Courage is something that all of us lack from time to time, it might be something like taking a simple step in a journey or having a tough conversation that we know we should have but put off because the thought of it is scary. Summoning up courage moves us forward and opens us up to new experiences.
Here’s a video of me reading an excerpt on courage from my book Leadership Beyond Measure at the book launch…
When courage is lacking, opportunities for innovation, creativity and joy are missed.
I recently walked Opus out of the yard and down the drive towards the main road. I’d never done it before. I was too scared. I never realised I was afraid until Christmas Eve 2014 when Opus stood at the gate looking longingly down the drive. I opened the gate and led him through it. I felt my heart rate increase slightly, then I found my courage, relaxed and soon enjoyed myself as I realised how happy and confident Opus was.
If you had asked me previously, I would have said I didn’t have time to do it or Opus wasn’t bothered. On Christmas Eve 2014, I found the courage, opened the gate and off we went. We didn’t go far, only 10 minutes down the drive and back, but it was a moment of connection, being together, and it brought me tears of joy. I wondered why I’d taken so long to do it. In hindsight, it’s not a big deal to walk a horse out of a gate and down a drive. What’s the fuss about? I went through all my excuses, but the bottom line is, I lacked the courage to do it before because it was new. I hadn’t realised it before, so I’d never given it a thought. Now we do it daily; it’s a moment of connection for both of us, and something he loves to do in his old age.
What experiences are you missing out on because you lack courage?
All of us lack courage at times. It shows up in the conversations you want to have but don’t, the missed opportunities because you are not sure if they are right, so you stop yourself from trying. What seems courageous before you do it often seems easy afterwards, and you wonder why you didn’t do it before. The stories you make up about how difficult something is often don’t turn out to be true once you are in the moment.
You lack courage if you stop yourself from changing your job or setting up a new business when you’ve had a great idea. No doubt you have all the perfect excuses. You convince yourself why you should stay at your current job. Your negative inner voice takes charge. It tells you that you need the money to pay the bills, it’s too risky, the new job/business might not be any better and so on. The real reason you don’t do it? You lack courage. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. It’s ok. Go easy on yourself because courage takes courage! And we all have our limits.