Lately I have been thinking a lot about courage and what it means to be courageous. Courage is no easy feat. Actually, I’d say it is one of the most difficult acts there is. To have courage shows that you are willing to be vulnerable, to take a chance, to do something that has not been done before, and to believe in yourself enough so that you know you can do it! I think courage also means that you are willing to face yourself each and every day and be honest with who you are, what you are feeling and thinking, and take responsibility for your choices and actions. I think this is hard too!
Lately, I have been taking more risks and I guess showing more courage. I have been speaking at schools and with small groups of girls, teachers, and parents. And I am making myself very vulnerable. When I speak I am also making myself very known as I share my feelings, my opinions, and my own personal struggles and challenges and the lessons I have learned. As I share, there are always those inevitable moments of: “What am I doing?”, “Who do I think I am?”, and “I am definitely not good enough”. The more risks I take, the louder and stronger these moments seem to get.
These are my gremlin thoughts, trying to hold me down at the level of mediocrity that is satisfactory and just “good enough”….but not really ME. I have a deep desire to shine and live the life I truly want and make a difference in the lives of young girls. And, I know this about myself. This is who I am. SO THEN, I think, “Why NOT me?”
It is at this point that courage seems to kick in and I decide to ignore my gremlin thoughts, take the chance, and know that simply thinking about taking a chance and a risk and making myself known, heard, seen, and very vulnerable, is an act of courage. Brené Brown in her TED talk on shame says that being courageous means we are not afraid to fail and she recites the Theodore Roosevelt quotation about the man in the arena that says: it is not the critic who counts, the one who is so quick to judge and point out flaws; the credit belongs to the one who is actually in the area and who shows courage by deciding to dare greatly.
So, I encourage you today to tap into your vulnerability, to trust yourself, and to follow your heart – to feel the fear and do it anyway! Dare to be you, dare to create and innovate, and dare to change. This is true courage!