Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
Type 'definition of courage' into Google (other search engines are available), and this is the definition that appears at the top of the list. This is how courage is described. The ability to do something that frightens you. Scares you. Maybe even terrifies you.
The ability to make brave decisions, brave choices. To take brave action. Do brave stuff. Be brave. Be bold and overcome your fears; whatever those fears maybe.
Courage, therefore, is not the absence of fear. It is not about never being afraid. It is about how you face that fear. Whether you let it beat you into indecision or inaction, or whether you choose to face your fear and go forward. That is what courage is really all about.
And most of the time it is the small things that seem the most scary. The first step on a long adventure into the unknown can often feel like the most terrifying step you will ever take. Hence my thoughts that courage sort of sits on a sliding scale alongside adventure or new territory. If you can find the courage for that first step, you have made the biggest progress. The rest, whilst still scary, becomes gradually less frightening as you know you have been brave enough to begin the journey. Something I tell myself on a daily basis at the moment!
So, why a blog about courage? Well, fundamentally it is one of my core guiding principles and something that right now is at the forefront of my mind as this next chapter of my Opus 29 adventure really starts to get underway. Courage to start the adventure, and courage to keep going along the path, even when those moments of fear hit me right in the head and the heart.
What does courage mean to me, then? What is my definition of courage? For me it means that...
“I have courage in my convictions and if I believe in something, I will follow that dream as far as I am able. I am willing to make brave decisions in an uncertain climate and use my values to guide my choices and options. I know that courage is not about being fearless, it is about recognising the times you are afraid and still choosing to follow that path.
I believe that dreams are always taller than you, which is why you have to reach high to make them come true. I am not afraid to recognise when there is something I don’t know and will find the courage to explore the possibilities that arise as a result. I know that having courage and being brave are not always about being visible and obvious, sometimes great courage is needed to do the tiniest of things. I am willing to be vulnerable and will bring my best self to the fore, even when I am uncertain of the outcome.”
And how will you see me bring this principle to life? How will you know that I am being true to what I believe and truly being courageous in everything I do?
Well, you will always see me:
Making good choices and decisions based on what I believe – even when those choices are not easy
Accepting when there is something that I cannot change or influence
Being willing to ‘show up’ and be myself, however I am feeling
Not being afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘this is not right for me’
Not forgetting my dreams and what is important to me, even when the going gets tough
Recognising when I need to take a step back and allow others to lead and explore
Sometimes saying ‘no, not yet…’
Courage: the ability to do things that scare you, daily. The ability to not give into fear. The resilience to keep going. To embrace fear and see it as part of the journey. To know when to move and when to stop, rest and reflect. To understand that if you really believe in something and it feels important, then it will inevitably be more than a little scary. Chasing dreams takes courage, and taking that first step will need the most courage you can muster.
Be brave; be bold, and remember; great people make amazing things happen. You are amazing.