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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Courage - A Necessary Ingredient We All Have

Unconventional, without compromise, ambitious, or even stubborn have been words used describe me concerning my choices in life. I could subscribe to any of these terms. But one day, a dear friend added courageous to the list. It took me years to see that for myself, because

I grew up thinking that there were fearful people and there were courageous people, and we all just fell into either of these categories. Knowing myself and the many fears and agonies that any of my choices were accompanied with, I was certain I was of the fearful kind.

One day I heard an interview of a person I highly admired - mainly because of their courage. There this person was talking about his fears, and how this admission was often met with surprise. But he stressed that there was no such thing as a person without fear. Courageous people simply acted despite of their fears.

This statement set me free. I felt like my self appointed fear-category persona lifted up into the air. I knew instantly I could be a courageous person. All my choices so far were not enough to make me belief in my courage. It was this simple random statement on a random day.

I started looking for the courage hidden in all of my life coaching clients. I started seeing it everywhere. No matter what their past, their current situation, their outlook on future. Courage is always an option. We can always walk through our fears and thus leave them behind. Experiencing fear does not mean we are a fearful person.

It is such a thrill encouraging people to walk through their fears, head high and truly taking in the courage it takes to do that. It is easy to stay home and not show up for the event, the moment, the choice, the action that we are afraid of. But it feels so great to show up and no matter how the outcome is, we can at least say that we have tried. That alone is such a satisfaction, such honest and strong statement. It creates the basis for decisions in the future. Not showing up makes showing up next time yet a little harder, and so it goes.

Showing ourselves the courage that lies in us is such a moment of feeling alive. Mind you, I am not talking about risking our lives or engaging in any thrilling activities. It can take courage to show up at a meeting alone, to speak up in a group of people, to sing at a karaoke bar (yet to be walked through by me). Whatever it is, I encourage you to challenge yourself ever so slightly and enjoy the act of doing it.

We learn so much about ourselves in situations like that. It feels wonderful. Alive! It has once been said that we have only to fear fear itself. I take that as "Only be afraid of not showing up for your life".