What Really Is Courage?

November 08, 2017

What really is courage?

The most common definition is, ‘Strength in the face of pain, grief or loss‘.  Or, ‘The ability to do something, even though you might be fearful‘.

We all experience moments in life that require us to call on these versions of courage.

But when it comes to your personal growth – elevating your health, relationships, career, business or finances – courage can manifest itself differently. It’s kind of like a self-imposed form of obstacle that requires us to look within ourselves to find the inner strength to move forward.

In this context, one of my favourite definitions of courage is this:

Courage is vulnerability masked“.

By nature, human beings are resilient characters. We find ways to overcome the devastating effects of natural disasters, social violence, wars and acts of terrorism.

But any time you decide to enforce change in your own life, you place yourself in a different kind of vulnerable realm.

Changing your diet, deciding to lose weight, starting a businessending a relationship and choosing to lead others, all require you to take risks and expose yourself emotionally, physically and even financially. It’s about an inner knowing that challenge lies ahead, but deciding to do it anyway!

Most people will spend their life in the safe ‘passenger’ zone, neglecting the exhilaration that comes from ‘piloting’ their own life for fear of being alone, exposed, ridiculed or suffering some type of loss.

The art of being courageous is about directing energy towards what’s possible, rather than what could go wrong and accepting the learning from whatever shows up.

Don’t settle

As humans, we’re hard wired to seek out safety as a protection mechanism, but ‘what’s safe’ is not always what’s best for us.

It’s about creating a personal philosophy and staying true to those values.

It’s about knowing that failure is never fatal and that there is joy in the journey.

And it’s about realising that every bump in the road is an opportunity to learn, grow and find what we’re truly made of.  And all of that takes courage.

Key questions to inspire courage

What lessons have you learned?

Use past adversity, pain and loss as a learning curve to inspire you to take the lessons learned and to push forward and grow.

What if you couldn’t fail?

Imagine if you could do anything you wanted without any obstacles or difficulties. What would you chase? Who would you do it with? Where would you do it? How would you do it? Most importantly, how would achieving it make you feel?

What will it cost you if you don’t follow your heart? 

Sometimes the thing that inspires us most to chase our dreams is to get clear on the true cost of not doing it.

The game of life is a ‘high-stakes’ game because we only get one shot, so don’t let the music die within you.