The energy contained in tiny humans never ceases to amaze me. We recently spent 3 days playing at Universal Studios Hollywood with my husband’s son and his family. The 2 grand kids are 6 and 4 and the energy contained within those combined 10 years is beyond description. We played in the park all day and they swam like fish at the hotel pool in the evening. No naps. I wanted a nap just watching them!
They’d never experienced roller coasters before and we weren’t sure what they’d be up for, but they are daredevils. The older one rode everything – even the Mummy – which races you at 45 mph, in the dark, with skeletons. That’s where he found his limit. After riding, he admitted it was scary and it wasn’t on our repeat list. He tried even though he was nervous about it. That’s courage.
Last week at work, I managed through a challenging moment with one of our leaders. Partway through, when it hadn’t played out as anticipated, she told me she was disappointed I hadn’t addressed the situation differently in the moment. We talked about it, I could see her perspective and we reworked our direction together. I appreciated her perspective and that she shared with me so that we could find a solution together. She expressed her true feeling in the moment, allowed us the opportunity to get on the same page, leading to a needed outcome. That’s courage.
It’s easy to roll past the ordinary moments in life where we show courage. Whenever you are vulnerable, share your heart, ride a roller coaster, those are moments of courage. When you have a tough conversation, that’s courage. It’s easy to equate courage only with moments of heroism. Where you fight a lion, battle an adversary, jump off a cliff – actions that are clearly courageous.
The ordinary moments though, those are the real deal. Brene Brown shares that the original definition of courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. In and of itself, that feels hard. Putting your heart out there, not knowing or being able to control the outcome, is terrifying. But once you’ve done it, even if it doesn’t turn out like you’d hoped, there’s a sense of peace because you’ve shared your heart. Being courageous doesn’t isolate you from hard feelings. But it leads to an authentic you. If you’re constantly being and doing what you think others expect, it’ll never lead to your authentic self. That only comes from courage.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice the ordinary moments where you are courageous. And once you do, build on them. Even if sharing your heart sucks and is hard (which it can be). Do it anyways. The discomfort you feel in the moment is preferable to not living authentically. You have it in you. We all do. Be brave, be bold and be yourself. You are courageous.