What is courage? Is it walking a tightrope over a crocodile-infested ravine? Is it trying a new food? Is it asking for pay rise? Is it leaving an abusive relationship? Is it speaking in front of a large audience? Courage is to be found in all of these circumstances.
Stand out, speak up, dare to be different. They all demand courage which is why courage is a virtue that has been sought out in many different forms over the millennia. You may recognise courage as an act of bravery at the risk of danger, bodily harm or death, but what about the other types of courage?
Courage shows up everywhere in your everyday life. There’s physical courage where despite facing fear you still decide to act and demonstrate resilience, strength and bravery. There is emotional courage where you follow your heart and are likely to face a full spectrum of positive emotions as well as facing negative ones too. Moral courage is where you stand up for what you believe is right and involves ethics and integrity.
Intellectual courage requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and be open-minded, to challenge your thinking and risk making mistakes. Spiritual courage involves faith, a sense of purpose and meaning either with or without a religious framework. Finally, there is social courage which involves being authentic in the face of adversity, risking social embarrassment, exclusion, rejection or unpopularity.
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.” Aristotle
Courage is clearly a complicated matter and it may take you time to develop courage in the variety of all the forms it appears which is why courage is regarded as the secret to freedom.
“The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage.” Thucydides
Many guests on Focus on WHY have shared how they have been courageous and what it has taken for them to find courage. For Madeleine Black in episode 155 released yesterday, she said that courage is contagious because it was hearing somebody else speak that really made her think if she could do that then she could share her story too.
Shut down by shame, it had taken decades for Madeleine to find her voice and be heard. Now Madeleine is the voice for the voiceless, speaking for those who aren’t yet able to find their voice and in doing so she encourages them to speak up. Known as the Courage Cultivator, Madeleine’s voice is her power and she believes it is her duty, her purpose, to use it on behalf of people to help shatter the silence.
“Vulnerability begets vulnerability: courage is contagious.” Brené Brown
I remember being told by my art teacher as a 13 year old to have “courage of conviction.” She encouraged me to trust my intuition to have the confidence to do what I believed was right. In that moment in the classroom, that exchange of words changed my life.
In your vulnerability lies great power and strength, the power of courage to stand up and be counted. It’s true. Courage is contagious. Today, I still continue to be courageous in my art and my work. It took courage to launch Focus on WHY, to put my voice out there, to reach out to invite guests onto the show and to ask them questions.
It takes courage to take that first step. Have the courage to assess your life and understand why you do what you do. Show courage of conviction and take courageous action.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
What form of courage do you seek?
ACTION POINT What will you do today that requires courage? Take the VIA Character Strengths Test to discover your greatest qualities and begin using your strengths to build your best life. Amy