The Courageous You

When Was Your Courage Tested?

photo of lionRecently I had the opportunity to hear Maya Angelou speak to an audience at ASU. Now 83 years old, Dr. Angelou was as entertaining and inspirational as I had anticipated. She told stories, recited poetry, sang, and delivered her wisdom with humor. One of the themes she underscored was that courage is the most important virtue “because without courage, you wouldn’t be able to practice all the other virtues”.

Though it’s easier to recognize courage in others and especially when the examples are extraordinary, it’s likely that you’ve exercised this muscle more than you give yourself credit for. Think of all the times in your life that required courage, when you:

took a chance — made a change — spoke your truth — took a stand —
walked away — stayed the course — picked up the pieces after a loss —
tried again after a failure — faced an incredible challenge — did the right thing —
said “no more” to what was unacceptable — endured difficulty with integrity —
remained quietly confident — kept the faith — saw it through.

When was your courage tested? Referencing a time in the past when you successfully summoned your courage will help you find the courage you need now. That’s what my client, Shirley, did by recalling a time she made the critical decision not to bolt.

Bolt or Stay?

graphic saying Face Your FearsIt was years ago but Shirley remembers it vividly. There she sat in the lobby of a Chicago skyscraper waiting for her interview with one of the top advertising agencies in the world. Her thoughts raced and she seriously considered bolting. But she didn’t bolt; she stayed. That one moment of courage was followed by another when she boldly suggested that they hire her on a trial basis for one week so that she could show them what she had to contribute despite having no experience in the industry. They went for it and Shirley’s tenure there was a successful one. Laughing as she recounted the story, Shirley added this significant footnote: the person who hired her that day is now her husband. She marvels at the impact of that 30-second decision to stay.

A quote attributed to General George S. Patton sums up what Shirley learned that day: “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer”.

Get Your Courage On

Every day of your life you are called to be courageous in some way. The opportunity to practice courage often appears without fanfare in quiet moments of decision and in the most common of actions such as returning to an exercise program (the courage to begin again) or continuing toward a goal even when the momentum has stalled (the courage to be persistent).

This Week’s Call to Action:

How is courage being required of you now?

  • Like Shirley, above, is this your moment to follow through on a bold idea? Will you choose to bolt or stay a minute longer and offer your proposal?

  • Is it time to return to an important goal that you set earlier? What scares you or feels intimidating when you think of moving forward on it?

What will the courageous you choose to do?

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

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