss, nursing my mom, and learning how to parent an ADHD teenager)!

Over the next few articles, I'll go into detail on each of these three aspects of Courage, and how we completely discount and overlook them in ourselves. Then I'll show you how you can apply them to change your own self-image and how you show up - right now.

Start by asking yourself two questions:

  1. Where am I not giving myself credit for the courage I have?
  2. How would recognizing my own courage change my self image?

If those questions are hard for you, or you need a sounding board or even a “sparring partner,” remember how earlier I said I’m a safe space? DM me (links are below), and start a conversation. Sometimes just recognizing the hidden leader, the untapped sense of adventure, or the resilience you’ve taken for granted, is the first step to a whole new life. Trust me, I know! You saw that list above, right?

It’s time to celebrate the courageous leader you already are, and to imagine where you could be next April, with just a little intention.

Until next time!

(New to me? Check out What Is Intentional Optimism? to get started!)

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